Love may be blind, but not when it comes to gifts. And just like you don’t need yet another shaving kit, goofy tie, or bath products you’ll never use, so your girl will love you oh-so-much more if you refrain from generic (ie. last minute) jewelry, a toaster oven, or should you harbor some sort of death wish, a thighmaster.
Instead, here are some fun gift ideas for your girlfriend (by one), both budget-be-damned and a little less spendy. While plastic will cover the price, the smile on her face when she realizes how thoughtful you’ve been...well that’s priceless.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: FIFI FASHIONISTA
Budget Schmudget: Chanel 2.55 Handbag
Girls who love fashion lust after this classic. It magically crosses style lines from preppy to punk to princesses (like Diana). The 2.55 references the fact it was created in February of 1955, plus five was Coco Chanel’s favorite number. Chanel Black Caviar Large Classic 2.55 Double Flap Bag $4,500 from MadisonAvenueCouture.com. Other trustworthy dealers: Decades, Inc., What Goes Around Comes Around & Bluefly.
Budget-Friendly: Chanel on Installment...or the Wall
For around $250, you can rent her a Chanel bag for a month from Bag Borrow or Steal. Or, if cash is really tight, $22 plus $10 shipping snags her a snazzy, 8’x10’ (A4) art print of the 2.55 from etsy vendor ShufflePrints.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: INTELLECTUAL INGRID
Budget Schmudget: Language Lessons
She was probably just telling you that a great way to keep one’s brain young and healthy is by learning another language. The CoffeeBreak series is fun, and each lesson is a very doable 20 minutes or so. Perfect for her to enjoy with her usual mid-morning caffeine. Available in French, German and Spanish for £259 (~$367) from RadioLingua.
Budget Friendly: e-Books & a Candle
Give her unlimited access to a virtual library of more than half a million titles with a subscription to Oyster. A month is only $9.95. Choose the number of months, then print out the Gift Code, tuck it into a cute card and surprise her with a fun candle that has that wonderful musty smell of analog books. Old Books Scented Soy Candle (8 oz.) $15 from etsy vendor Frostbeard.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: TALULLAH TECHIE
Budget Schmudget: Smartphone Picture Printer
The Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1 is about the size of a phone and works with iOS and Android. An awesome gizmo to bring to parties and on vacation, it’s all the fun of an old-school Polaroid but in a handy new millenium package. $199 from Amazon.com.
Budget Friendly: Cool Looking USB Charger
The dowdy gadget-charger just got a much-needed makeover. The Triforce from Lightning Rabbit can charge up to four devices at once, but more importantly: it looks cool. Kind of like a Toblerone box...if it were the height of a small stack of books and enrobed in sleek brushed silver. $45 from LightningRabbit.com.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: LUCILLE LOCAVORE
Budget Schmudget: Kickass Kitchen Knife
Anyone who cares deeply about where their ingredients come from deserves killer cutlery. The Yanagi is painstakingly crafted by hand in Osaka from shiro-ko (white steel) and makes mincemeat (or not) of most anything needing to be sliced, diced or even riced. Korin Shiro-ko Hongasumi Yanagi is $300 - $577 from Korin.com.
Budget Friendly: Magnetic Knife Rack
The heavy-duty Kuchenprofi is one good-looking German...for being just over 2” high and 14” long. It installs easily and gets those knives out of drawers and off counters, storing them securely, even large butcher knives. $22 from KuchenprofiUSA.com.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: ZEN ZELDA
Budget Schmudget: Qi Gong Instruction
34th generation Shaolin-trained fighter Shifu Yan Lei teaches this ancient technique of energy healing just as he was taught at the Temple, where it has been used to integrate mind and body for more than 1,500 years. £250 (£220 within the UK) for the Shaolin Warrior bundle of 18-DVDs - available at ShifuYanLei.co.uk. (Smaller bundles and instant-downloads are also available.)
Budget Friendly: a Gift for Someone in Need
Whether your girl cares about women’s issues, animal welfare, education, literacy, children’s rights, poverty, homelessness, hunger or the environment, a really thoughtful way to show you care that she cares is with a symbolic gift from Oxfam. They have a card you can print out with a photo and explanation of how the donation is making a difference. Gift donations start as low as $12 at Oxfam.org.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: MUSIC-MAD MEGAN
Budget Schmudget: Excellent Earphones
Voted by Digital Trends as “the best-sounding wireless earphone we’ve ever heard,” the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Bluetooth 3.0 Active Noise Cancelling Stereo Earphones with Mic have better bandwidth, longer life, a wider range and block up to 95% of ambient background noise - like other annoying commuters and travelers. $99 at Amazon.com.
Budget Friendly: a Beanie with Headphones
The clever and affordable Headphone Beanie will keep her noggin warm thanks to 100% thermal cotton, while the two high-quality stereo earphones tucked inside keep her in touch with her tunes. $17 from Cgets.com.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: DAPHNE THE DECOR DIVA
Budget Schmudget: Artsy Furniture
The talk of the furniture world of late has been the zany, surrealistic aesthetic of Simon and Nikolai Haas (actor Lukas is their older brother). This crazy-cool chair they crafted by hand in their Los Angeles atelier is, not surprisingly, one of a kind. Like her. Hairy David Beast Chair in Icelandic Sheep & Bronze by the Haas Brothers - $30,000 from 1stdibs.
Budget Friendly: Affordable Art
Each week, online gallery Exhibition A launches a new, limited-edition print by a prominent contemporary artist. But at surprisingly affordable prices not generally associated with the kind of places you normally find work of this calibre. Starting at $100 from Exhibition A.
GIRLFRIEND TYPE: ADVENTUROUS AMELIA
Budget Schmudget: Two Luxurious Weeks in Namibia
This progressive, eco-chic destination in the south of Africa is one of Lonely Planet’s top picks for the Best in Travel 2015. Take her breath away with the world’s highest sand dunes, majestic mountainscapes, big game viewing, the stunning Okavango Delta, and sunset ATV rides in the desert. Plus quality time with the Kalahari’s most captivating resident, the meerkat! Namibia & Botswana: Dunes, Delta & the Kalahari (2015) by Abercrombie & Kent - $14,495 (per person).
Budget Friendly: The Couple that Plans Together...
One study found that just the act of planning for a trip boosted people’s happiness for at least two months. However, presentation matters so score a decent-looking basket at your local thrift store and fill it with a safari-themed stuffed animal such as an elephant, zebra, giraffe or lion. Then add trip research like Namibia by Bradt Travel Guides, Lonely Planet Botswana & Namibia, Legendary Safari Guides and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo. Bonus points for DVDs of Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Namibia (Travel Channel’s No Reservations) & Kalahari hosted by David Attenborough for BBC One.
Lastly, wrap it all up in cellophane tied with a big bow. And don’t be surprised when she wonders who you are and what you’ve done with her man...as she ravishes the one responsible for the awesome gift basket. You’re welcome.