You’ve finally had the “we’re exclusive” convo (congrats!), and it seems like the hard part should be over. But if said convo takes place just a month or two before the holidays, the internal struggle to figure out what to gift your new partner ensues.
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 present—something thoughtful, semi-personal, and affordable—is the way to go when you’re dating a brand-new guy. Jewelry, ladies, is not.
Below, a few suggestions.
DO: Get a subscription to a streaming service they don’t have. They might have Netflix, but chances are they don’t have Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go.
DON’T: Buy him a shiny new flat-screen to watch it on.
DO: Take him out to dinner, maybe for a drink after.
DON’T: Treat him to a 9-course dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and present him with a bottle of Glenmorangie Pride 1981.
DO: Get him a gift that’s reflective of something topical 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 completely cliché like a tie if he wears jeans and tees to work, a baseball book if he hates sports, a universal remote for his TV, any sort of grilling apparatus, a box of golf balls, a power drill, a huge bag of “masculine” grooming essentials, or a subscription to the beer of the month club if you’ve never seen him drink beer.
DO: Make him a cool winter Spotify playlist with songs you’re digging right now, and an iTunes gift card.
DON’T: Make him a mix of the sappiest love songs of all time, get him front-row seats at a sold-out concert, or buy him $400 wireless Beats by Dre headphones.
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, a set of Kastle skis, or a 100% real mink trapper hat.
DO: Go with stuff that’s edible. Nothing’s better than a homemade batch of holiday cookies or brownies.
DON’T: Buy him actual edibles.
DO: Plan a gift you can do together—like tickets to a concert, exhibition, or a play.
DON’T: Planning it for months and months and months in advance. The event should be a week or two away, max. Likewise, don’t be that girl and book a romantic weekend at that adorable B&B upstate. Too soon, friend, too soon.
Originally published December 2015. Updated November 2017.