Gifts for Couples
We all know it’s hard enough to shop for one person. But choosing a gift that strikes a balance between thoughtfulness and practicality can be a real challenge when it comes to couples. The key is to make sure you go with items that take into account the couple’s shared interests. (If she’s a voracious reader but he prefers gaming, don’t get them a pile of the year’s bestsellers). Below we’ve assembled a bunch of items for couples who have shared passions. Do they both like to drink coffee? We have a cool coffee maker that doubles as a countertop statement piece when not in use. Or, if they prefer to spend Friday night sharing a bottle of wine, try the genius portable wine carrier turned serving tray (for cheese and crackers, perhaps?). If they love their dog, you could opt for the personalized doormat, which features their initials along with those of their pets. And if it’s their first holiday season together, a classic keepsake ornament is a special and not-too-sentimental gift. If they are newly cohabiting, there are lots of ideas to spruce up their home together. Browse through our selections for plenty of gifting inspiration. These couple gifts are fun and surprising, without feeling cheesy. If they ask how you ever came up with these clever ideas, we’ll let you take all the credit. And, if you want to put a few of these in your cart to keep for you and your significant other? Well, that’s OK too.
Hex Wine Rack
Promote their wine collection from a cupboard hidden away or a disorganized hodgepodge on the counter—this piece will transform even a few bottles of three-buck chuck into statement piece status. Made of iron with a metallic gold finish, the rack can hold six bottles, each in hexagon (yes, that’s six sides, if you’re noticing a theme) shape. It would look lovely on a countertop, full or not. They could also place it out on a buffet table during a party. Bonus points if you give a few bottles to start them off. Six bottles will earn you friend of the year status.
To buy: $68, domino.com.
Bodum Pebo Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker
Shopping for a couple of coffee lovers? Elevate their everyday pot with this high-design pick, which looks a little like something out of a science lab. The coffee pot itself is actually a siphon brewer, an old technique that’s been making a comeback—it works through the expansion and contraction of the water vapor inside as it heats up (check out a cool little explainer on the process here), making it a fun process to watch while you’re waiting for that caffeine fix. Package it with a bag of coffee, if you'd like, or with two of the mugs from our mug gift guide.
To buy: $80, crateandbarrel.com.
For the ultimate entertainers—or the couple who likes to transform everyday dinners into celebrations. These fun placemats are actually chalkboards. Use them to display the night’s menu, information about the food you’re eating, a message for your diners, or even place cards. Another idea? They can let guests make their own designs—like an upgraded, more adult version of the coloring book placemats of yesteryear (we want to be invited to that dinner party, please!). If you love the idea, you can order yourself a set of the blackboard coasters, as well. Chalk is not included.
To buy: $32 for four, uncommongoods.com.
DIY Bitters Set
Cocktail bitters are a must-have for any well-stocked bar—just one well-placed drop can transform a humdrum two-ingredient drink into a restaurant-worthy craft cocktail. But did you know you could DIY your own? Create a fun date night activity—making homemade bitters from scratch—that the couple can use in the future. This kit starts with a bitter grapefruit, and ends with citrus bitters that have a hint of spice. If they have fun with the project, future gifts can include the DIY tonic water kit or even the homemade gin kit. We suggest you start inviting yourself over to this couple’s home for drinks—stat.
To buy: $48, food52.com.
2016 Ceramic Ornament, Our First Christmas
Do you know a couple that got married sometime in the past year? No matter how long they’ve been together, everything that follows will feel like a first again: the first birthdays, the first Fall, the first Thanksgiving, and, of course, the first holiday season as a married couple. If they celebrate Christmas, mark the occasion with this sophisticated ornament. Printed with a heart and the year on one side, and “Our first Christmas” on the other, the white and gold palette should mix with any tree’s color scheme. We suggest packaging with a wedding photo—perhaps in a coordinating gold frame—for a truly thoughtful gift.
To buy: $20, markandgraham.com.
