What is a good creative gift that I should give my girlfriend?
September 27, 2008 5:48 PM   Subscribe

What are some good birthday gifts to get my girlfriend?

My girlfriend's birthday is in a little over a month and I need some creative ideas for her birthday. I want to get her something that isn't that traditional, something more unique and meaningful. I realize that something meaningful should come from my own head, but I need some help brainstorming and I felt like this community would be helpful for that.

Basically what I am asking is what kinds of gifts have you given/received that were really amazing?
posted by jModug to Human Relations (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
well, first you have to tell us what she's like and what she likes, no? a truly great gift is one that's particularly tailored to the person it's given to.
posted by lia at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2008

Now is the time to start carrying a notepad (or slip of paper in your wallet) and shamelessly noting down ideas the second she mentions them, or they occur to you. Write down every single idea, even if it's obvious, unlikely, silly, etc. The most frustrating thing is to remember that you had a great idea, but not be able to recall what it is. I guarantee you'll think of some great things between now and then, but they'll be gone if you don't write them down.

For specific ideas, seconding lia - what is she like, where is your relationship at (brand new, established, living together, etc.?) I would suggest thinking about places you've been, things you've enjoyed together, your best memories as a couple, and try to bring that into your gift - but if your relationship is two months old, that's not going to work.
posted by pocams at 6:04 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

The amazing gifts I've received were all about me and the person who gave them to me, and had absolutely nothing to do with a generalized online poll.

I'm assuming your girlfriend is a female Homo sapiens and a native English speaker. Otherwise, I know nothing about her and I have no idea what she might consider traditional, unique, or meaningful.

What does she like to do with her time?

What was her favorite toy when she was a girl?

What's her family nickname?

If her family had pets, what's the first one she remembers?

What websites does she have bookmarked?

How did you meet? What song was playing?

Have you asked her best friends what she might like for her birthday? If not, why are you asking us? If so, what did they say and why was that not satisfactory?

Answer these questions, use your imagination, and you should get the answers you need. If not, you'll be able to provide the hivemind with enough info to give you a meaningful response.
posted by dogrose at 6:17 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

They all pretty much work.
posted by Max Power at 6:39 PM on September 27, 2008

Got to have background info. Need to know:
how much money can you spend? $20 ? $50? $100?

her age
what does she do for her living?
if she's a student then studying what?
hair color
eye color
body type

Things I'd love or have and love:
Solar Powered Single Rainbow Maker - Genuine Swarovski Crystal

Women's Kenneth Cole Automatic Skeleton Watch. KC2486

USB Plasma Ball

Silver chime pendant
posted by nickyskye at 6:51 PM on September 27, 2008

I love helping people find gifts, but you gotta give us something to work with!
posted by smalls at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2008

Take her to a fancy dinner with dancing then home for passionate lovemaking.........I've never had a girlfriend that didn't like that for her birthday:-)
posted by patnok at 8:17 PM on September 27, 2008

jewelry. What kind of girl is she? Cause some girls are all about the little blue box with the white bow. And some would be horrified by it. But jewelry is pretty universal. Some nice stuff on etsy.
posted by chickaboo at 9:14 PM on September 27, 2008

Well, one of my ultimate gifts would be a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

To the jewelry suggestion: I have specific taste and needs, so someone else buying me jewelry, unless that person knew all of this to a T, wouldn't work. I do not wear rings, I am allergic to certain metals, and my wrists are really tiny.

That said, there really is nothing to work with here, as others have said. But once we have more info, I'm sure we can help.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:26 PM on September 27, 2008

All of these replies are good--we can't tell you specifics for your girl because we don't know her. The key is how well YOU know her. Wrack your brain for the past and make note in the future of moments where she mentions offhand wistfully stuff she wants, shops she wishes she could patronize, or activities she wishes she could do, or places she'd like to see. Also imagine what she'd need but never allow to splurge on herself, or something she'd never think to get that would make her life easier (note: I am NOT talking appliances!!!!). For example, depending on her work, there might be some gadget or tool that would really make doing her work easier or more pleasant. Monogram it if it's kind of boring or technical or gadgety...

A good example of this mindset in action from my personal life: I fell in love with my roommate (I know, like, my bad) after living with him for about a year. I love to cook and when we first started hanging out together in our shared apartment he'd sit and talk while I made fancy dishes for fun in the evenings on my days off. Once, and only once, very early on I mentioned wistfully I missed the antique glass juicer my mom had in her kitchen while using the 5 dollar crap one we bought at Kroger to make lime juice for something. My roommate/crush doesn't know anything about cooking and asked me what difference it made--not in a dismissive way, but a genuinely curious way. I explained citrus, the most common type of fruit one juices in this manner as cooking prep, is acidic and over time eats away nonreactive material, leaving weird plastic and lingering old flavors. Also, the glass is sturdy enough to withstand vigorous squeezing, which means more juice. Plus, it was petite, pretty, and 1 piece instead of 2 which I liked for its elegance in design. Anyway. Fast forward 6 months to the first Christmas we spent as an official couple. My now-boyfriend called his (kitchen gadget-loving) mom, browsed online and in catalogs, and even drove out east into suburban southern hell in the ice and snow and holiday mall shopping traffic to find me...ta da, a glass juice. Based on that one conversation we had, half a year before. I was so touched, I'm telling you, a diamond ring wouldn't have meant more. Of course, I hate jewelry and love to cook so...but then, that's the point! He knew that. He knew me.
posted by ifjuly at 11:49 PM on September 27, 2008

