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Tell them why you love them
Love them? Tell them why! There are so many ways to do this. If you’re on a budget, get creative. Perhaps make a list of reasons you love them and things you admire about them using the alphabet. For A, you might write “you Appreciate other people”, etc.
If you’re looking for something a little more polished, check out LoveBook Online. Totally customizable, these books let you list all the reasons why you love someone and illustrate your words with casually cute stick figures.
Stuck for what to say? Check out these books of questions and prompts to help you get rolling:
Make them laugh
Add your face into a hilarious e-card and dance your way into their heart without even having to shake your own hips.
JibJab allows you to personalize e-cards for every occasion. And most of them are so ridiculous you can’t help laughing. You can even put your face on a (totally goofy) striptease. Better yet, you could put theirs.
Send them a box full of love and joy
Fill a NoteCube with wonderful things that will warm their heart when you’re not there to warm them up in other ways. Notes can be related to anything you want–reasons why you love them, good memories, kind words, future promises, inside jokes, and favorite quotes. Your imagination is the only limit, and it’s easy to get friends and family to submit a note too, which can make your NoteCube even more special!
NoteCube was founded by siblings after they filled a box with sixty years of memories for their Mom’s 60th. She loved it so much they figured others would too. This makes a fantastic, classy LDR gift they’ll treasure forever.
Remember in grade school when friendship necklaces featuring two pieces of a heart that fit together like a puzzle were all the rage? No? OK, well, maybe you weren’t a little girl in the 80’s. My bad. The point is, you can now now get some more sophisticated options along similar lines. BoldLoft sells a whole range of “halved” products – from tee shirts to mugs to pillow cases, and some even have a specific LDR themes. My favorite? Their “No Matter The Miles” design.
Send a bunch of happiness
Sending flowers is a classic gesture that never goes out of style. A bunch of roses might not quite cut it on birthdays or Christmas, but flowers are the perfect “just because” gift. Classy, cheerful, and fragrant.
You have plenty of options when it comes to shipping flowers, but I recommend VIVAROSES. There is a wonderful love story behind these family-farmed roses, as well. (Use my code, MLD15, to save 15% on gorgeous roses at VivaRoses.com!).
If you’re looking for something a bit different than flowers, have a bouquet of helium balloons delivered. A dozen helium balloons really brighten up a room.
Create Open-When notes
This is a gift that keeps giving for days, maybe weeks. It’s also a budget option! All you really need to create Open When letters is some stationary, some envelopes, and a pen.
However, if you want to take it up a level or two in the class department, check out KindNotes. They let you fill a glass jar or tin with personal notes and customize the colors, trim, and packaging. This is gorgeous, classy, AND personal. Can’t go wrong.
Lighten their (book) load
Five years ago, I was a die-hard book person. I loved reading, but I was convinced the old-fashioned, actual-book way was best. Then my sister bought me my first kindle as a present.
I won’t lie, I wasn’t initially thrilled. But-oh-boy, was I ever converted quickly (as in, overnight). Now I would say it was one of the best presents I’ve ever received and I will never go back. It’s one of those gifts that literally changes your life.
I still love having some books on shelves, but I much prefer to read on my kindle. It’s lighter, portable, and easier on my eyes. Plus I can get new books instantly (no waiting!! If only we could download our SO’s like that, am I right?) Anyway, LOVE kindles. We have four in this family, and the one I recommend is the paperwhite.
And if you decide to give someone a kindle, spring for a cover as well. I love this one.
Use those happy snaps
Did you know that remembering the good times you’ve had makes you happier in life? If you’ve been together a while you probably have lots of photos of the two of you having fun together. Why not pull some of these together to create a highlights reel of happy memories?
You can do this the old-fashioned way–with a blank notebook, a bunch of photos, and a glue-stick. Or you can save some time and check out Custom Photo Books at Mixbook. MixBook allows you to create classy photo books and other gifts (calendars, cards etc) quickly and easily. They can also print your photos onto canvas and stretch them for easy hanging.
