Exactly 14 days from now, my boyfriend and I will be celebrating our six-years anniversary. SIX YEARS! I couldn’t imagine dating for six months let alone six years!! But suddenly, here I am, after a wonderful ride that has been tumultuous, exciting, passionate, and well, sometimes stressful (or worse, dull!) – but has never been regretted. I am excitedly approaching a new milestone of 6 years of dating.

Part of being in a long-term relationship means striving to keep the relationship interesting and fresh. I personally can attest that my relationship has become much better and much more interesting as the years go on, and your increasing comfort level with the other person allows for new experimentation in all aspects of the relationship.

And, in keeping with the spirit of doing something new, I decided to throw out a new idea to celebrate our six years of dating. Rather than the wonderful evening dinner we usually do (although, I must confess, anniversaries have varied from full-day dates to seeing each other at all!), I asked my boyfriend if we could exchange 6 gifts to commemorate six years of dating. Each person cannot spend more than $30 for the six gifts, in total (taxes included); a rule which is in place to encourage some home-made gifts. I must confess – in the beginning, some of this idea came from the selfish need of wanting presents 🙂 but somehow, it resulted in a bigger and better reflection than I intended (more on that later).

Of course, my boyfriend was smart – rather than figuring out what six gifts to get me, he went to my best friend – who can deftly come up with a few ideas. Assuming he will never read this – as I am sure he wouldn’t be too pleased if he found out I knew he tried to tickle my “best-ie” for info – I must admit, it was a great idea. You have a better chance of figuring out what she wants by talking to her friend. Even though there is a chance that some – or all – of the surprise will be ruined (although you might be able to make sure the cat doesn’t get out of the bag), you will end up spending your money wisely and on something she will really like. It would really suck, for example, if you propose to a girl, and she doesn’t like the ring :).

At first, I started generating all these ideas of potential gifts I would like – a case for my iPhone, a particular type of headphones, a specific bracelet to match a set of earrings I have, etc.,  but as I began emailing all these ideas to my friend so she could suggest them to my boyfriend (haha, yes women often do this), I realized I had completely missed the exact point of the exercise in the first place.

In the end, celebrating an anniversary has little to do with finding a gift a person would like, and more to do with a gift that has put thought into it. When I see his gift, I want to feel that he has thought about the last six years and all the magical moments that we have shared, and he has found 6 gifts that aim to capture or highlight some of those moments, or at least capture his feelings about me. And I hope to do the same for him: maybe he could use a new briefcase, but I don’t know if that really captures how I feel about him and how much I love him.

Suddenly, I realized my list itself was problematic – that an iPhone case, or headphones, or a bracelet are lovely gifts, but they are just that – gifts. And while gifts will be things the other person needs/wants, they don’t actually mean anything on their own, or even in the process of giving them to someone. The selection of gifts is just as important as the gift itself – and I’d choose a chocolate bar over a bracelet any day, if the chocolate bar is his way of expressing that he thinks I am sweet, rather than a bracelet which he gets and explains it by saying “I thought you would like it”. It’s a challenging distinction to make out, but the point of celebrating the last six years, in my opinion, involves celebrating the past and looking to the future, and the gifts should be reflective of that. I might like hundreds of gifts, but why you choose something is more important than what you choose.

I would rather have gifts that create memories for us, rather than things for me (which I consider distinctive in their celebratory nature (i.e. anniversaries are “us gifts” while birthdays are “me gifts”)) so that we can both use the gift, and celebrate together.

At the end of a rather emphatic post, I owe you at last a few gift ideas – which may help in distinguishing “me gifts” and “us gifts” as I like to call them.

  • A List: 100 (or other number of) reasons why you love her
  • A Home-Made Coupon Book: with all types of interesting deals (e.g. “A cuddle night” or “dinner on me”) – this is more of an “us gift” depending on what you put in  (e.g. kinky ideas) that can be enjoyed by both parties
  • Lingerie: unless you are 100% sure of her sizes and her style choices, get her a gift card (also an “us gift”  – I assume you want to enjoy ripping your gift off her!)
  • Jewelery: when in doubt, just get jewelery :). You can stick to easy things like necklaces, pendants or earring which don’t require sizing (unlike bracelets and rings)
  • A Book: maybe she likes to read, or has some personal interests/hobbies she would like to expand her knowledge on? Chapters/Indigo have wonderful sales and you can get books at ridiculous prices like $7!
  • A Practical Gift: some, –  not all! – women like practical gifts – technology or technological accessories, etc.
  • A Spa Day or Nails/Hair Coupon: definitely a “her gift”!
  • A “You Day“: ask your girl what her ideal day would be, and then make it happen! You can adapt this to an “Us Day” for an anniversary, and plan out a day to spend together in typical, romantic, couple-y fashion.

Gifts to be careful about:

  • Clothing: even if you know her sizes, the type of style or design could alter how a generic size fits – not to mention issues of whether she even likes that style at all…might not be worth the risk! (at least, save the gift receipt so she has options of exchanging your gift).
  • Shoes: same problem as clothes: style, size, colour, design – the problems are endless! With clothes and shoes, buy something you are 100% sure she likes; as in, she pointed to a pair of boots and said “I wish I had those in size 7 and 1/2”.
  • Practical Gifts: I know, they are also in the recommended section…I love practical gifts, but often, women don’t. Know your gal before you bring home Mr.Roboto. And don’t buy a practical gift on the pretense it’s for her if it is really for you (e.g. “Honey, look, I bought you this amazing video game console!”). 🙂
  • A Night Out: also an iffy one, I know, as she may end up feeling short-changed. A night out is an “us gift”, not a “me gift” – often good for an anniversary, but not for a birthday because it doesn’t really celebrate her. There can always be exceptions, however! For example, my boyfriend took me to see a play and it was incredible – best gift I ever got (even though it cost him a fortune!). The idea is, don’t do something you normally do if you choose a night out.
  • Perfume: any type of scented gift is tough – if you get her a smell she doesn’t like, it will just collect dust in her closet. Only get her perfume if you know a specific brand she loves.
  • Make-up: Same problem as with perfume – there are so many brands of make-up, and so many colours, that you have a better chance with a gift-card in this area.
  • Flowers: So they die, and they are kind of cliché … I don’t know about these ones. One year my boyfriend sent me these amazing roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and I loved them! Once the roses started to die, I dried them and made them into pot-pourri! Flowers can work, but only if your girlfriend likes them. I know plenty of girls who don’t, and either way, I suggest you accompany them with another gift.

Girls and Guys, you are welcome to throw in your ideas and thoughts!

Hehe, I can’t wait to get my own gifts! (And, of course, to give him mine! :))

The Wonders of Womanhood