Basically what I am asking is what kinds of gifts have you given/received that were really amazing?

the best birthday gift I ever received was my sweetie treating me to a hot air balloon ride
posted by jammy at 4:45 AM on September 28, 2008

Mining for diamonds in Arkansas.
posted by watercarrier at 5:55 AM on September 28, 2008

Customized is good. She found a really nice wooden folding chair in the trash, and for her birthday I had a custom red velvet seat pad made for it. BTW, the best filling for seat pads is rubberized horse hair.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:58 AM on September 28, 2008

Shared experiences can be great gifts - take her someplace to do something you'd both enjoy. You know her, we don't, but maybe she'd enjoy things like jammy's hot air balloon ride, or a Broadway musical, a cooking class, kayaking, etc. Give her memories instead of stuff.
posted by Quietgal at 9:24 AM on September 28, 2008

The best birthday present I ever received was a camera - not because it's an amazing camera (which it is), but because 'moonMan was so tuned in to what it was that I would want most and got it for me because he said that he knew it would make me happy.

Whatever it is that would make your girlfriend happy, whatever it is that you KNOW would make her smile, do it. 'moonMan is great with gifts and sometimes just surprises me with a game for the DS or a book or just something small because he saw me looking at it in a store. Make notes in your phone if you want a surreptitious way to jot down the things that she browses (it'll just look like you're txting someone, whereas carrying a notebook is slightly more obvious). Go someplace where she likes to shop for some "window shopping." I live in a city, so it's pretty easy to just walk around some shopping areas and browse without making a big deal out of it - if you guys have a mall around or something, find an excuse to go there - like seeing a movie or you need new underpants or whatever.

Listen to her while you're shopping as well. See what she talks about. See if she mentions things that she likes or talks about ideas that she has.

For clothes/jewelry: go into her closet and find out her sizes. Take good note of her style and what she has. I wouldn't recommend *specifically* trying to find clothes for her, but if you see something sometime that strikes you as her style and something she would like - those things make great gifts. If you're in doubt as to whether or not she'd LOVE it - don't do it. It's awkward to get a piece of clothing from someone and feel obligated to wear it when it's not your thing. You really should KNOW that she'll wear it all the time.

Books: look at her bookshelves. Note the authors. If you're buying books as gifts, try to get hardcover copies, even if that means buying/ordering used books. Hardcover books, IMO, are more beautiful to look at and a better *gift* because they'll hold up much better over time. Write a short inscription in the book. (I also use a little rubber stamp to stamp the inside of books when I give them as gifts - just something kinda whimsical to give it a more personal touch.) Ask her to make an Amazon wishlist and go from there, if you must.

Whatever you give, give it to her with a beautiful card. Not the kind you get from Hallmark. Go into a stationery store if you can, or Borders & Barnes&Noble have good cards - get something that will appeal to her - and not necessarily a funny "haha it's your birthday yr old" card. Err on the side of being sappy. Write a simple love note inside the card. Make the card something she'll cherish as much as the gift. If she's not a sappy person, you can be silly. I made 'moonMan a card for his birthday from our cats and he thought it was hilarious - that's the kind of guy he is.

If you know your girlfriend well enough, you should be able to get her something she'll really, really love. Even if she doesn't love the object, she'll love the time and thought you put in to making her special day as special as possible.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:39 AM on September 28, 2008

Forgot to mention that homemade gifts can also be really great if they're tailored to the recipient. 'moonMan doesn't like having a lot of stuff around and books are kind of out my league (he's a math/engineering dude, I'm an artist - I would have no idea where to start in terms of books that are a) good and b) relevant). He uses Moleskine notebooks every day to write in, so I bought and decorated a year's supply of notebooks for him. It's a pretty simple gift, but he really, really loved the thought and also the books. It's something that he'll use every single day and he loves that.

A good gift doesn't have to be elaborate at all, it just has to be tuned in to the person you're giving it to.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:43 AM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

http://www.jimmyjane.com/ These guys have really well-designed and high quality "sensual" gifts, ranging from X rated (really nice vibrators) to PG-13 (really nice massage oils and candles).

speaking of massage, get her a certificate for a hour-long massage! this is an AWESOME gift, an hour will run you at least $60.

Jewelry: can be difficult to choose exactly what she will like, but I really really like receiving jewelry from my boyfriend. You could surprise and take her out to pick something out together at a store, pick the store depending on your budget but maybe avoid target. watch out if you think she will be disappointed that "you don't know her well enough" to pick something out yourself, but i personally would enjoy this route. or tell her you're taking her out to dinner and stop at the jewelry store on the way. if you want to buy it yourself, check out art museum stores, they often have unique jewelry, especially modern art museums.
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:46 PM on September 28, 2008

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