Long-distance Gifts: How to Choose that Perfect Going-away Present

About to enter an LDR but don’t know how to buy long-distance gifts for your bae? This is admittedly a harrowing time for you as a couple. The anguish of looking forward to nothing but zoom or skype calls in place of holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes alone is enough to push you over the edge. At a time like this, how do you even go about looking for long-distance gifts that are meaningful when you don’t even know what to expect once you’re apart? Here are some (hopefully) useful tips to help you zero in on that perfect going-away present for your soon-to-be long-distance sweetheart.

Be Practical Above All Else

What you DON’T want to do at a time like this is to be all mushy and forget that there’s a practical angle to consider when your lover is getting ready to travel. This is especially true if it’s an overseas flight. Remember that he or she is going to need the bulk of the baggage allowance for stuff they’ll actually need when they land at their destination. A 6-foot stuffed teddy bear might be a great romantic gesture but completely fails from a practical viewpoint.

The idea here is to get her (or him) something that can be stowed away conveniently for travel. When you use that perspective, it suddenly narrows down your search to essential items. What will he need during the first few days that he’s there? Will this help her create a home-like atmosphere at the guest house she’ll be staying at for the first two weeks? A new set of towels might be just the thing. Believe us, your girl will love you for being practical rather than sentimental at this crucial time. Even something like a digital photo frame with Wi-Fi that you can send new photos to over the Internet might be considered apt for the situation. It’ll help him feel like he never left home if you – and his closest family members – are able to send daily photos to keep his spirits up.

So, be practical and think “utility” rather than “romantic” or “sentimental.”

Long-distance Gifts to Trigger Fond Memories

This is another important consideration when looking for long-distance gifts, not just for your overseas lover but even family and friends who are going away for a while. The Wi-Fi photo frame is a really good idea in such instances. You can even have a custom-made calendar with you in various poses for each month. That’ll help trigger those fond memories whenever the receiver looks at the calendar. But make sure the photos are not too risqué since there might be others viewing it.

Caretakers for memory-impaired patients often suggest giving memory-triggering gifts on special occasions, so that’s something you can try as well. Such gifts are also called “sensory gifts” and use the five senses to trigger pleasant or positive memories in the receiver. Here are a few ideas to trigger memories based on the fetal sensory development sequence – tactile (touch) > chemical (taste and smell) > auditory (hearing) > visual (sight):

  • Touch – Touch-centric long-distance relationship gifts like the amazing friendship lamp or relationship touch lamp can trigger powerful emotions. Imagine two lamps set up in a way that if one is touched, the other lights up in a particular color of your choosing. When your long-distance lover or family member sees their lamp light up, they’ll immediately know you’re thinking of them. For you, the trigger is touch; for them, it’s sight. This will trigger the memory of you and all the good things you’ve done and experienced together. In turn, they can also touch their lamp when they want you to know they’re thinking of you.
  • Taste – It’s hard to get a gift associated with taste, but sending them a box of their favorite candy for the trip might just do the trick. Find out what they won’t be able to buy at their destination and give them a few boxes of that to last them a while. This approach to long-distance gifting is especially effective if both of you have something in common on that front. For instance, if there’s a particular brand of chocolate that both of you love, send along a few bars of that. Better yet, slip it into their check-in baggage without their knowledge so they’ll be surprised when they unpack. A double-whammy!
  • Smell – Perfumes are probably the first things that come to mind when it comes to fragrant gifts but you can also consider scented products like candles, aromatherapy oils, etc. The sense of smell is a powerful trigger of emotions and memories, so choose something that you know for sure will trigger a particular memory. It’s often a very personal thing so dig deep into your memory for something that appealed to both of you in the past.
  • Hearing – The sound of a loved one’s voice is music to anyone’s ears, especially in the context of long-distance relationships. Make a recording of you talking about your lover’s best qualities or reasons why you love them and you’re almost guaranteeing that it will be the most-played hit of the year. Remember those old mix tapes guys used to make for their girlfriends? You can do the same with a Spotify or Apple Music playlist that you secretly load into their phone. The song that you first danced to, songs that you played when you were first dating, and so on – that’s what the best playlists are made of.
  • Sight – The visual sense is often our most powerful, so there are numerous gift categories for this type of sensory gifting for long-distance couples or long-distance friends and family. You might be thinking of photographs, which makes the digital photo frame we spoke about earlier a perfect candidate for potential gift ideas. You can also use image editors to create a collage of photos of the two of you spending time together.

All of these are powerful memory-triggers that will work wonders in an LDR. To summarize, when shopping for a gift at the start of a long-distance relationship, think ‘practical’ and think ‘memory triggers.’ You can rarely go wrong with this duo of gifting principles. Pretty soon, you’ll become an advisor to others who are about to embark on a long-distance relationship, giving out professional gifting advice to those who are at a loss to find that elusive ‘perfect gift’, as you once were.

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