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Fail-Proof Anniversary and Birthday Gifts For Her

Take the guesswork out of gifting

By Megan Collins | Aug 19 2016

It seems to me that gifts – for a significant other or otherwise – can be broken out into four main categories. They are:

  1. thoughtful stuff—presents that make her go, “Aww!”
  2. useful stuff—those gifts that make her go, “Aww, you remembered I needed a new cast-iron pan!”
  3. schmancy stuff—as in, the baubles you give that will make her speechless, and
  4. experiences

Now, is there overlap between categories? Sure, a thoughtful gift might also be useful, and an experience might also be schmancy (dinner at Per Se, anyone?), but generally, this is it.

Which is good news! It means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when birthdays, anniversaries and more roll around. We surveyed Team SG for their top, can’t-miss presents. Get ready to roll in those “Awws.”

You can’t go wrong with these gifts for her:

thoughtful stuff

Dig deep on this one guys. A good gift doesn’t need to be expensive; a long memory and some simple planning is all you need to make a splash. A writer for a women’s magazine once recounted how her boyfriend framed the airplane tickets from their first trip together (to Paris, le swoon) as a gift, months and months after they’d returned. Romantic? Check. Materials available at Target for under $10? Check.

Brit: Any gift that’s: A) associated with a shared experience, or B) able to be shown off (in an artistic way) is a sure-fire success in my books. Whether it’s a place you both have been yearning to visit or have already crossed off your travel list, I love these Rifle Paper Illustrations of cities that can be custom formatted and framed.  

useful stuff

So here’s the thing; if this was a men’s magazine ten years ago, our advice would read something like, “For God’s sake guys, don’t get your wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas! Pick up some nice pearl earrings instead.”

But real talk: I would legit murder a small animal for a Dyson (nothing crazy, just, like, a squirrel or a pigeon). As long as what you’re snagging for her is useful and awesome—and so long as the card didn’t read “To keep you busy while I’m golfing!”—then you’re in the free and clear.

Jen: Podcast advertisers must be doing something right because I have heard about this Texture magazine subscription on every single one I listen to lately (shout out to fine-tuned demographic targeting!) and now I want it. Magazine articles I’ll like without having to buy all the magazines? I’m into it.

Taylor: I just moved into a new apartment, and I am determined to make it a place where things other than me can live and grow. Fiddle Leaf Fig plants make any living space 35% more stylish, and I’d love to have one in my living room. Giving me a plant signifies that my wonderful (still fictitious) man believes I’m capable of keeping it alive, which is nice.

Brit: For music mavens and record-loving newbies alike, this new Vinyl Me, Please subscription box is gold. The package includes a featured record, a custom cocktail pairing recipe, an art print, and optional extras, so I imagine a night full of homemade cocktails and living room dancing would be the natural progression. A gift that definitely keeps on giving.

shmancy stuff

If your wife or girlfriend is anything like me (and I have to imagine that, if you’re reading this site on the reg, she very well could be), it takes a lot for her to abide by the “treat yo’ self” mantra. Sure, big ticket itesms like nice handbags and jewelry fall under this umbrella, but so do smaller things—like fancy foot wraps for barre class instead of grippy socks, or those little hats for lemons made out of cheesecloth so seeds don’t drop into whatever you’re squeezing the lemon on. Whether on an item with a big price tag or small, big boy on a gift that’s shmancier than she’d buy herself.

Image via Lulu Frost

Taylor: I have a serious thing for personalized jewelry, and I think it really makes the best gift. Keep in mind that ‘personal’ doesn’t have to mean a Carrie Bradshaw-inspired nameplate necklace—it can be subtly personal. Currently I’m obsessed with Lulu Frost’s new zodiac collection, and would love to get this delicate ring for my sign, Scorpio.


This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Fun/amazing/romantic/special/delicious thing. That you do together.

Taylor: At this point in my life, I’m honestly a bit more into experiential gifts than too many material things. (Except jewelry, of course.) I’d love to get tickets to a show that both my (fictional) man and I would love to see – like The Boss. I can’t really imagine anything better than belting out Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” next to my (again, fictional) beloved.

Gabi: This is something that I do with my girlfriends, but I think taking her out for tea would be a fun – and unexpected – event. My friend’s boyfriend took her to tea recent and she was really excited to get to share an experience – usually reserved for her gal pals – with him. (He even liked the tea sandwiches – they can be filling, I promise!)

Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

Taylor: Go for a mid-week staycation at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, NY. Okay so the truth is I’ve already done this with a love interest, and it was so much fun. A night away from home in the middle of the week feels so romantic, and The Wythe is a stylish escape in the middle of Williamsburg. No matter where you are though, escaping your normal evening routine for a seriously indulgent night makes a surprising and thoughtful gift.

Lizzie: For anniversaries, I’m all about experiences. Take her to that new restaurant with the delicious tasting menu that we’ve been hearing all about (Brian, if you’re reading this, can we go to Sushi Nakazawa for our one-year?). Experiences are great for anniversaries because its a way to celebrate all the experiences a couple has shared over however long they’ve been together, and a way to build new ones.



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