On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Christmas is a prime time of year to show your partner exactly how much you care. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the time to lavish extravagant gifts on your partner, in fact, the value of a well-thought present is often far greater than an excessive or clichéd offering, as the perfect gift can reveal a lot more about your relationship.

Dr. Gian Gonzaga, a senior research scientist at the Pasadena-based eHarmony research labs, advises that the gift you give your partner can mean so much more than an on-the-surface level exchange of tokens of your affection. He notes that “when you pick the right gift it can show your partner how in tune you are with them and your relationship and signal that you understand what they like and want.” This is crucial for the formation of any lasting relationship as “understanding is one of the major pillars of creating intimacy in a relationship and an indicator of how good a partner you are across the long haul, therefore the gift you give should reflect how well you understand your partner and your relationship.” Yet according to Dr. Gonzaga and the UK branch of the eHarmony online dating service, eHarmony.co.uk, there is a way to make sure that your gift this Christmas will say all the right things to your long-term soul mate or prospective partner.

Putting the science back into couple compatibility and the spark back into just about any relationship, eHarmony.co.uk has prepared the following suggestions for finding the ideal gift for your partner. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or things are just getting started for colleagues or friends dating, the process of gift giving is a crucial moment to express what you truly feel about a person. Luckily enough, it’s fairly straightforward to pick out a perfect present, if you consider these four simple steps:

  1. Plan: While “last-minute” might be the buzzwords for booking cheap hotel accommodation for a romantic weekend away, they don’t make for stress-free and productive Christmas shopping. Leave your Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve, and you’ll only be stuck in the frantic crowds and possibly left with the last thing on the shelf. Nothing says thoughtless like a last-minute gift, and that’s not the signal you want to give off with your Christmas gift.
  2. Pay attention: Listen to what your partner is saying, especially when they express an interest in something in the months or weeks before Christmas, and you’ll be surprised how often they let slip a mention of something they really want – and even before they’ve realised they want it! Just make the effort to commit it to memory, and your partner will be pleased that you’ve shown such an interest. Even the most selfless person gives off hints of what they’d like for themselves, which brings us to the next point…
  3. Be selfless: We’re not talking any high and mighty concept here, but just a plain and simple suggestion for gift giving. Don’t get something that you’d secretly like to use later down the track! It’s not about buying a gift for yourself, but for someone else, and keep in mind their interests, likes, or needs when purchasing the gift.
  4. Go the extra mile: Be creative in what you’re offering, and your thoughtfulness will be recognised. Unique gifts stand out in people’s minds and memories, and a handmade or innovative gift will be the type of gift that’s remembered forever. It can also be surprising how easy it is to track down a particularly rare or creative present these days, thanks to the internet. Ordering limited release or international versions of books or music is simple if you’re organised in time, and you’re able to cater your choice to pick something special rather than something ordinary or everyday. Your efforts will be appreciated and your relationship stronger as a result.