You Are the Rocks Cocktail Glasses Set
For the couple that goes together like, well, gin and tonic. If they like to indulge in the after-work or weekend cocktail (or three), this set would be a fun addition to their bar collection. Each glass is printed with a playful saying: “you are the gin to my tonic,” and “you are the vodka to my soda.” What sentiment could be more romantic than that? Looking for a slightly bigger gift? Package the glasses with a bottle of gin or vodka—or a bottle of each. Bonus points for including some tonic and soda, too.
To buy: $16, urbanoutfitters.com.
Couples Door Mat
Upgrade their regular old doormat with this personalized find, which celebrates every member of the family—including the four-legged ones. The couple’s initials go at the top, under a heart, while each pet fits underneath, next to a paw print. The seller offers many variations for different family sizes and combinations. That mat is crafted from coir fiber for durability (to take all the feet- and paw-wiping) and measures 35 inches by 25 inches. Since this gift is totally customized, it takes one to two weeks to produce—keep that in mind when ordering to time your gifts.
To buy: $54, justsmilealways.etsy.com.
BYO bonfire, anyone? This portable, single use log can be lit with a single match—and it stays crackling for about an hour and a half. You can use it outdoors or even indoors, inside a fireplace, which means the couple can create a fun date in either locale—maybe a sunset hike without the hassle of building a hike or an evening trip to a (bonfire-permitted) beach (it’s equipped with a braided handle to make it easy to carry). Or they can throw it in the fireplace for a mess-free movie night in when the weather feels just too cold to go out. Instant romantic ambience.
To buy: $28, shopterrain.com.
Cubist Wall Shelf
Have they recently moved into a new place? Or maybe they’re still looking for design elements to make their space feel like… well, theirs. Try giving them this geometric shelf. They can hang it on a wall or place it on the floor, and then fill it with a combination of objets de art that fuse both of their personalities. If it’s in the office, it could have a few favorite books, a vintage phone, or even some desk supplies. Or in the living room, maybe a plant, a vase, and something that reminds them of a favorite trip together. The piece itself is both interesting but simple enough to frame what’s inside.
To buy: $50, domino.com.
Convertible Wine Bottle Carrier and Serving Tray
You can pretty much never go wrong with giving a bottle of wine. But if you want a little something more to take it from hostess gift to full-on present, package a bottle in this two-in-one wine carrier/serving tray hybrid. It serves as a lovely presentation for your gift (bow optional), and then your recipients can feel free to open it up to serve appetizers or drinks for the party if they’d like. They can use it in the future to tote wine to the park for an al fresco meal, and then serve snacks without risking touching the ground. Sorry to say, but the wine is not included.
To buy: $30, uncommongoods.com.
59-Piece Total Kitchen Set
Shopping for a couple that’s looking to start cooking more together—but doesn’t know where to begin? Kick start their new hobby with this 59-piece (!) total kitchen set, which includes everything from pans and utensils to measuring cups and a mixing bowl to the ever-important ice cream scoop. It even contains a 12-inch round pizza pan and pizza cutter for any future pizza nights. Package with a few new cookbooks or, even better, write out some of your own favorite standby recipes on some cards and put them together in a book to get them started. Instant thoughtfulness.
To buy: $119, urbanoutfitters.com.
Penguin Cocktail Shaker
Who ever said cocktail shakers couldn’t have personality? This penguin is ready to get to work, mixing up delicious drinks. Dressed up in a tuxedo—bowtie and all—he’d make a great addition to any bar cart or festive party table. Plus, he’d even look nice sitting out on a bookshelf after the merriment is over. He stands just under 10 inches tall in a stylish stainless steel. Can’t get enough? We have good news: there’s a matching (fatter) penguin ice bucket, too, so you can create a little penguin family on your bar. Or you could opt for the rocket cocktail shaker instead.
To buy: $30, domino.com.
Wine: A No Snob Guide: Drink Outside the Box
For the couple that loves to drink and learn about wine, but who haven’t yet reached expert status, this paperback is both approachable and informative. From the history of winemaking (did you know the first recorded history dates as far back as 6,000 B.C.?) to tips on how to confidently shop for and order wine, the book is packed with both interesting dinner party factoids (perhaps to share over a glass of wine) and service-heavy advice. Of course, it’s probably best given with a bottle of wine—we won’t blame you if you sneak a peak inside for some advice on how to choose a good one.
