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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

6 Tips Of Gift-Giving For Your Girl

It's the Chinese New Year season, which also means that something else is around the corner!

Yeap, Valentine's Day is only 2 days away! After celebrating V-day for the 10th year now (with the same guy), I still feel excited about V-day. I just love the idea of celebrating love, whether it's between lovers, amongst family or with friends. It's just nice to shower your other half/loved ones with all the love you can give!

Taken on Valentine's Day 2008. Photo unedited
(which explains the old-fashioned, saturated yellow hues)

Sure, there are endless debates about celebrating Valentine's Day. Notions such as,

"Everyday should be Valentine's Day so I'm not going to celebrate Valentine's Day."
"Valentine's Day is just commercialised to profit businesses."
"Valentine's Day is too cheesy and mainstream."
"I hate Valentine's Day. Just because."

Whatever your stand on V-day may be, I respect it. But let's not turn this post into a debate forum. Personally, I have always enjoyed celebrating Valentine's Day with my loved one. It's just another day to date each other and celebrate the love you have for each other. I think it's beautiful :)

But yes, Valentine's Day also means it's time to scratch your head finding a gift for your partner. For us girls, we struggle even more as there are only these few things that you can get for a guy. The usual shirt, tie, shoes, watches, gadgets, etc. And they're more expensive too!

But for the guys, they have too many things to choose from, which is a headache as well! And girls are generally harder to please when it comes to gifts, because certain things such as shoes, fragrances and watches are really up to our personal preferences. Getting a wrong design, colour or scent would cause us to not want to wear them. We like them because they're from you and we appreciate your effort and thoughtfulness! It's just that....we won't wear what we don't love. Yeah.

Guys, if you're still stressing out about what to gift your girlfriends/wives/special friend this Valentine's day, perhaps the following few tips of gift-giving for girls might help you get a better idea :)

Wrote this article for Fuzzy Logic's Christmas Issue.

It was sold out pretty quickly and some of you asked me to blog about what I wrote, so here it is! 

6 Tips of Gift-Giving For Your Girl

Tip #1: Know Your Girl. Don’t tembak.

Every girl is unique and has her own preferences. To assume that every girl loves red roses and chocolates would be a terrible mistake! I, for one, am unlike 80% of the girls out there who love chocolates and soft toys. One of the first gifts that my husband, Boon got me when he was going after me 10 years ago was a Mashimaro soft toy (yeah it was THE thing back then). I thought it was sweet, but I didn’t LOVE the gift itself. When he learnt of my preferences, he subsequently gave me gifts that I would actually love and appreciate.

That doesn’t come naturally for most guys, and girls alike. The best way to find out about what she likes is to ASK her (directly or indirectly). When you do so, you save yourself unnecessary stress, energy and money spent, while she would appreciate you taking the initiative to get to know her likes and dislikes. It’s a win-win situation!

If you’re too shy, there’s always her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you stalk her enough, you can sort of figure it out ;)

Tip #2: Great Gifts ≠ Expensive Gifts

One of the common misconceptions that most guys have is that the more expensive the gift is, the more she would like it. WRONG.

We, girls understand your situations, especially if you’re still a student or a fresh grad. We’re not crazy, and we don’t expect luxurious stuff from you for Valentine's Day. Okay, maybe SOME high-maintenance girlfriends do, but trust me, most average girls don't.

If your spirit is willing, but your wallet is empty, you can still give her the best Valentine's Day gift ever by making something for her.
Photo credit:
Until now, when Boon asks me which gift was the most romantic that I’d received from him after all these years, I would still say that it’s the 365 colorful origami swans that he folded, placed into a Nescafe Jar for our first year anniversary. It didn’t cost more than RM5, but it took a lot of time and effort, especially when I knew that he made all of them even while he was busy studying for his finals back in uni, and that his fingers peeled badly because of all the folding. It wasn’t an expensive gift, but it was valuable.

Key: Be creative and sincere. Put your thoughts and your heart into the gift. When you do, we can tell.

Tip #3: Packaging

Girls are very easy to please. Pretty things make us happy, and pretty packaging makes the gift even more beautiful. I know it sounds absurd but yeah, that’s how we are wired.

