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10 Gift Ideas for Lovers

Wondering what to get that special someone? Here's some tips from our relationships expert

It is the holiday season, and so we all feel compelled to provide gifts to the ones we love, the ones we don't love, and the ones we feel obligated to love.

See also: Make time for romance during busy holiday season.

Yuletide is also a time when people who are married, living together, in domestic partnership or civil union, or just plain dating, have the chance to really offend and disappoint each other by giving the wrong present. If you have been quaking with fear that this year, you might find yourself in another awkward moment as your loved one struggles mightily to look pleased with the gift you bought, I assure you, I feel your pain and want to help.

While no suggestion is surefire, here are some ideas that might give you a breakthrough holiday.

1. Anything Monogrammed

Monograms show that you were thinking of your love, that this choice wasn't a last-minute, desperate happenstance or a generic offering. With one monogram, you can show that you have your act together; you can plan and deliver a personal, unique gift. If your partner isn't the type who wants his or her name on the back of a T-shirt or workout pants, buy a blanket and put the name of her boat, team, cycle, or camping cabin on it. Put his favorite saying on a set of bar glasses, intertwine your initials on some beach towels (or even better, on a silver bracelet!); anything you personalize will earn you points for creating something that took thought and effort.

2. Almost any Getaway

The gift of a romantic weekend away with you is almost always greeted with a genuinely happy response. It doesn't have to be far away. In fact, it could be a weekend in a downtown hotel, playing tourist in your own city. It could include rides by airplane, car, or train, but getting onboard and going somewhere together — especially to a place you know your partner loves — is exciting! Dress up the gift with a book about the area, a brochure, or the tickets themselves. It doesn't have to be Paris, but if it is—well, you are my kind of lover.

3. Make It Yourself

It is not corny to give something you make yourself, but make sure it doesn't look homemade. Lumpy sweaters and loud scarves are not allowed. But I know a guy who made some fancy reins for his horse-loving fiancée, and she just swooned over them. One female friend made her guy a gorgeous chess set out of action figures. You need not to be talented or clever to pull this off, but if you are, the result is priceless and treasured. One husband I know made a music-backed video of his wife's life, using pictures from her childhood and family vacations. Another friend made his partner a CD to make love to, which contained most of their favorite romantic and sexy songs that both of them have loved over the years. 
4. A Class for Both of You

Have you been talking about learning Spanish? Would you both like to learn how to bake bread, make chocolate, or become bartenders? Give the gift of a shared experience — as long as you are sure your partner would like what you've picked. Doing new things spices up your life together and creates more intimate time for you. So the present of an activity transforms into a double gift: a gift of yourself as well as the experience.

Next: 5 more gifts from the heart. »

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