FAIL-SAFE GIRL GIFTS: SENTIMENTAL IDEAS

Fact: Girls are suckers for sentimental gifts. Anything warm and fuzzy, cloaked in feelings or generally high on the sappiness scale is usually a winner. So, if your girl fits this bill, there are dozens of clever gift options to ponder.

And, since I’ve basically become your friendly (or snarky, whatever) holiday advice elf, I’ve boiled it down to three contenders for you. Seriously – even I’m getting sick of talking about this stuff. If you can’t wrap up something stellar after all of my suggestions from this past week, you may very well be beyond help. (I’m kidding, there’s no such thing as a lost cause, boys – keep the faith).

First up we have an addendum to the jewelry list, whereby you buy her a single pearl on a necklace – the idea being that you can add a pearl each year (or each special occasion) to help her complete the strand over time. I’m sure that your local jeweler would be able to help facilitate starting this, or knows of a participating retailer who can.

Or else you can just go the Internet route and hit up a site like Add A Pearl to suit your needs. You can choose from cultured or natural pearls, length of strand, bracelet vs. necklace or opt for the charm bracelet route and add trinkets from the memories you’ve accumulated together.

Perfect for: Any female who likes jewelry or public displays of the emotional kind. Dating timeline appropriateness: This one’s tricky – if you know for 100% certain that she’s The One and you’re going to keep her around (and vice versa, for what it’s worth) then you can start this strand early on. Otherwise keep it for a well-established partnership, lest she feel like you’re jumping the gun.

What it says about you: Listen carefully men, this is the single most important message a woman can hear from you: “I’m going to stick around.” Knowing that you and your affection aren’t going to pull a disappearing act, or that you’re in it for the long haul, are very appealing notions to us. You may score more points from the, “I love you and I’m not changing my mind,” message than from the actual gift itself, it’s that powerful. 

On a less expensive (but equally thoughtful) note, you can also gift her with a recap of your love by giving her the book “All About Us.” Begotten from it’s earlier book ancestor “All About Me,” this simple little journal comes with blank sections for you to fill in about your relationship.

You can sail right past dates and names-type detailed books, which are more of a cold record of your love than a genuinely insightful glimpse into who you are/what you mean to each other, this book is so much more.

With sections like, “If you could change one of your partner’s body parts which would it be?” (btw, play this one cautiously or else!) and other such playful nonsense, this gift is sure to please. Consider it romantic Mad Libs for adults, and consider her smitten once she opens it.

Perfect for: The woman with a sense of humor who wants to know these things but would never ask. Dating timeline appropriateness: So long as she’s been around long enough for you to know these little details (or you’ve spent enough time with her), you’ll be fine. What it says about you: I’m clever and creative – just give her something else along with it, a $10 gift on its own will raise some eyebrows.

Finally, may I suggest recreating a memory with her instead of creating a new one? If you took her to a cozy restaurant on your first date and ordered the risotto, take her back there. Remember the bottle of wine? Order it, too. Did she tell you what her favorite book was? Read her a passage. You get the idea. Whether it’s a composite of a bunch of small memories or just one moment’s accurate recreation, she’ll appreciate that it was meaningful to you, too.

Perfect for: Any woman with a pulse. Dating timeline appropriateness: Considering you need to have dated her long enough to have amassed this kind of nostalgia, you do the math. What it says about you: “I was paying attention all along.”

Have a girl gift idea you’d like to share? Just panicked because we’re getting down to the wire for your present exchange D-day? Email me, misswingman@gmail.com. I’ll do my best, and that’s all anyone can hope to ask. As always keep it right here for more Fail-Safe Girl Gifts for the Holidays, ho ho hope you like them.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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FAIL-SAFE GIRL GIFTS: SPA EDITION

Every girl likes to pamper herself from time to time. So why not give her the gift of indulgence this year? Spa gift certificates may not be the most original gift idea, but that doesn’t mean she’ll enjoy the services any less.

Generally speaking, a quick Google search will yield you tons of spa location options in your area. Or, you can always opt for a service like Spa Finder where your purchase one gift certificate that can be used at a variety of locations.

For the NYC girl, the undisputed champion of beauty and relaxation is The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental. Perched high atop Columbus Circle, this spa is the gold standard for everything from massages and facials to sunless tanning. Though it’s swanky affiliation comes with a hefty price tag, as would be expected, she’ll have an experience she’ll never forget.

Another notable spa find in Manhattan is The Peninsula Spa. No less expensive than the Mandarin’s luxury services, but if you really want her to have the best, look no further than these two hotels.

For a slightly more affordable alternative, Bliss spa offers just about every single spa service a woman could ask for, plus they have multiple locations throughout the city (Soho, midtown).

