Everyone loves getting presents, and when you are in a long distance relationship presents can become even more meaningful. During my long distance dating days I sent and received my fair share of gifts. The most creative present I got, however, came from the man who is now my husband.
I turned 32 a couple of months after we started dating. At that stage, Mike was still living in a small town in Papua New Guinea. As a humanitarian worker, he regularly spent weeks at a time in villages that didn’t even have running water, much less a working phone line. I was living in Los Angeles. I wrote about Mike’s birthday present to me that year in my memoir, Love At The Speed Of Email.Three weeks later, on my birthday, Mike was out in the field again. But I did have a birthday present to open that morning when I woke up. He had sent me a billum (a woven bag used by villagers in PNG to carry everything from vegetables to babies) and a CD full of photographs. This wasn’t just any billum. Mike had clearly gone to some trouble to find the most outrageously ugly bright red, pink and orange billum in existence. Then he’d carried this billum with him everywhere for several weeks, taking pictures along the way to demonstrate everything I could do with this most useful of gifts. The billum had sat beside Mike on the porch of his house. It had been slung over his shoulder while he went jogging, snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and did sunrise yoga. The billum had accompanied Mike to the office, the markets, and on Skype dates. The billum had even taken showers under the drain spout. The last photo on the disk showed Mike, the billum, and a handwritten happy-birthday sign with a big red heart on it…
When you’re far away from the one you love, sending and receiving gifts can be a tangible way of showing your love across the miles. Receiving a gift from my long distance love – even just a little one – could lift my spirits and make me smile for days.
However, it can be hard to think of good gifts to give your loved one when you’re in a long distance relationship, especially if those gifts have to be mailed across oceans! Whenever I was in a long distance relationship myself, I was always on the lookout for portable, meaningful or travel-related presents that might suit.
I’ll write more about portable and travel-related gifts in the future. Today, however, in keeping with Mike’s focus on the artistic (and I use that word very loosely) I thought I’d share five funky art-related gifts that might be meaningful to those in long distance relationships.
1. Creatively use your co-ordinates
Some of my favorite long distance related gifts use a couples co-ordinates. There are lots of different ways you can use your respective co-ordinates. One of those is on a print or another piece of art. One classy option is sold by DefineDesign11 on Etsy.
2. Long distance love poem or message in a bottle[pullquote_right]”i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere)”
e.e.cummings[/pullquote_right]With a little bit of creativity you could make this up yourself, but if you’re short on time and inspiration, check out Message In A Bottle or browse Etsy to get some more ideas. This listing on Etsy, for example, packages a beautiful e.e.cummings poetry fragment into a small “bottle” necklace.
Google “long distance art” and see what pops up. When I was browsing around, one thing that I filed away for future reference was this statement of hope that all of us in LDRs need to hang onto extra-hard at some point. There are lots of other options out there!
4. A personalized map
What about customizing a world map with your locations? This is another one you could easily make yourself, but there are also plenty of artists and printers out there happy to help you out. PaperPlanePrints, for example, creates a variety of customized maps, including this one.
5. Long distance relationship pillowcases
This last one is really stretching the definition of art, I know, but they do have something drawn on them. Again, there are probably multiple options out there, but one place to start browsing is BoldLoft‘s “Say I Love You” couples pillowcases.
There you have them – five funky art gifts to get you started thinking about how you could creatively surprise your sweetheart. We’ve only scratched the surface of this topic of gifts, I know, and I’d love to hear from you on this. Leave us a comment and let us know …