You may give her a beautiful gift on the inside, but if you hand it to her in a plastic bag (or a paper bag that you got your gift from which totally spoils the surprise. Remember, it’s a big no-no!), the gift immediately just doesn’t seem as nice as it should have been anymore.

The packaging of your gift says a lot about how much thought you put into the littlest details. If you get her a dress, instead of giving it to her in a paper bag, why don’t you head on over to Memory Lane or a bookstore, get it wrapped nicely in a gift box, and tie the box with a pretty bow over it? It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be as simple as this.

Photo Credit:

That is why girls are obsessed with THE blue Tiffany box. Sometimes, it’s not really about the Tiffany & Co. diamond ring, really. It’s about the beautiful packaging that makes the girls feel like a million dollars receiving it.

Remember, your gift is only as beautiful as its packaging ;)

Tip #4: Write something

By writing, I don’t mean writing a Whatsapp message or printing out a note for her. I’m talking about the old-school, vintage, long-forgotten charmer- Handwritten Notes. Yes, writing. With a pen.

Photo Credit:
Girls LOVE and ADORE handwritten notes. We are usually shy to say this, but by stating it loud and clear over here, I’m doing my girls a huge favor. We LOVE your handwriting, guys.

It’s not because your handwriting is nice, we know they’re not. But there’s just something about handwritten notes that are extra sweet and romantic. They send shivers down our spine reading it. They give us the fluffy, lovey-dovey feeling, and we could read your short and simple (sometimes pointless) notes again and again, and again. It is something we’ll keep in our purses and safeguard with our lives.

Put your handwritten note together with the gift, or slip it into her purse or bag as a surprise, somewhere she would least expect (but would eventually find out). And when she does, you will score bonus points. Trust me.

Tip #5: Surprise Her

Girls love surprises. And guys are good at it. Yes, you are. You just gotta be creative!

Photo credit:
Instead of giving the gift to her at the most predictable times, why don’t you do something out of the ordinary? Arrive at her doorstep at 12am on Valentine's Day. Mail it to her house address. Put it underneath her car seat. Give her clues on where to “redeem” her gift. Think along these lines. Surprise her!

Photo credit:
Yeap, got this cheesy photo from Google. Couldn't find a natural-looking one, so a cheesy one will do haha!

We love surprises not because we like to get shocked, but because planning a surprise takes a lot of thought and effort. And those are precisely the things that win a girl’s heart over. We want to know that we matter enough to you for all the effort.

Tip #6: Give On Time

This 6th tip wasn't in my article previously, but as I gave some thought to these few points before I decided to pen them down for this post, I realised that there is this one important thing that we often overlook.

I believe we're all guilty of this. We get so caught up with our busy schedules that we often give our loved ones belated gifts for their birthdays and other special occasions. I do that too, a lot. But, when I receive belated gifts from others on special days, I realised that I didn't feel as happy receiving them as compared to when they gave me during the day itself. That got me thinking. And I came to realise...that gifts have an 'expiry date'. Once you go past the actual date, presents you receive wouldn't mean so much anymore. It just...loses its sparkle.

Think about it, your loved ones weren't born into this world just yesterday. You know their birthdays, but what took you so long to get a gift? A year isn't long enough to find a gift? There is really no excuse. No, not even for myself. Not for anybody. No reason is ever a good enough reason.

When you give a belated gift, it sends an indirect message that your schedule is more important than your loved ones. If you have time to go grab a coffee or catch a movie, it means you HAVE the time to get a gift. You do. It's just's not that important.

This should be practised even more for your other halves. Of course, there will be times that you are unable to be with your partner on Valentine's Day or on their birthdays, and unable to pass them the gift on the same day itself. But when you can, and you don't, it really shows something. Too busy to get her a gift? That's no excuse. 

Remember, anything can make a good gift, as long as you put your heart into it. Your girl will know it when you do. It's really the thought that counts :)


All of the above are solely my personal point of view. While most girls may agree with me on my points, there are girls who are different from me and think otherwise. So you may choose not to take in everything I wrote blindly :)

Nevertheless, I hope these 6 tips would help ease your gift planning for Valentine's Day! It's 2 days away, still not too late! Don't just get her any gift. Pause and give it some thought before getting/making anything.

Have fun while you’re at it! And remember, it really isn’t difficult to make a girl happy :)

Happy Valentine's Day in advance!

love, Careen

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