There are plenty of ways to approach buying your partner an amazing gift — whether you look at their hobbies and interests, go for something sentimental, or they’re constantly dropping hints about what they’d like. But if you need some more inspiration, look no further than your partner’s love language.
For those who aren’t in the loop, the 5 Love Languages were developed by renowned marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman as a way to understand the different ways of expressing and receiving love. They include quality time, physical affection, words of affirmation, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Although love languages were created as a way to help couples grow closer and navigate conflict, they can also take the guesswork out of gifting. Buying your partner a gift tailored to their love language is a surefire way to get them something that will make them feel seen and appreciated (especially if you’re stuck on ideas or they’re hard to buy for).
The holiday season is all about spending time with loved ones and connecting with your partner, but this time of year can also add a whole level of stress to a relationship — and gift-giving is definitely one of the most daunting aspects.
Whether this is your first Christmas as a couple or you’ve been together so long that you’ve run out of gift ideas, picking the perfect present for your partner can be tricky.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a botched present — like that episode of Friends where Monica buys Chandler an expensive watch and he… writes her a rap song. So if you want to avoid an awkward gift exchange this Christmas, and get your partner something you know they’ll love, knowing their love language is key.
If you don’t know where to start, we brainstormed a list of gift ideas for each of the five love languages. Of course, you know your partner better than anyone, so these are just suggestions.
If ‘quality time’ is your partner’s love language, then nothing says “I love you” like your undivided attention. This love language is all about spending time together, having meaningful conversations, and being present.
Cookware or a picnic set. If your partner loves cooking, pick out some beautiful new cookware or baking tools that you can use to cook meals together. If they’re not a fan of cooking but are big foodies, a picnic set is something to can enjoy on your next date together.
A photo book. Print out photos of your favorite memories and travels together, then curate a photobook of your relationship. Make sure to leave lots of empty pages that you can fill out together.
A staycation at a luxury hotel. Book a night at a luxury hotel, turn your cellphones off, and enjoy each other’s uninterrupted company. Add in a couple of spa treatments for the ultimate gift.
Streaming service subscription. Believe it or not, research shows that couples who watch TV shows and movies together experience a deeper connection. If your partner is a movie buff or TV show fanatic, gift them a year’s subscription to a streaming service, so you’ll never run out of things to binge-watch together.
A date night idea jar. For a more budget-friendly option, buy a pretty jar and fill it with date night ideas you can enjoy together in the future. Every week, your partner can pick an idea from the jar for the two of you to enjoy together. If you need some date night inspiration, we’ve got you covered — from cheap date night ideas to weeknight date ideas, or last-minute date ideas.
If your partner’s love language is ‘acts of service’, they value when you go out of your way to make their life easier. Small gestures like making them coffee in the morning, walking their dog, or picking up their dry cleaning may seem trivial to you but can mean the world to them.
Think of a chore or task they hate doing or have no time to check off their to-do list and take care of it for them. Not only will it lighten their load, but it will also show that you notice their needs.
Professional cleaning for their home. Hire cleaners to do a one-off deep clean or book several visits so your partner doesn’t have to worry about house chores.
A beautiful breakfast tray. Buy a breakfast tray with foldable legs, or one of those with a pillow underneath, so you can surprise your partner with breakfast in bed. This is also great if their secondary love language is ‘quality time’ — two birds with one stone!
A meal prep subscription. This is especially good for those who don’t enjoy cooking, or simply don’t have the time.
Storage solutions or a tech charging station. Neither sounds very romantic, but we assure you that if your partner is a fan of the Kon-Mari method, any type of organizing tool will make their life that much easier. Just go for something that fits their aesthetic or home decor.
Car detailing service. Does your partner adore their car? Help them keep it in the best possible condition with a thorough cleaning.
This love language is all about physical affection — hugs, kisses, holding hands, and PDA. Being physically present for someone with this love language isn’t just about sex, rather it’s about fostering a sense of security and belonging.
