* Lifestyle Expert & Founder, Chicagogirlygirl.com -- Kristin Huey
A lot of guys struggle with selecting the right gift. Either they over do it, or they give a gift that is contrary to their partner's personality. How can men truly be sure they're giving the right gift?
1. Match the gift to the intensity of the relationship.
Make sure the gift is appropriate for the relationship. For example, if you've only been dating a few months then giving her jewelry or a puppy are terrible ideas!
2. Make it thoughtful.
Try to think of stories she has told you and try to determine what really matters to this person. For example, (personal anecdote) my grandmother was a quilt maker and one of the best gifts I have ever received was a very colorful quilt, similar to the one she made for my mother. It was heartfelt and it showed that he paid attention. MAJOR bonus points for the guy.
3. Concerned about price?
Especially in this rough economy! Not to worry, there are ways to give a thoughtful gift that won't break the bank. For example, select a great recipe and make a simple meal and stay in. Intimate and romantic.
4. How to Avoid a Valentines Disaster.
The best advise for men at home, DO YOUR HOMEWORK:
If you are going to buy her flowers, then make sure you know what her favorite flower is and DON'T buy her carnations if they remind her of funerals.
Don't send her a cute teddy bear to her place of work, if it's an overly corporate environment AND she dislikes stuffed animals.
1. Make it Heartfelt
Spend a little time thinking about what is important to your girlfriend or wife. Think about stories she has told you in the past and try to connect the dots to identify things that she cherishes.
* Shared Memories: If you recently took memorable trip or have a fabulous night out together, frame a photograph from the trip or event as an eternal keepsake.
Follow Her Passions: Find out what she's passionate about or what her secret fantasy is. For example, if it's to become a jewelry designer, then sign her up for lessons locally, or visit etsy.com to find handmade pieces that she might really like. These are the best gifts because it shows that you care and that you pay attention - and you can never go wrong with jewelry!
2. Socially Aware Gift Ideas
Everything and everyone is going green. If your loved one recycles and is eco-conscious, then consider the following gifts which are not only reasonably priced, but ethically driven and socially responsible. A HUGE trend this Valentines Day!
* FIVE Accessories - eco friendly bags made from recycled materials like potato chip bags and bamboo. They are made in places like Honduras, Bali, Cambodia, Guatemala and India. For every bag sold, owner Christine Hutchison, gives five dollars back to the community where it was made. www.fiveaccessories.com
Fair Trade Flowers - 1-800-Flowers (FLWS) offers Fair Trade-certified flowers that guarantee fair wages in developing countries. It's only a difference of a few dollars and it really makes an impact. Tip: Find out what flowers she likes first. If you don't know, ask her Mom or best friend.
3. Turn up the Heat
The Aphrodisiac Cookbook: "Intercourses" by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge - ($19.77) is a must have because you can use it year round. All of the dishes are simple and taste phenomenal - cook a quiet dinner in this Valentine's Day and just enjoy the simplicity of it all. www.intercourses.com/book.htm
Aphrodisiac Chocolate Tasting: You can't go wrong with the Red Fire Hat Box by Vosges ($75). Turn up the heat with this kit tantalizing kit containing spicy chocolate bonbons, an aphrodisiac guided tasting and red feathers. The Perfect Valentines Day dessert. www.vosgeschocolate.com
CLOSING TIPS TO ENSURE ROMANTIC SUCCESS
1. Match the gift to the intensity of the relationship
2. Make it thoughtful
3. Don't focus on price alone
4. Do your homework