The saying goes “It’s the thought that counts” when it comes to giving gifts. This statement is often throw around when gifts are small and not as elaborate or flashy as one would hope. But if there was no thought put into a gift, then all you have is a cheesy gift. Cheesy gifts can range from a 3D picture you picked up from a yard sale to the table settings you grabbed when passing through the clearance section. Let’s take a moment to review some less-than-memorable gifts people in relationships tend to get each other when the creative process runs a little dry.
Box of chocolates– Possibly the most overused gift of all time, a box of chocolates is just that; no matter if it’s from a popular chocolate company or it bears the name of your local mom-and-pop candy shop and was concocted with the essence of local spices.
Given Mostly During: Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversaries.
Better Gift: Your significant other’s favorite sweets wrapped in a creative package (think outside the box- perhaps a basket display) accompanied by a thoughtful, small note.
Professional Solo Portraits: You know the kind…it lives on in our hearts as one of many memorable Costanza moments on Seinfeld, but the real-life version is much less comedic, definitely not romantic and mostly falls somewhere between awkward and “Oh no. Oh please, no.”
Given Mostly During: Panicked reactions of paranoia when your relationship needs a spark.
Better Gift: A drop-down photo album with pictures of you and your special someone from various dates and adventures.
Store Bought Cards: Nothing expresses your love like a fluffy bit of creative writing prepared by a person who has watched The Notebook on repeat. Even with atrocious penmanship, you can put together a more sincere card.
Given Mostly During: Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and occasions when you fear you might be in the dog house but aren’t entirely sure.
Better Gift: Create your own card. Don’t fret if you’re not artsy- a card personally made by you is more thoughtful and meaningful than anything you could buy in a store.
Stuffed Animal Holding a Heart: Once you’re either 12 years old or decide you no longer like Lisa Frank items, stuffed animals, while cute, don’t really add anything. Nothing says “I love you” like a bear holding a heart that says “I love you,” except all it really says is “I bought this February 13th at 9:59 PM before my local Rite-Aid closed for the night.”
Given Mostly During: Birthday parties…for children.
Better Gift: A puppy or kitten with a love note attached to the collar. You should probably make sure you’re both able to handle the responsibility of caring for the animal first, but seriously: a puppy or kitten is an instant win.
Greatest Romantic Hits CD: This might have worked back when CDs were all the rage, but probably not. Love songs are great in the right moment. 24 of them on a two-disc set ordered from a 1-800 commercial, are not.
Given Mostly During: Failed attempts to romanticize the mood and disguise the burning dinner smell.
Better Gift: Make a mix CD with all songs that remind them of your relationship- they don’t even have to be romantic love songs.
Personalized M&Ms: For when you run out of ideas of things to put somebody’s name on, there’s always M&MS. They don’t taste any different, but they do cost more, and it’s about how much you spend on a gift, right?
Given Mostly During: Valentine’s Day by someone who thinks he or she is being innovative by not purchasing a box of chocolates.
Better Gift: Try personalizing more useful, longer-lasting items such as wallets or mugs.
Singing Telegrams: Do you have a couple minutes to stand in your doorway while a stranger you’ve never met gives an impromptu concert on your doorstep as the neighbors watch on? This is the equivalent home version of the waiters in a restaurant gathering around your table to alert the universe it’s your birthday.
Given Mostly During: Valentine’s Day, wedding anniversaries and desperate apology attempts.
Better Gift: Let’s cut out the singing and go for a live reading of a romantic letter to your lover.
Edible Underwear: There’s something about a chocolate thong that sounds wrong and horribly mis-flavored. Food-as-clothing should’ve stopped with candy necklaces and ring pops.
Mostly Given During: Intimate moments about to become hilarious and/or disturbing moments.
Better Gift: Actual clothes. Or, if your significant other is picky, a gift card to his or her favorite clothing store.
Snow Globes w/ Photos: The mystery of “how did they get the photo in there?” quickly turns to “Why did they get me this?” Consider yourself lucky if this isn’t battery operated and playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on repeat in pitches only meant for a dog’s ears to hear.
Mostly Given During: Romantic holiday events.
Better Gift: Find a unique photo frame and put a couple of photos in it so your lover can switch them around.
Promise Ring: When you want to let them know you plan on truly screwing up but you’re totally dedicated for the (kinda) long term, a Promise Ring only vows to remind you what a meaningless gift this was when you’re back on dating sites in a few months.
Mostly Given During: When you’re ready to jump the gun on a relationship/dating for a week.
Better Gift: An engagement ring is probably better, but if you’re not ready for the big leagues, go with something simple like a bracelet, watch, or earrings.