To buy: $13, amazon.com.
Roll Up Checkers
Hunting for the perfect gift for a couple of game lovers? This fun, portable backgammon and checkers set is both practical and beautiful, with handsome details like natural cotton canvas material, wooden game pieces, and a leather drawstring to tie it all up. They can roll it together to take it to play on the beach, at the park, or just to the backyard at the next family get together. When the days (finally) warm back up, we predict many game days in their future. It can even be hand washed, so they don’t have to stress about taking it outside, where things can inevitably get a little messy.
To buy: $58, domino.com.
Pop! Champagne Chocolate Box
Not much can beat a bottle of sparkling wine, but this box of wine-inspired chocolates comes close. These creative sweets are great for the couple that’s celebrating a big milestone (a recent wedding, anniversary, or perhaps a baby on the way?). The box includes a “champagne bottle,” made of white chocolate, and two dark chocolate corks, plus some milk chocolate lips, three chocolate gemstones, and a white chocolate speech bubble (appropriately) printed with the word “pop!” While these chocolates may look good enough to drink, they don’t actually contain any alcohol, so either of you can still drive home.
To buy: $38, domino.com.
Eureka! A new take on the “his and hers” gift that the science geeks in your life are sure to swoon over. Each pillow is screen-printed with a graphic representation of the human genome. Felt appliques—pink for her and blue for him—indicate the XX or the XY chromosome that differentiates the sexes. Each pillow, measuring 12-by-12 inches, is the ideal size for an armchair. If they have a set of two, one on each would look great. Or, place the pair together on a loveseat. When they need to be cleaned, a spin in the washing machine will do (just be sure to air dry).
To buy: $35 each, uncommongoods.com.
‘You Wash, I’ll Dry’ Dishtowels
Divvying up the household duties has never been easier—well, sort of. We really can’t promise the directives on these tea towels will motivate your partner to do his or her fair share. This set of cheeky dish towels (made from 100 percent soft cotton flour sacks) helps delegate the dreaded after-dinner task of washing all of those dirty dishes. Toss the set in the washing machine when the work is done. This makes a particularly good gift for the couple that’s just reached some sort of milestone, like a marriage or a new home.
To buy: $20 for two, zcreatedesign.etsy.com.
‘Things You Must Do to Make Me Happy’ Pad
Encourage a little friendly communication between the two love birds, because, well, everything isn’t always perfect and a little more friendly dialogue can never hurt. Equipped with this snarky pad of paper, each partner will have the opportunity to spell out exactly what they need from the other person in order to be—and stay—happy. The long list of requests range from daily behavior (Listen!) to household duties (turn off the TV) to the emotional (soothe my inner child) to the romantic (kiss me with tongue) to the totally—but maybe not completely—outrageous (tattoo my name on your arm).
To buy: $7, knockknockstuff.com.
‘Mine’ and ‘Yours’ Highball Glasses
Sure, she may be partial to the pinot, while he sticks to scotch. But when both partners are drinking the same cocktail, these etched glasses (one says “mine” and the other says “yours”) leave no question as to whose is whose. In addition to the beautiful etching, the recipient will love how heavy these cups feel in their hands—it makes whatever they’re drinking feel that much more special. The solid glass holds up to 16 ounces and is dishwasher safe. Now that’s something to cheers to. Also available in a “his” and “his” and “hers” and “hers” version.
To buy: $50 for two, bedbathandbeyond.com.
His and Her Diamond Boxes
Any married couple will appreciate a docking station for their wedding rings, and these wooden diamond boxes from MOCA provide the perfect resting place. Each beechwood box is secured via magnet, and rests nicely on either its side or its top. The boxes are offered in two colors, black and a neutral wood, but we suggest you opt for both—one for him and one for her—so they can tell them apart. The artful and functional objet will look great no matter where they put it, but we suggest their bedside table or atop a bedroom dresser.
