To read Part I of this post, The Ultimate Guide to Romantic Gifts, click here.
Often times, when giving gifts to my loved ones, I opt for homemade or semi-homemade presents. These are more time-intensive than store-bought gifts, of course, but they are lower cost and often much more personal.
Framed Photos & Paintings
Whether a large statement piece or a small desktop token, a framed photo or artwork can bring daily joy to your partner for little time and money. You can pick up a frame at a thrift store or on Amazon—I was impressed with the quality of this gallery frame available for $15. Whether you frame a photo of the two of you or a painting available in the public domain, your piece is sure to be special, especially if you sign and date the back with a little love note.
For more advice on finding, printing, and framing artworks, check out this earlier post.
If you’re skilled in certain arts, whether songwriting, painting, writing poetry, or crocheting scarves, you might consider making something for your partner. Incorporating their favorite colors or happy memories from your relationship can make your gift even more special. For a recent gift, I made Rolan an illustrated map of Guatemala, pictured above in this frame, highlighting all the places we’ve been to together.
If you have a design in mind for a personalized gift but don’t feel comfortable executing it, you can contact someone whose work you like on Instagram or Etsy, as many artists are open to doing commissions.
365 Day Jar
One of my good friends recently shared this idea with me. She created a numbered list from 1 to 365 and wrote something she loved about her boyfriend, a happy memory, or a motivating quote on every line. She then cut and folded each line and popped it into a jar. Every day for the next year, her boyfriend started his mornings with a little bit of love from her.
Maybe mix tapes aren’t a common present anymore, but a thoughtful Spotify playlist can be a wonderful gift, especially if your partner likes to listen to music in the car or on the way to work. To get you started, here’s a list of my favorite love songs.
Coupon books are a wonderful gift because they marry the promise of an experience with something tangible. My parents first taught me about giving coupons when I was little. On holidays they would give each other coupons for massages and homemade dinners. I, in turn, learned to give them car-washing coupons for their birthdays.
While homemade coupons can be among the sweetest, I was pleased with Datevitation, a service I used last year to create a custom coupon book for Rolan full of vouchers for different dates. Datevitation is currently selling books for less than $10 on Groupon.
You can sweep your partner off their feet with a romantic homemade dinner, breakfast in bed, or a picnic. (This picnic backpack is my favorite.) Alternatively, you can make them a box of treats they would enjoy, such as truffles or their healthier counterpart, energy bites.
While potentially time-intensive, photo albums can be quite touching, especially in the early stages of a relationship. I print mine at Walgreens for the one-day turn-around time and for the slickness of a published book.
What is your favorite homemade gift you have given or received?