So, you’ve just started dating a relatively new guy, and you’re not sure what the going rate is on Christmas gifts. Maybe you’re a few weeks in, or a couple months in. Perhaps you’ve determined that he’s officially your boyfriend, or you’re still delicately dancing around the subject. At any rate, it’s tough to figure out what’s appropriate or completely insane when it comes to sussing out the gift-giving season.
Obviously, you don’t want to go too big, yet you don’t want to not give anything at all . The goal: a gift that manages to say “I-like-you-but-we’re-still-getting-to-know-each-other-and-that’s-totally-cool.” Follow our tips, and you should be in the clear.
1. DO: Understand that a small gift—something thoughtful, semi-personal, and affordable—is the way to go when you’re dating a brand-new guy.
DON’T: Feel like you have to make a grand gesture. It’s early in your relationship, and there’s no need to put too much pressure on you or your partner by ramping things up too much at the holidays.
2. DO: Check your own expectations. Guys are typically clueless when it comes to this stuff. Remember, life is not like the movies, and most relationships take longer than three weeks or five dates to marinate and make work, so don’t expect a fancy necklace or a friggin’ engagement ring just because we happen to be in the midst of a “magical” holiday season.
DON’T: Worry that his Christmas gift means something about the way he feels about you. Often, dudes are totally clueless about gifts anyway, let alone at the beginning of a relationship.
3. DO: Get him a DVD of a TV show he mentioned he wanted to start watching.
DON’T: Buy him a shiny new DVD player to watch it on.
4. DO: Take him out to dinner
DON’T: Treat him to a weekend away at a swanky hotel. Too much, too soon, ladies.
5. DO: Get him a gift that’s reflective of something topical that you’ve discussed, and that shows you’ve been paying attention. He brought up an interest in contemporary art? Get him a book of one of your favorite modern artists. He likes to cook? Get him a new cooking gadget, a new cookbook you know he doesn’t have, or gift card to a specialty food store.
DON’T: Get him something totally random and/or generic like a tie if he wears jeans and tees to work, or a baseball book if he hates sports.
6. DO: Make him a fun winter mix with some of your favorite tracks.
DON’T: Make him a mix of the schmoopiest love songs of all time.
7. DO: Pay attention. If you notice he’s been walking around without proper winter gear, spring for a pair of cute and affordable gloves from J. Crew.
DON’T: Run out and buy him a new Barbour coat. Totally unnecessary, and a little desperate.
8. DO: Keep it simple, and go with stuff that’s edible. Nothing’s better than a homemade batch of cookies or granola. It’s sweet—in more ways than one.
DON’T: Take the edible thing too far—this means not buying him that $300 bottle of rare scotch you know he’d like to try.
9. DO: Plan a gift you can do together—like tickets to a movie or a play.
DON’T: Have an ulterior motive by planning it months and months in advance. Be sure the event is a week or two away, max.