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There are people who, within the first five minutes of conversation, will already have dropped hints about potential gift ideas. If you followed through on that and are now set for life with a partner who’s easy to satisfy with a quick Amazon browse, this is not the place for you. Today, we will dig into the icy-cold, diamond-hard surface of the hard-to-buy-for, the want-nothings, and the have-everythings.

Get extra sentimental

Ideally, you have a time machine handy to travel back and tell yourself to become extra sentimental, because these things take a while. If not, well, there’s no time like the present to get better at presents! It’s time to unshackle yourself from your insecurities and truly step into the love you feel for your partner.

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Think back to your most cherished moments together, but try and think about what resonated the most with them, and not yourself. It could be a story they frequently revisit or a detail they emphasize – it’s easy to base your gift around that once you have the memory. Your thought process then becomes part of the present, showing instantly how much you notice the small things. Don’t be afraid to get sappy, life is too short.

Get crafty

Homemade gifts aren’t exactly a new concept, but thanks to sit-coms setting the public zeitgeist against vulnerability, we’re all afraid our creations suck and show how stingy or awful at wrapping we are. You don’t have to be an arts and crafts whizz to “make” your partner a gift, and money can always compensate for a lack of talent.

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Buy something as a foundation you can customize to fit their preferences. Set up a space for them in the house based around their hobby, like a reading area or a music lounge, so you can add personalization in the form of gifts like furniture and decorations that go on top of your labour of love. Failing that, engrave something!

Get practical

Speaking of houseware, it tends to be somewhat dulled as a gift by the idea that, if you’re living together, it’s kind of a joint present for the two of you. You’re both going to use that coffee table, you’re both going to wrap yourselves up in that plush new towel set, so it can feel a little impersonal on a day that’s about another person.

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There are two ways to mitigate this situation. The first is to add the personal to the practical, and get your partner something they could use, with just enough character to remind them it came from you as a gesture of love. The second is go lavishly practical, something high quality that will stand the test of time.

Get experiential

One thing that makes a partner difficult to shop for is when, in daily life, they don’t ask that anything be done for them. When they want something, they will just go get it, and when it comes to you they want for nothing. That’s hogwash, of course, everybody wants something from somebody, they just don’t know what they want yet.

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That’s where you come in! You, with all the years of life you have lived leading up to this moment, can think of something they’ve never done or tried, but would probably enjoy based on what you already know about them. Obviously consider the boundaries, don’t take an asthmatic scuba diving, but pulling them out of their shell a little bit could domino into more opportunities opening up (which you can then theme future gifts around).

Be honest

If you’re really stuck on what to get for your partner, there’s no harm in asking for help. Don’t request that they just spit it out of course, where’s the romance in that? Ask for something like three adjectives that would describe the perfect birthday or holiday this year, or to make a mood board you can draw from.

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As with many aspects of a relationship, gift giving and receiving can become a ritual unto itself. Not only will it bring you and your partner closer together, it will make you think about their interests and wants in a different way, and hopefully you discover a little about yourself along the way. Or just go for an Xbox, which they definitely say they want, all the time.