If your partner’s love language is ‘physical touch’, opt for gifts that stimulate physical sensations, such as:
Lingerie or luxurious pajamas. Whether you go for something sexy or comfy, pick something to enjoy next time you snuggle in bed together.
Weighted blanket. Perfect for when you’re apart but your partner wants to feel held.
Body oil. This is something they can enjoy as part of their self-care routine or something you can use while giving them a massage.
Silk pillowcases. Help them have a restful slumber with a set of sumptuous silk pillowcases and a lavender pillow spray.
Sex toys. This one doesn’t need much explaining — pick a toy you can enjoy as a couple and let the good times roll.
The adage “actions speak louder than words” doesn’t ring true for everyone. If your partner’s love language is ‘words of affirmation’, it means they cherish verbal acknowledgments of affection and appreciation the most. Regular compliments, hearing “I love you”, and genuine words of encouragement are the best way to show them you care.
If writing them a love song isn’t an option, below are five alternative gift options. Whatever you gift them, though, remember to include a heartfelt, hand-written card.
A membership to Paired Premium. The Paired app has an endless library of daily questions, games, quizzes, and exercises for couples to feel more connected. What better way to show your partner you love them than by doing something for your relationship every day?
A journal. If ‘words of affirmation’ is your partner’s love language, why not gift them a space to express their own words? If you want to make it even more special, write your partner a love note on the first page.
Engraved jewelry. If you want to get your partner something sparkly but tailor it to their love language, have a piece of jewelry engraved with a love message.
Gratitude jar. For a more DIY option, thrift a beautiful jar at your local Goodwill and fill it with small, hand-written notes that tell your partner what you love and appreciate about them.
A book of love letters or poems. There are dozens of great love anthologies, but you can’t go wrong with Love Letters of Great Men, as made famous by the Sex and the City movie.
For people whose love language is ‘receiving gifts’, it really is the thought that counts. This love language is often confused with materialism, but it’s much more than that — and don’t be fooled into thinking that your partner will be easy to shop for. If your partner’s love language is ‘receiving gifts’, it means they value tokens of appreciation big and small.
While it’s true that you could technically gift your partner any of the above 15 present ideas (if you think they’d like them), below are some more gift options tailored to this love language.
12 days of Christmas. No, you don’t need to buy a partridge in a pear tree. In the lead-up to Christmas, surprise your partner with 12 individual gifts. If you need inspiration, think about something they need, something they want, something that would make them laugh, and something that reminds you of them.
A subscription box. Think of something your partner loves — chocolate, cheese, books, puzzles, etc — and gift them a subscription service to that thing so they receive it once a month. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving.
A "care package". You don’t need to be in a long-distance relationship to opt for this gift idea. Fill a basket with all of your partner's fave things, ranging from snacks or drinks to beauty products or knick-knacks. Have they mentioned they wanted something throughout the year but never bought it for themselves? Add it to the basket!
A gift card. Some people find gift cards a lazy option, but if your partner is difficult to shop for, has a particular taste, or a penchant for exchanging gifts, a (generous) gift card to their favorite store shows that you know what they like, and you also know they like to pick their own presents.
A memento of your relationship. Admittedly, this gift idea is a little vague, but hear us out. This love language is all about the effort and meaning behind a present, so think back to a memory you shared, an inside joke you have, or the first time you met, and gift them something related to that. It could be a framed poster of the first photo you took together, a hoodie with your nickname for them embroidered, or a surprise dinner to where you had your first date.
At the end of the day, the holidays are a chance to grow closer as a couple and get closer to the people you love — regardless of your love languages or what you gift each other. If you want to learn how to navigate the holidays as a couple, or create a deeper bond with your partner this festive season, download the Paired app.
This holiday season, Paired can help you to strengthen your relationship with your partner thanks to seasonal exercises, questions, quizzes, and games expertly designed to deepen your connection.