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Kameenian Korner: Birthday and Anniversary Gifts

Photo courtesy of Liz Kameen.
Photo courtesy of Liz Kameen.

Welcome to the newest addition to the Kameenian Korner! In this special edition, the printing of the paper lined up exactly with my boyfriend and I’s fifth anniversary! So, for this extra special column, I’ll cover the topic of birthdays and anniversaries – which can be stressful for many relationships, especially long-term ones, as it seems very easy to run out of ideas. 

However, after being in a relationship for five years (as of today!) I have discovered a few cheat codes to ensure you always find your significant other a gift they like. No more stress-searching for “best anniversary gifts;” I have a formula that works for every occasion. 

First, you have to figure out a few basic things your partner is interested in, whether it be movies, shows, music, or hobbies. Once you have these, you’re set. 

Avoid the cliche of looking up “gifts for boyfriends/girlfriends” or “gifts for men,” as these will almost always promote stupid gifts – at least in my opinion. If you don’t want a custom engraved watch, wallet, belt, or some sort of alcohol memorabilia, stay away from these searches.  

In general, avoid looking up “gifts for men” on Etsy. No, I’m pretty sure most partners don’t want jorts with their partner’s face on the rear pocket–I want to buy him something he likes and uses. 

It’s the same thing with looking up “gifts for girls;” every woman is sick of receiving care packages that were not explicitly picked for them. If you want it to be meaningful, make it yourself, and pick out all the things you know they like. It’s cheaper than those $50 care boxes on Etsy, and it can be hand-curated to fit your partner’s liking. 

Instead of these cliches, look up their interests with a particular keyword. For example, looking up gifts related to any TV show, movie, brand, musician, artist, band, book, author, etc,. will bring a host of options. To make it even better, searching for specifics always helps, so specifying whether you’re looking for clothing, decorations, or knick-knacks may help condense your search.

Before buying jewelry for your significant other – please know your partner’s preferred color. People usually pick silver or gold depending on their complexion, sentimental history, and skin tone, so buying the wrong color is a no-go. 

Personally, I’ve always been a gold girl, and a silver necklace would clash with every other piece I own. And I can’t wear earrings made out of cheap metal because my skin reacts, so if my boyfriend of five years bought me a pair of earrings I couldn’t even wear without pain, yeah, I wouldn’t be ecstatic. 

Be creative with your gifts, and listen to what your partner complains about often. For example, this year, for my partner’s birthday, I looked up his favorite bands and found him an album tapestry for one of the bands he’s been listening to recently, The Smashing Pumpkins, since he’s been talking about having no wall decoration in his dorm. And there is so much stuff to get for niche interests – I had to pick between two different necklaces for my boyfriend just based on the premise of the song Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Last year, he casually mentioned how his work gloves were falling apart, so my mom and I chipped in to get him a better pair. Same thing with everyday references, one day, he noted that he wanted a beanie but couldn’t afford the one he liked, so I made sure to jot down a note for future reference. 

That might be my biggest recommendation: keep a running note, either digital or physical, of possible gifts your partner may mention in passing. It may take a little time to train your ear to notice when a complaint may have a solution, but it’s definitely worth it. And, I keep my gift idea note in my phone, locked behind a password with a fake title, in case my boyfriend accidentally skims by it. Keeping it on my phone is the most handy since I always have it on me, and it takes seconds to add a little bullet to my ongoing list. 

In addition, he’s a big movie buff, so I got him a scratch-off poster that revealed a new movie every day. And sentimental/hand-made gifts are beyond underappreciated. It might have been one of the cheapest gifts we exchanged, but my boyfriend and I still wear the silly bracelets the other one bought years before. Also, I always make my boyfriend silly little drawings that he hangs up over his dorm, and packing them into a cute box with a bow never does harm.

When I had absolutely no money, I would find an old shoebox, paint it, and fill it with either hand-made gifts or find cheap things I knew that he would like. There is no excuse for not giving your partner something on a special day. Even when there’s no special occasion, my boyfriend will steal flowers from unsuspecting yards when I’m not looking, just to put a smile on my face. 

Don’t even ask about the time I had to convince him not to get out of the car and walk across a two-line highway just to pick some blue flowers that reminded him of my eyes. No, I’m not joking–he is so amazing that sometimes I think I’m dreaming. And, if your partner doesn’t make you feel like this, it might be time to have a serious conversation. 

Photo courtesy of Liz Kameen.

I hope that these can provide some sort of help in future gifting endeavors, and as always, thanks for reading the column! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me through email at [email protected], in the comments, or fill out this Google Form!

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  • J

    JeffOct 16, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Be suspecting of any suspicious note titles. Got it. Great article!