To buy: $15 each, amazon.com.
Do they spend their nights huddled around the tablet, streaming their favorite Netflix movies or bingeing on old favorites on Hulu? This handmade wood-and-steel iPad stand from Austin-based Petrified Design will prop up their screen in style. Or maybe they look forward to Friday night when they get the chance to try a new recipe together? It also works well as a “cookbook” stand in the kitchen when cooking from an online recipe. A wooden slip ensures the tablet won’t slip from the stand’s grip. The six-inch-by-four-inch stand comes in five bold colors: melon yellow, sky blue, mint, red, and white.
To buy: $48, petrifieddesign.etsy.com.
North Ave Candles' Banned Books Collection
This booze-infused candle from Pittsburgh-based North Ave Candles features spirits-inspired aromas that are inspired by literature. To wit: Gin, Juniper and Daisy (juniper leaves with hints of tart green apple, rosemary, and subtle floral notes of daisy and jasmine) is inspired by The Great Gatsby, and Bourbon and Tobacco (bourbon and its caramel undertones, hint of vanilla, and a sweet, woodsy scent of tobacco flower and mahogany) pays homage to The Catcher in the Rye. Each 12-ounce candle burns for more than 70 hours and they come in a matching gift box with fun trivia about the corresponding book.
To buy: $22, northavecandles.etsy.com.
Every couple needs a place to park their keys; a valet tray by the door is an easy and stylish fix. This copper tray can hold multiple key sets as well as a watch, change, or even a stack of unopened mail. Place it on top of a dresser and fill with jewelry and other essentials, in an office to corral pens and sticky notes, or even in a bathroom to house extra rolls of toilet paper or other grooming essentials. Personalize the shiny 100 percent copper tray with their initial or monogram for no extra charge.
To buy: $49, markandgraham.com.
Best Friend Sanctuary
Friends with a couple of animal lovers? Sponsor a rescue on their behalf at the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah. The vast shelter takes in all manner of neglected, injured, or otherwise needy pets; choose from adorable animals like Hugo the bloodhound, Joseph the goat, Cowboy the horse, or Cherry the pig. You can even sponsor more unusual animals, like Echo the red-tailed hawk, Joseph the Nubian wether, or Wild Bill the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo. Each recipient will receive an e-card (contact the organization for a card via snail mail) that details his or her animal’s story. Of course, if they’re passionate about another cause, you could always choose another charity.
To sponsor: Go to bestfriends.org.
Serving pieces don’t usually become conversation pieces, but this artful decanter is a different story. The eye-catching glass container features a stainless steel base and dramatic curves that allow the wine to breathe. The wine is gently aerated over and over as it travels down the spiralized vessel. Your vino-loving friends—and their guests—will be suitably impressed. Available in two sizes: 12.7 ounces and 25 ounces. If your loved ones have been known to indulge, opt for the larger size, which can accommodate the entire bottle. Because of its delicate nature, just remind your friends to hand wash this one.
To buy: From $30, uncommongoods.com.
“Be Present” Home Print
Art is subjective, but some truths are universal. The “Be Present” print from Ampersand Studio is the perfect gift for a couple just moving into their first home or apartment—or, really, any couple who is often looking at their phones rather than talking to each other about their days. The simple typography and calming message are timeless and the archival print paper guarantees it’ll last as long as the mortgage. The 16-by-20-inch print, which is made in Kansas City, comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose the one that’s just right for their home.
To buy: $40, shopampersand.etsy.com.
Meyer Lemon Tree
Gift them a three-year-old dwarf bare-root Meyer lemon tree grown in the United States. The organic sapling arrives at approximately 18- to 24-inches high, and comes pre-planted in damp wood shavings and wrapped in plastic. The tree, which produces sweeter, juicier, and more fragrant lemons, is ideal for indoor growing—in all areas of the country (though it does require full sun to flourish). In adequate conditions, the tree should flower in the spring and fall, and produce fruit in the winter and summer. The tree’s fragrant flowers should tide recipients over until it bears fruit.
To buy: $70, williams-sonoma.com.