Brenda’s Top-10 Romantic Gift Ideas

Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or my favorite – an out-of-the-blue surprise – a thoughtful gift can mean the world to the one you love. As much as you want to show your partner that you care, sometimes it’s hard to come up with the ideal “thing.” That’s the reason I’ve put together this list of romantic gifts—to help spark your imagination. And most of these gifts (almost ALL) will barely make a dent in your wallet.

  1. Massage
    Who doesn’t love one of these? You can stay home, light some scented candles, put on soothing music, and show your partner how you feel. The best part about this gift idea is that it’s free and yet it makes a personal statement. You could visit a professional and get a “couples” massage, but there is nothing more intimate or fulfilling (to both parties) than touching your partner’s body and creating that pleasure yourself.

  1. Write love letters
    You can leave them on your partner’s nightstand, you can mail them to his office or you can leave them in the mailbox for him to find. Write whatever you truly feel. Be open and sincere or concoct some fictional or playful reason for writing – for instance, you could pretend your loved one has been at sea and you’re updating him on how things are going back home. Have fun with it! Love letters are really effective, especially if you write them “just because.” They don’t require much of an investment (except your time and imagination), but they will pay big dividends.

  1. Dressing up
    Lingerie can certainly be a much-appreciated gift from him to her, something to make her feel special and beautiful. But what about changing that up? Why not surprise your partner by dressing up as a cocktail waitress, schoolteacher, nurse or whatever other “sexy” thing he might enjoy? Either way, you both win!

  1. Jewelry
    Do I even need to mention this one? LOL Jewelry is high on almost every romantic gift list because it’s lasting and visible. But instead of simply walking into a jewelry story and picking up something that’s simply pretty or even expensive, try making this gift more personal—with a monogram, the recipient’s birthstone, a charm that represents her or is symbolic of your relationship in some way, her favorite cut of diamond, etc. (A word of caution to men: a ring carries a very specific kind of symbolism. If you haven’t proposed yet, just make sure you know what kind of message you’re sending with your jewelry selection!)

  1. Scavenger hunt
    Remember how fun these quests were when you were a kid? Well, they can be fun as an adult, too. Leave your partner clues around the house. Make each clue lead to an even harder one. They could be about the gift or about your relationship. What you put at the end of the hunt is up to you, but your partner will love the journey just as much as the destination. And the fact that you invested so much time and thought in creating the experience will mean a great deal.

  1. Chocolate
    When in doubt, chocolate. Whether it’s Godiva or a simply her favorite candy bar (which costs only a buck or two), you can’t go wrong here. (Besides, chocolate is really my advice for everything, not just gifts!)

  1. Something encouraging
    The best gifts are personal. If you’ve noticed that your partner is interested in something but hasn’t quite taken that leap to pursue it, you have a great gift opportunity. Maybe he or she has talked about learning the guitar several times but has never actually bought one. Why not step up and get that guitar and some private lessons as a surprise? Sometimes, all we need to start something new is that little push of encouragement from the person we love most.

  1. Listen
    This probably sounds
    way too simple. But one of the best gifts you can give your partner is your total focus. Put down your cell phone, leave your computer alone and listen to your partner. Respond as if what they say and think and feel really matters to you. Spend one entire day doing it—and see what happens! I bet they’ll think that day was the best gift you could ever have given them.

  1. Love book
    This one is fun to make and very thoughtful. Make a huge list of all the things that you love about your partner. Is it how he came to your defense that one time? How about when she surprised you by driving all the way across the state to see you? Would he be the same if he didn’t have that one joke that he found
    way too funny? Take some time and put those special little things down on paper. Few gifts will make your partner feel more special.

  1. Tickets to something your partner really loves (and you kind of don’t)
    In any long-term relationship, there is some kind of compromise. Does he
    really watch sports as much as he would if she wasn’t around? Does he grumble a little bit when she flips the channel to that sweet Hallmark Christmas movie? As much as we don’t want to admit it, the answer is…probably. So, as a gift, don’t do that. Get him tickets to that baseball game even if you’d rather stare at a wall for three hours. Take her to the ballet even if you couldn’t explain the story of “The Nutcracker” to save your life. The key: Do your very best to enjoy it. If you’re acting like you’re only along for the ride, your partner won’t feel free to have a good time. And who knows? Before too long, you may find that making your partner happy makes you pretty happy, too. Somehow, I’ve gained a true love for football and basketball simply by making the effort to get involved in something my husband enjoys.

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A five-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Silver Bullet. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit