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What is the Best Gift for Long Distance Relationships? (Plus 4 Free Ideas)

You’ve gotta get creative with your long-distance relationship gifts. After living away from my boyfriend for 5 years, I'm dishing on the best gifts for LDRs.

woman on pink chaise, texting with text overlay "long distance relationship gifts to keep relationships fresh and growing)

You want to get long distance relationship gifts that are going to rock your love’s world, but all the “common” gifts loved ones get for one another won’t quite work.

I totally understand!

I met my husband while studying abroad in Japan (he was a cryptologist in the Navy, stationed in Japan as well), and then we had an LDR for YEARS.

In fact, we used to joke it would be nice to be on the same continent, let alone the same time zone as one another.

Psssst: Are you guys a military couple? You’ll definitely want to check out my post on military love letters for him, and my 18 long distance relationship date ideas.

We are now, thankfully, very much in the same time zone (actually, the same house!) with a 3-year-old.

I’m going to take all of my experience of dealing with a long-distance relationship, and give you the BEST long distance gifts ideas, on any budget.

What Makes a Long-Distance Relationship Gift the Best?

Long distance relationship gifts need to be a bit different than regular gifts a couple gives one another.

That’s because you need to take any chance you can get to show your partner how much you love them – since they don’t have the satisfaction of seeing you + seeing how much you care for them throughout the day.

These long-distance relationship gifts I’m about to spill the beans on will do one or more of the following things:

  • Keep your relationship growing
  • Provide an experience for the two of you (or at least for one of you)
  • Remind each other of how much you love one another
  • Surprise the person in a way that they didn’t think was possible since you’re in an LDR
  • Keep things MIGHT interesting + romantic, even from a distance

If your gift can do one or more of those things? Well, then you’ll have one happy partner.

How Do You Keep a Long-Distance Relationship Interesting?

First, let’s look at gifts that are going to help you keep your long-distance relationship interesting.

Gift #1: Engage with One Another in Your Own Private Book Club

Purchase two copies of a book, and send one to them. Read the book at the same time (say, one chapter a week) so that you are experiencing something together — and you can talk about it in your phone conversations/over email.

Even better? Purchase two copies of a relationship book to read together. Some of our favorites include the 5 Languages of Love, and The Love Dare. Did you know that there's actually a 5 Languages of Love — Military Edition?

book 5 languages of love, military edition, with red white and blue flag and military tags on cover

You could even start a private book club with your spouse, or significant other!

Gift #2: Upload a Video Message on YouTube

You’ll want to upload your video as “unlisted”, and just provide the specific URL to your loved one. Keep it clean though – you don’t want this to get out at some point!

Gift #3: Buy a Long-Distance Friendship Lamp

The cool thing about this lamp is you get one and they get one, and you can touch your lamp, which will cause their lamp to light up. It’s a way to show you’re thinking of them throughout the day! (psst: this works in other countries, as well!).

two lamps, black trim all around with purple showing when light shines through

Long Distance Gifts on Amazon

Fortunately for you, some really cool long-distance relationship gifts are available with the click of a button. Let me help you navigate all Amazon has to offer!

  • Get a Countdown Clock: Send them this countdown clock, but set it first to surprise them with your next (unplanned) trip to visit them! The bigger surprise will be when they figure out you already bought your ticket.

What Should I Do for My Long-Distance Relationship Anniversary? – Long Distance Relationship Gifts DIY

Anniversaries are special — whether you get to celebrate them together, or from a distance — and so I've saved some really awesome DIY gifts you can create for your long distance relationship. These are from your heart, to theirs!

Idea #1: Anniversary Countdown

I’ve got such a cool idea for your long-distance anniversary gift! It’ll keep them guessing + engaged all day long.

I love how the Dating Divas recently created a set of envelopes, with labels on the outside of each hour that the recipient is supposed to open it.

You can do this same thing, and really keep your loved one guessing! Grab a bunch of different envelopes (maybe 5 is enough for you, maybe 12 – you decide), and write a time on the outside of each one. So, one envelope can say 1:00 p.m., then the next can be 2:00 p.m., all the way to 6:00 p.m. (or, really, any time you’d like to start and finish the showering of gifts!).

Fill in a little gift or clue into each envelope, and then send them all at once in time for your anniversary.

It’s important to give them explicit instructions to not open the overall envelope until your anniversary day! Then, they’ll need to wait for each time slot to open the letters.

Some ideas for how to fill those time slots:

  • Clues: Put one new clue into each envelope as to what their anniversary gift is (something you purchased them, but that doesn’t come in the mail – so, an experience they get a ticket to, or something the two of you will do together when you’re back in the same place, etc.).
  • Love Coupons: Create love coupons for things your loved one gets from you, and put one into each envelope. Suggestions specifically for long distance relationships include things like a takeout order delivered to their home and paid for by you, a joint yoga session you’ll do at the same time as one another (Yoga with Adriene has awesome, free yoga videos on Youtube), a coupon that let’s them decide which movie you guys are going to pick for movie and date night (yes, you can do movie and a date night – one of my favorite long distance date ideas! Though now, you can use the app CYA), etc.
  • Flat(ish) Gifts: Some great flat gifts would be a gorgeous bookmark, a notecard with 10 things you love about them written out, a long distance relationship pillow case (keep the other one in this set for yourself), a piece of jewelry, a Ghirardelli square of chocolate, the coordinates to somewhere in Google Earth where you’ll be visiting together on your next trip, make them a “mixed tape” of the songs that have meaning in your relationship, etc.

Idea #2: Create a Google Earth Tour of Your Relationship

Chances are, you both have traveled to some interesting places to be together. I know for my husband and I, in those 5 years of long distance, we met up in:

  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Japan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Washington D.C.

You could create a Google Map Tour of each of the places you guys have visited together using this neat Google Earth feature. It's like a virtual scrapbook of your relationship they can “tour” anytime they're feeling lonely!

Idea #3: Love Emails Binder

This is something that I actually did — and still have, to this day.

One time when I was feeling particularly lonely, I came up with a cool idea: to create a Love Emails Binder! We emailed each other SO much, and since we were gone for months at a time (especially when his ship went underway and emails were all we had), these emails really anchored our relationship.

SO, I started printing out really important ones + romantic ones, hole-punched them, and put them into a binder in chronological order.

What a cool gift not only for my love, but also for our kid to read over one day!

Long Distance Relationship Valentine’s Day Gifts

Searching for that perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for your long-distance love?

You could print out this (free) intimacy love book for him, or grab a bag of assorted Ghirardelli chocolates and for each different variety, write a love note and include it in (it will be so nice to be plastered in love letters + chocolate!).

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.