If a “photo book” is not your thing, think about buying them an electronic photo frame and loading it up with happy snaps. I did this last Christmas. Here’s a link to the frame I chose.
And while we’re talking photos, if they love to take photos, check out this set of 7 retina lenses they can use with their iPhone. Perfect for avid-snappers who travel.
Plan to play
While we’re talking about fun and games during your next visit…
Games!! Board games are so totally overlooked as gifts. They are literally hours of fun in a box. Here are my picks for games for couples. And as a bonus, many of these have online versions, so you can learn the game when you’re together, and then play online when you’re not. Here are some awesome options to choose from:
A stiff drink
Two friends have given me lovely coffee mugs during the last year, and you know what? I think of those friends every time I use their gifts. Coffee mugs are a practical way to stay on someone’s mind and subtly remind them that they need and want you even more than they need and want that first cup of coffee in the morning. Check out these sweet options…
There’s a lot of cheesy LDR jewelry out there, but some of the jewelry and art that uses co-ordinates manages to look classy and also be meaningful. Some of my favorites are latitude/longitude bracelets Check out these awesome options using co-ordinates or your initials on Etsy (image shown is bracelet by MensGift).
If you’re not into numbers there are stacks of other LDR jewelry options. If you’re really committed to relationship-themed jewelry, I liked the look of all of these options, especially the cuff bracelet and the floating heart necklace. Cuff bracelet shown.
Tell them their fortune
This silver plated fortune cookie is hinged, allowing you to put your own message or fortune inside.
This would be the perfect sweet token to pass back and forth on visits–take it with you when you go and see them, then leave it hidden somewhere with a sweet message inside. On their next visit to you they can do the same.
Sing them sweet songs of love
Make them a modern mixtape that has all the old-fashioned romantic glamour of the old-school ones! This creative retro cassette flash drive gives you that throw-back feel AND lets you load up to 2000 songs!!
Given you have room for 2000 songs, you really should include at least one LDR playlist on this gift. If you want some inspiration on that front, check out this article I wrote for LifeHack on 15 LDR Songs To Fit Every Mood.
Make it personal
Today, you can add monograms, messages, or personal photos to almost anything. Personalizing something is a fun way to add that special touch to something ordinary or useful. As an extra bonus, your present will remind your partner of you whenever they use it. There are plenty of companies who do this. My picks from Zazzle for personal, practical, and fun?
- Photo collage bowl (good for everything from cereal to an extra large cup of coffee)
- Personalized notebook
- Custom Love Wedding Photo Magnet (a bargain, and a good long distance relationship stocking stuffer)
- Personalized Photo & Monogram Dry Erase Board
- Customized Bath Set (toothbrush holder and soap dispenser)
- Personalized iPhone case
- A pair of “Miss You” mugs featuring your respective states in the U.S.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Yes, there are actually LDR-themed clothes out there that won’t make you cringe. Surprised? Yeah, I was too. Here are a couple of my faves. The “timing distance power” shirt (a nod to martial arts) or the grey missing her like crazy (pictured) could be a good choice for guys
The key to your heart
At first, a keychain may not seem like the most romantic of long distance relationship gifts. However, it is something your love will pick up and carry with them every day. And every time they use their keys, that’s an opportunity to remember how much you love them. Check out these fun options (compass keychain pictured)…
Show them the way home
Let’s leave aside the fact that not many of us actually know how to use a compass nowadays… the object itself still carries the aura of romance. It speaks of epic journeys, uncertainty, and navigating solo by the stars as you press on towards home–just you against the elements. Does that sounds like a long distance relationship to you?
Entertainment for the road
While we’re talking all things navigation and epic journeys, how about giving them something that can help fill those loooong hours on the back of a camel while they’re navigating by compass (OK, OK, those long hours on a plane or bus while they’re traveling to see you next.)
