Enter the Dangerous World of Partner Gift Buying

There are many times when finding the ideal gift can be tricky, but no situation can be fraught with more anxiety than choosing a gift for a partner. That is because whatever you hand over will not just be assessed on its ‘gift value’, but will also be analysed for all the hidden messages it can encompass. Here are just a few dos and don’ts that can help you get through the quagmire that choosing inter-relationship gifts can be.

Gift Vouchers or Money | This is the kind of gift that would be great for your Auntie Sheila but is likely to be met by a frosty silence when it falls out of your partner’s card. Money or vouchers are fine if you have been specifically asked for them, but if not you’re likely to be accused of not caring enough to buy a ‘proper present’ — if your other half is even talking to you at all.

Clothes | Go ahead and buy clothes if something specific has been pointed out, and if you are absolutely sure you know the right size. If not, steer well clear or risk buying items that are too big (‘do you really think I’m that fat?’) or too small (‘I’m not that short, you know’) and having to spend the rest of the year trying to win forgiveness.


Hand-Made Gifts | Far from being the cheapskate’s option, these can often be some of the most warmly received and memorable options to go for. Just make sure you invest enough effort to show you really care.

Personalised Gifts | These are a great option if your partner has a sentimental side. Create an A4 Photobook online, crammed with pictures of the two of you together. There will be no doubt that you value the time you have spent with your other half, and they will love the fact that you spent time making something for them to treasure.

Domestic Appliances | This is one for you men out there, in particular. Some of you may think that it is a really nice idea to buy your girlfriend or wife a kettle or a toaster, especially if you have only recently set up home together. Be warned, however, as these are items best bought together — and not for a special occasion. Disregard this warning at your peril. Your other half may end up making you wear that kettle rather than putting it on to make you a cup of tea.

Experience Days | These can be the ideal gift for a partner, and choosing one specifically tailored to something they have always wanted to do, such as driving an Aston Martin at Brands Hatch, will show that you really value their dreams and aspirations and want to make them happy. Alternatively, picking something you can do together will demonstrate that you want to share their happiness and spend even more time together. Just make sure you don’t choose an experience that you have always dreamt of rather than something that they will enjoy. You want to hear ‘oh thank you’ when they open the gift and not ‘you selfish pig’ or something a lot, lot worse.