With cuffing season in full swing, there are fewer thoughts more romantic than those of what material goods you’ll purchase for the person you’re casually seeing.
Let's admit it, getting a gift for your girlfriend is a lot trickier than what you would get for your best friend or your niece. Because it's not as simple as buying something you know she will like. You don't want to go with jewellery if you just started seeing each other, but you still want to show that you're into her. If you've been dating her for a couple of years, then you need something more solid and not frivolous. But if you're ready to pop the question, then an engagement ring makes for the perfect present. Just make sure to get the right style.
Do you go with the practical or the romantic? The sentimental or the sexual? How do you thread the needle when it feels like every gift is practically soaked in unspoken messages about commitment, intent and expectations?
So what do you get her? While it’s fair enough to say that the longer you’re together, the easier some questions get, but then you still have to walk a tightrope of sweet vs. sappy, traditional vs. original…it can be exasperating. If thinking about that just made you a little panicky, take a deep breath. We're here to save the day with 12 genius gift ideas so good they'll give Santa a run for his money. As a bonus, you might even want to borrow some of these — with no intention of returning them. And that's how love works, so it's fine.
FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE A girl:
Your best girl friend is always the one to return your calls, give you dating advice, look up to you with respect–and most importantly, the one person your mother is certain is destined for you. She's taught you a lot about how girls work, it's now time to return the favour in the simple act of self-care.
Beauty Sleep Collection, €108.50, Image Skincare
FOR WHEN YOU'VE BEEN ON THREE VERY PROMISING DATES:
You really don’t want to spend too much money here, seeing as how you’ve only been official for a month. But it’s only €12 for the first month (you can just cancel it for her as soon as you order in case things don't go as hoped), and while the box itself comes with a tonne of best-sellers, future deliveries will be filled with samples personalised to her very own beauty profile. All going well, this could soon become your very first Christmas tradition.
Birchbox, €12 for 1 month, Birchbox
FOR WHEN YOU'RE JUST HOOKING UP:
Though you guys are no-strings-attached, you probably care about each other outside of sex and you want to convey that in a gift. A quality scented candle is a solid gesture and will make the room you ~share~ all winter a little bit cosier. Bonus: it also melts down to massage oil.
Intensive Skin Treatment Candle Tranquility, €43, Neom
FOR YOUR FRIEND WITH BENEFITS:
If you're into her but want to take things outside of the bedroom, an experience gift for two sends a message and might just do the trick. Ideally, you'll want to feel out the situation/talk about feelings before you do this (lest they accept the gift and then take someone else as their date).
Paint By the Pints, €28 each, PaintByPints.com
FOR WHEN YOU JUST DEFINED THE RELATIONSHIP:
You've had the talk and you're now officially together-together. So what you get him for your first Christmas together is something he'll remember forever. Concert tickets are the way to go. Get him tickets to his favourite band or artist in a few months time. Not only will it show you've been listening but it'll also show him that you're in this for the long term.
FOR WHEN YOU'RE DEEP IN THE HONEYMOON STAGE:
When all you want to do is cuddle and kiss, a tiny projector you can hook up to your phone is the perfect gift. Snuggle up and watch her favourite rom-com (we suggest Love Actually) from the ceiling–you can't ask for a cosier date.
Smartphone Projector, €29, Urban Outfitters
FOR WHEN YOU WON'T BE TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS:
Long-distance relationships aren't easy but sending each other gifts for Christmas makes it that bit sweeter. Why not keep that feeling going by sending each other frequent letters. Sure, you Whatsapp, Facetime, Snapchat, Instagram DM and Tik-Tok him every day but taking the time out to sit down and write your loved one a letter is kind of the greatest gift you could ever give. Set themes for the month (February is for showing your love, March is to make the other laugh, April is to show support etc.) Be all kinds of extra and spray your letter with cologne so it's like you're there with her.
Gold Geo Writing Set, €10.95, Paperchase
FOR WHEN YOU'VE BEEN TOGETHER A WHILE:
Look, when you're really deep in a relationship, sometimes it's a huge turn-on to pay attention when your S.O. complains about their favourite boots falling apart or noticing that their current perfume bottle is running low. Getting them something they know they need but aren't excited to spend money on makes their life a little easier, and what's more loving than that?
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Gift Set, €95, Arnotts
FOR WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT TO MOVE IN TOGETHER:
You've both been saving for the practical stuff like a fridge and a dishwasher meaning there's no money left over to buy the cool things you actually want. So for Christmas, buy that cool thing she wants, like a bar cart (and some of her favourite gins if you're feeling spendy). Sure, it might mean beans on toast for Christmas dinner because you can't afford a turkey but we say it's worth it.
Leila Brass Bar Cart, €265, Urban Outfitters
FOR WHEN YOU'VE BEEN LIVING TOGETHER A WHILE:
Sharing the same place means you get a closer look at their day-to-day life, and the frustrations they may bring home with them. Getting them something that screams self-care, whether it's bath bombs or skincare, is showing that you want to help them feel more relaxed. So start a bath for them, plop something fancy into the water, grab them some wine and their favourite book and leave them alone for an hour (or join if they're into it). They will thank you.
Stocking Filler Gift Set, €49, Molton Brown
FOR WHEN YOU'RE REady to propose:
According to Pinterest, we’re well into the time of year that searches for engagement rings increase by an average of 40%. June to January is officially engagement season, says the inspiration site, with Christmas being one of the most popular times to propose. So if you're thinking of popping question this festive season, it's time to buy a ring.
Platinum and Diamond Octongal Shape Halo Engagement Ring, €2,300, Weirs and Sons
FOR WHEN YOU'RE OFFICIALLY AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE:
After a while, the stress of gifting can be relieved if you can find something that not only expresses your love but that you won't mind seeing around the house.
SAMSUNG 50" Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TV with Bixby, €599, Currys PC WORLD
Main image by @emmalouiseconnolly on Instagram