The 8-inch HD Amazon Fire Tablet is easily the best tablet you can buy for under $100. With it, you can surf the web or enjoy movies, TV shows, books, music, etc on the go. (And don’t forget to get a case for it, as well because it is WAY too easy to break your fave electronics when you’re on the go.)
Make the rest of the world fade away
Travel… gets old. Long lines, crowds, delays, and lots of noise all combine to make traveling stressful.
There’s not much you can do about the lines and crowds, but you can help control the noise. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can do a lot to make traveling more peaceful and less stressful. These ones work well and cost less than $100.
Get organized to hit the road
What else helps take the sting and stress out of packing, unpacking, and traveling? Help make their journey easier and more fun with these cool travel gifts:
- I’ve tried lots of different ways to pack my jewelry, but keep coming back to this simple drawstring case.
- The packing cubes are invaluable for helping a suitcase stay organized. Anyone who loves to stay neat and tidy will love these.
- This toiletries bag is one of the best I’ve ever used (and I’ve been through a few!)
- And in this e-age, this electronics cable organizer is a great travel tool.
A visit journal
What about something to capture a record of your visit. Surprise your loved one with a beautiful, leather-bound journal. This is one beautiful option.
Bring it with you on visits or trips and use it to write notes or letters to each other and/or keep a scrapbook of your experiences together.
If you each write one note to each other during every visit, it won’t be long before your little book will be overflowing with love and memories.
Give them an I-O-U
My family moved a lot while we were growing up, and receiving an IOU in place of an actual present became a bit of a family joke. However, I now believe that the IOU actually makes a good present if you use them to plan experiences. Research has shown that money can buy you happiness if you spend it in on moments, not stuff. So get thinking about the sorts of moments that make good long distance relationship gifts. What would be something special that you could do together during your next visit? A spa day with couples massages? Dinner out somewhere classy? Musical tickets? A hot air balloon ride?
If you want to take this gift to the next level, give them personal IOUs for all sorts of different moments (a half-hour massage given by you, a free pass out of cleaning up after a meal, etc). The possibilities are endless. And if you want to package this all up an an awww-worthy way, check out LoveCoups.
Tell them they mean the world to you
While we’re talking about the world, how about telling them they mean the world to you? Your love spans many miles (and, in some cases, the entire globe) so show them you love them “the world-over” with a globe-themed gift. Here are some fun options…
Or, tell them you love them to the moon and back
Aim for the stars and tell them you love them to the moon and back. Here are some of the less-cheesy options along these lines…
A countdown clock
You can set this clock to countdown to any specific date (i.e., your next visit!!). You can personalize this by creating your own design when you place your order. Or, you could leave it white and decorate it by hand when it comes. Think twice with this one. Some people will love it and others will find it pure torture.
Get all arty
There are some pretty fun and hip art pieces out there suited for LDR couples. Just like jewelry, some of my favorites use co-ordinates. One classy option (pictured right) is sold by DefineDesign11 on Etsy. Not your cup of tea? Check out some of the other options I’ve linked to below, or get searching. The internet is your oyster…
Make a difference with a KIVA card
Stuck for what to get your loved one? Why not give them happiness by helping them give to others? Research shows that doing something nice for someone else gives you a mood boost that lasts.
When you give a Kiva Card, you give someone else the chance to make a loan to a borrower who inspires them. When that loan is repaid, they can lend those funds again and again to make an even bigger difference. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!
Email is seriously awesome, but once it a while it’s fun to do things the old-fashioned way. When it comes to communication you can’t get much more old-fashioned than sending them a telegram.
Telegram Stop charges one flat rate to send a personal telegram anywhere in the world. At just over $7, this long distance relationship gifts option is both cute and cheap.
A ticket to ride
When you’re in a long distance relationship, time together is the best present you can get. Travel to see each other is a necessity, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a present, also. Consider buying a ticket for your love to come and see you (or a ticket for you to go and visit them). Take this gift to the next level by putting “glamming up” your gift announcement with personalized boarding passes. You can download instructions for DIY boarding passes here: