You want to shower your soulmate with fabulous gifts, but this year the budget just won’t stretch to cover the cost of a romantic trip to Antigua or a seriously bling-ed out watch or that weekend retreat to a mountain spa.
No, you’re staying close to home, having yourselves a merry little “staycation,” and keeping the costs down. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still find meaningful ways to say “I love you” – all it takes is a little creativity and thinking outside the (gift-wrapped) box.
This is your chance to give a truly personal gift that can’t be purchased at the local mall – something one-of-a-kind that’s created out of your love and ingenuity. It will definitely be appreciated more than a tie or a scarf or a book (isn’t that what libraries are for?) because it’s a labor of your love.
Make a book of your own that tells the story of your love with photos, receipts and other memorabilia you’ve saved. Begin with your lives prior to meeting – you can either illustrate it in photos, words or an essay. Show how you met and convey your first impressions, first dates, first kiss, first more-than-a-kiss, and so on.
You can find beautifully bound blank books at art stores or a specialist retailer like Papyrus or Kate’s Paperie…or you can make one yourself! Just use a regular journal that costs under $10 at your local stationery store, then find some beautiful cloth at a fabric store and wrap the book in it. The whole project could easily cost under $20, but the impact when your love sees that you’ve poured your heart and soul into such a special present is priceless.
If you’re artistically inclined, you can create a piece of art, drawing a scene that is set in a place where you shared a romantic moment – or make a collage of images representing your love (see suggestions above) and frame it. You can even take a special photograph and have it blown up on canvas and framed (go online to find places that do it in your area). Sign it, wrap it with a big bow and give it to your love. The latter suggestion is more costly, but you will have it as a special art piece in your home forever.
Treat me right!
Create an elegant “future” evening for your lover. Make a formal “French-style” menu of what you intend to serve for a meal – wine list and all – including the date you plan on doing your dinner at the top (perhaps New Year’s Eve?). Feature food that is all their favorite dishes (escargot, filet mignon, asparagus with sauce, chocolate mousse – if you can’t cook, have it delivered). Now, put a big box together with your menu, a wrapped bottle of special wine or champagne, a romantic candle or massage oil in their favorite scent and a photo of the two of you in a nice frame. Add a poem or song lyrics about your devotion (you don’t have to write it – go online and print one out!). If you’re the musical sort, write a song instead. If you’re feeling really daring add something naughty (a g-string, lace teddy, blindfold). Put it all together and you have a very romantic and meaningful present that will always be remembered.
Is there something you do that no one else does that could make your partner’s day? Maybe you’re a web designer, so update your lover’s website. Is there a cause they’re really into (animal shelters, going green, music or sport’s education, civil rights)? Make a donation in their name or buy merchandise that the proceeds go to the organization, or agree to volunteer in their honor… there are a million ways to tap into someone’s passions and your talents. Just meditate on it for awhile and the perfect “non-materialistic” present will come to you. Any present that says, “I know who you really are and I honor that!” is a special gift that money can’t buy.
Not to knock commerce or the benefits of being showered with trinkets, but a true gift – one from the heart – is one that doesn’t come with a return receipt. And the beauty of such gifting is it leaves you less stressed when the credit card bills arrive in January. You can breathe easy knowing that your imagination offered up a seasonal present that touched someone else’s heart.
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