When it comes to spoiling the love of your life with gifts, it's the thought - and whether she loves it! - that counts. No big-ticket item will quench her heart's desire like a gift that says "I'm head over heels for you." Flowers are fine, chocolate's a sweet thought, and a spa day for a stressed-out lover might really hit the spot. But today - for no reason, other than to show your affection - try a just-for-her gesture, something that most other gals haven't gotten.

"A gift doesn't have to be expensive; it has to be heartfelt. The best gift is one that strikes an emotional cord," says Martha Dupecher, Ph.D., a Washington, D.C., psychotherapist. "We all want to feel special. And a thoughtful gift that says 'I know how to please you' is a way of conveying that." (Dupecher's biggest gift-giving don't: giving something you actually want to receive. For starters, strike sexy lingerie from the what-she's-always-wished-for list - that's a gift for you.)

Special Selections

Your sweetheart will trade swanky for sentimental in a heartbeat - guaranteed. "Women aren't into expensive gadgets or appliances as gifts," confirms Kristine Dang, executive vice president of merchandising and design for gift retailer RedEnvelope.com. "We want something that touches us - something personal to us but that we would never buy for ourselves." Popular RedEnvelope.com items include a pearl "xoxo" (hugs and kisses!) bracelet, an "IOU a table for two" kit (it includes stainless steel salt and pepper shakers, along with a "table for two" postcard so she can write down her restaurant of choice and the date for your lovey-dovey dinner), and oriental pink lilies presented in an earthenware vase, also in the color of love.

For an everyday present of the more homespun sort, think about one of these personalized-for-her presents for everyday, described in 365 Romantic Gifts for Your Love by Tomima Edmark (Summit Publishing Group, 1996):

  • Homemade Horoscope. Will she be wined and dined at her favorite place, or will the kids be kept entertained outside of the house for one day of an upcoming weekend? Write down all the nice things you'll make happen for your love this month.
  • Something to Write Home About. Personalize stationery with a pet name or funny fact about your dating days. She might not use the "Snugglebunny" paper to write to her great-aunt in Miami, but you'll always have a go-to notepad for scribbling love notes to each other.
  • More Fun Than Food. Send her off to work with a kids' retro kid-style lunchbox - did she once love the Fonz? - and fill it with party favors that will have her smiling and giving you an "Aaaaaaaaaay" for remembering what she cherished in childhood.
Creativity Has Its Place

You can make any gift extra-special just by mixing it up:

  • Flowers. Put them around your home, each with a love note attached, and send her on a floral scavenger hunt.
  • Chocolate. Skip the mystery filling, and make sure they're all just her favorite kind - bonus points if they took some work to find.
  • Spa Treatment. Think about making it a double-the-pleasure, side-by-side massage for two. WomenLadies, your guys appreciate thoughtful gifts, too. Think creatively about what would make him happy ... then go ahead and buy him those sports tickets or power tools. Feeling super-selfless? Buy the type of sexy lingerie that gets him going every time.

Also, peruse these books for more romantic ways to impress your partner:

  • The Giftionary: An A-Z Reference Guide for Solving Your Gift-Giving Dilemmas ... Forever! by Robyn Freedman Spizman (St. Martin's Press, 2003).
  • 52 Romantic Evenings ... to Spice Up Your Love Life by Liya Lev Oertel (Meadowbrook Press, 2001)