With a menu that includes everything from facials designed solely for puckering up (I’m not lying, Fabulips treatment is a real thing, $35) to a massage aimed at soothing tired holiday shoppers’ legs, Bliss has it covered. Plus, their reputation in the waxing department precedes them, they’re geniuses in that, um…area.

So, whether she likes getting her nails done, her muscles kneaded or her pores rejuvenated, you can’t go wrong with the gift of beauty.

Perfect for: any girl who likes to treat herself well (and doesn’t mind a stranger giving her a body rub…) Dating timeline appropriateness: Any. You can’t put a time stamp on awesomeness, after all. What it says about you: That you want her to be treated like a queen – and no girl is going to argue with that.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

There are only three more days left of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts for the Holidays. Have a great idea? Share the wealth: misswingman@gmail.com.

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FAIL-SAFE GIRL GIFTS: CATCHING UP

Okay fine, so maybe the 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts is more like 10 Days (of 12 categories) now. Whatever. Sometimes Miss Wingman has a little too much fun on her weekends and needs to recover – apologies for the delay (but not the fun). Today’s suggestions are a mixed bag, but all make solid gift contenders.

First up we have sporty, physical activities for the girl who isn’t afraid to try something adventurous. So get out your sneakers and your belay ropes, boys, this one’s guaranteed to be a good time.

Indoor Rock Climbing: If you’re not fortunate enough to live in an area where you can do actual rock climbing outdoors (us city dwellers have to improvise), giving her a package at a place like Brooklyn Boulders is an excellent idea. This 20,000 sq ft urban playground located at 575 Degraw Street (at 3rd Ave) offers great gifting options and is open seven days a week.

Most cities have rock climbing facilities that include equipment rentals and a few lessons to boot, and Brooklyn Boulders is no different. Packages like Learn The Ropes cost $75 for two day passes, one equipment rental and a belay class for beginners. There is also a Learn To Boulder class ($45), or you can set her up with a membership for $120/month.

If you’re so inclined to take on the altitude as well, join her when she goes – activities like this are great at fostering trust and communication building among couples.

Or, if climbing isn’t her style, you could always opt for some high-flying alternatives. Trapeze School New York offers classes in flying and static trapeze stunts, silks, balancing/acrobatics and even trampoline instruction. Is there anything better than that?

Chelsea Piers also offers a variety of sports-related activities you could purchase in advance, like golf packages, adult Parkour instruction (really, they do), batting cage rental or even sailing school. Check their website for gift package ideas – and check out the endless options for fun.

Perfect for: Any woman who likes to move (and kick a little ass). Dating timeline appropriateness: Any. You can do something small cost-wise or something loftier, but all of these just say “fun” – so don’t worry about commitment issues or strings attached. What it says about you: That you, in a word, rock (pun intended).

If she prefers a more sedentary lifestyle, you can always opt for a gift that keeps on giving all year long, like a subscription to her favorite magazine or a membership to a wine of the month club. Magazine subscriptions may seem impersonal, but really they’re a guilty pleasure that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves if we’re being cost-conscious these days. Plus, whether she’s into US Weekly or The Economist, every girl loves getting something in her mailbox that isn’t a bill from time to time.

Wine clubs are another solid way to give her a special treat (plus she’ll probably be uncorking those bottles and sharing them with you anyway, score!). Since sites vary in shipping costs, best values and best selection, check out services like Wine Club Guide and Wine Club Reviews to read up and compare before choosing which service is the best fit.

Perfect for: Any woman who likes to curl up with a good bottle and a blanket, or just the girl who likes to flip through the glossies in her free time (read: indoors girls). Dating timeline appropriateness: Any, unless you think that the subscription might outlast your relationship! What it says about you: I wanted to find a way to make you feel special all year long.

Finally, whether you can afford a vacation or just a stay-cation, altering her scenery is always a welcome change. Providing travel is expensive unless you utilize airline miles, car rental or hotel points (and even then, it’s still not free). If you can’t whisk her away to a tropical landscape, how about trying some place closer to home?

Lafayette House in NYC’s East Village is positively delightful. It’s cozy but still hip, and quaint enough to make you forget you’re still in the Big Apple. Room rates vary depending on booking dates and amenities but generally run $200 – $400 per night. Check out their thoroughly charming website for photos and booking information.

Perfect for: Any female. Literally – any female. Dating timeline appropriateness: Flexible. So long as you’ve spent the night together somewhere else (or even if you haven’t), it’s a fun little escape from the ordinary. Plus, you get fresh towels and swankier digs. What it says about you: I like you enough to want to keep you all to myself for a night or two.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

Gift ideas? Send them to misswingman@gmail.com.

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