Keys to a Romantic Gift Idea

What makes a romantic gift idea "romantic?"
It's not so much the gift itself:

it's the feeling that counts!

Romantic gift idea: CupidMy grandmother had a romantic heart. She'd sneak a peek at sweethearts holding hands, or stealing a kiss, and beam,

"Ain't love grand?" Romance involves courtship, affirmation, privacy, an intimate sense of bonding. And sometimes, maybe, a little secrecy!

Half of being romantic is to focus on your loved one and demonstrate how special he or she is to you. The other half is to put yourself and your heart into the giving.

Your gift alone won't do it. Giving a gift merely because it's time to give a gift is like making a peace offering without an apology - sort of hollow, don't you think? A truly romantic gift idea must be backed up with some "you."

Before you shop for Romantic Gifts, take a few minutes to reflect about...

Romantic gift idea: hearts border

How to make the gift convey your feelings

Key #1: Make it personal

Indulge your sweetheart's preferences even if you're not wild about them - hockey tickets instead of the show you're dying to see, or a French restaurant instead of the steakhouse you prefer.

Relate your gift to your relationship, your shared hopes and memories - a sentimental gift that recalls a happy occasion, perhaps, or something you've both dreamed about owning or doing together.

Be careful with the sexy stuff. Sexy lingerie or an adult game will be a romantic gift idea - IF your relationship is already there. But a seductive gift can have the opposite effect if s/he feels you're being pushy. It's not romantic to overplay your hand! That said, a well-chosen provocative gift underscores the personal nature of your relationship.

Key #2: Put it in writing

Romantic gift idea: love letter
Almost any gift you choose can be romantic if it's accompanied by a loving message written from the heart. Guaranteed, your sentiments will be read over and over, and saved for years.

Try one of these:

Love letters and poems - you don't have to be the next Keats or Browning! You have 3 big advantages over them anyway:

  1. You personally know your sweetheart.
  2. You two have shared interests and experiences.
  3. You know how s/he makes you feel.
Try jotting down some of your sweetheart's endearing attributes and behaviors, your romantic memories, and how s/he makes you feel. Let these ideas inspire a sentence, a paragraph, or several pages. Put your sentiments into rhyme if you wish.

Build a note around a quote - on the other hand, perhaps Keats or Browning has described your feelings to a T. Copy the quote or poem and add a few sentences explaining what the words mean to you, or how they perfectly describe your sweetheart or your relationship. Here's a resource for "Words of Love..." to get you started!

Make a journal - a small blank book is good. Write down your daily thoughts about your loved one, for a few weeks or months. Add some photos or illustrations, if you like, and/or thoughts about your Top Three or Top Ten dates or fun activities.

Key #3: Honor romantic traditions (or start new ones)

Romantic gift idea: flowersFlowers and bouquets - probably the most traditional, all-purpose romantic gift idea. That Rockwell painting of a

shy young fellow at the door, hiding a flower behind his back, is sweet and so romantic. Variations: a flowering plant or terrarium for a loved one with a green thumb.

"Sweets for the sweet" (usually chocolate) is another favorite. Look for special holiday-wrapped candies for those occasions. Variations: other favorite candies, sweet and luscious fresh fruit baskets; homemade treats.

Jewelry rounds out the Big Three in romantic gift ideas. Rings, especially, tend to be loaded with tradition (so make your meaning clear!). Variations: watches, key rings, pocket tokens, and other accessories. Shared items like key/lock charms or hearts that divide in half are popular romantic traditions as well.

Be guided by the stage or romantic level of your relationship... and your budget (credit card debt isn't romantic!). Quality always trumps price! If you can't afford high quality jewelry in one category, move to a less expensive category and go for the best within it.

Start a Time Capsule - not to bury, but to add to year by year. Begin with a good-sized decorative box for storing mementos (selectively!) of special events and relationship milestones. Organize contents by date; add context with a journal for notes about family, friends and world events.

Love Coupons - a timeless favorite! Coupons may be loving notes and quotes, or may be redeemable for chores, dinner out, a back rub, control of the TV remote, a free "I'm Sorry" or "don't have to," a guys'/girls' night out, a movie date, or "let's open the time capsule (or photo album) and reminisce." Be imaginative!

Key #4: Try Something New

Romantic gift idea: under the starsRelationships deepen and romance is nourished by activities and challenges that you enjoy together. The activity itself, or something related to it, can prove to be a very romantic gift idea. Reach for the stars!

Choose an intriguing or exciting adventure, or an ongoing opportunity to learn and improve together - perhaps a hobby or a new skill. A sport or game where you compete as a team will draw you closer (if you both remember that you're doing it for fun!).

But wait... there's more! Keys #5 and #6 focus on the all-important presentation of your romantic gift. More Keys to a Romantic Gift Idea
will help you to give your gift in a creative, romantic way.

Romantic gift idea: hearts border

Back up your gift
with some "you" to make it
a truly
romantic gift idea!

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Logo photo by Jane M. Sawyer, courtesy of
Other graphics courtesy of Microsoft.