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.” It also pays to understand that a small gift—something thoughtful, semi-personal, and affordable—is the way to go when you’re dating a brand-new guy.
Below, a few suggestions.
DO: Get him a subscription to Netflix if he mentioned he’d like to start binge-watching “Breaking Bad” (or any other show that’s on the site.)
DON’T: Buy him a shiny new flat-screen TV to watch it on.
DO: Take him out to dinner.
DON’T: Treat him to a weekend away at a five-star hotel and dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
DO: Get him a gift that’s reflective of something topical that you’ve discussed. 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 cliché like a tie if he wears jeans and tees to work, a baseball book if he hates sports, or a universal remote if he doesn’t own a TV.
DO: Make him a cool winter playlist with some of your favorite current songs, and an iTunes gift card.
DON’T: Make him a mix of the sappiest love songs of all time.
DO: Notice he’s been walking around without proper winter gear? Spring for a pair of cute and affordable gloves from, say, J. Crew, a great wool beanie, or a soft scarf.
DON’T: Run out and buy him a new Barbour coat.
DO: Go with stuff that’s edible. Nothing’s better than a homemade batch of holiday cookies or brownies.
DON’T: Take the edible thing too far—this means not buying him that $400 bottle of rare scotch you know he’d like to try.
DO: Plan a gift you can do together—like tickets to a concert, exhibition, 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.