It's tough enough to find the perfect gift for your own college kid or 20something. It's even more challenging when the giftee is a beau, your son's girlfriend or daughter's boyfriend - or, for that matter, your son's boyfriend or daughter's girlfriend. Suddenly there's subtext. Is the gift too personal? Not personal enough?
There are entire categories of gifts that tread a tricky line. Nearly anything for the bedroom or bathroom is weird. Perfume and lotions are too personal. And what 20something uses stationery these days? Gym bags, yoga mats and Lululemon gift cards may delight gym rats and marathon runners, but don't go there if there's the slightest chance that the recipient's reaction will be, "Wait, you think I'm fat?!?" Especially don't go there if the boyfriend or girlfriend is curvier than your average triathlete. (Of course, if you're the one who introduced the two of them, after you met her in the yoga class you both adore, carry on.)
Immersion blenders and food processors may delight the culinarily-creative, but you'd better watch "Father of the Bride" first, particularly the scene in which a blender sends the bride-to-be into hysterical tears over implied gender roles. And any gift that actually benefits your kid, not his sweetheart - an espresso machine, for example, for your coffee-loving son's tea-drinking girlfriend - is not a great idea either.
But there are plenty of wonderful, thoughtful gifts - including a soft wool or cashmere scarf or Blue Bottle coffee gear - that will delight your 20-something's sweetheart. Here are a few to get you started. Page through for details and tips on making these ideas your own, or use the quick links below.