You just started dating a new guy—mazel!—but you’re not sure what the going rate is on Christmas gifts. Maybe you’re a few weeks in, or a couple months in. Maybe you’ve determined that he’s officially your boyfriend, or you’re still delicately dancing around the subject. At any rate, it’s a bitch to figure out what’s appropriate and what’s completely insane when it comes to gifts for a new boyfriend.
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 him a subscription to Netflix if he mentioned he’d like to start binge-watching “Narcos.”
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.