While it has been years since I was at the beginning of a relationship and having to read his mind, MSN gave helpful tips on what to give a new significant other for the holidays:
Take the easy way out. When you’ve just started dating, you may not even know the person well enough to make a great gift decision. “My girlfriend and I just started dating after Thanksgiving,“ recalls Carlos Perez of Scottsdale, AZ. “I wanted to do something for the holidays, so I gave a gift in her honor to a local charity. The card didn’t have an amount on it, so there was no pressure, and I didn’t have to worry about the size.“ It’s hard for even the most materialistic person to begrudge you for helping others at the holidays.
Show some thought. “The worst is the gift you know your date just went out to buy out of a sense of obligation,“ says Tom Gray of Suffern, NY. “Like a pair of socks or a box of candy. I’m not saying you have to break the bank, but show me you thought of me a little in the process.“ Maybe you can replace that Dave Matthews CD he mentioned he lost, or you can give her a big bottle of that olive oil she loves to cook with.
Manage your money. “Less is more,“ counsels Lisa Cohen, president of Dating Designers in Woodland Hills, CA. “It doesn’t matter if you give him a card—if he’s fond of you, what you give him won’t change his mind…“
Get creative. Put your effort into making something to share the spirit, suggests Marc Charles, an artist in Richmond, VA. “You don’t have to be super-talented—in fact, sometimes that’s even more meaningful. A small, hand-made card or gift shows you like the person enough to invest some time, even if you didn’t spend money.“ There are craft classes galore at the holidays, if you want some schooling. Or visit the local paint-your-own pottery place and make a fun ornament for his or her tree.
Put your apron on. In a similar vein, baking is a low-cost way to say, “Happy Holidays, I like you,“ notes Ann Sobeski of Cincinnati, OH. “I’m not a great cook, but baking is pretty easy, so I make several kinds of Christmas cookies every year and give them to friends and co-workers. This would be a great low-key gift for someone you’ve just started dating, too.“
This column rekindled some fond memories on when I first started dating DH. We started dating in October and I fussed over his holiday gift to the point I annoyed the heck of a salesman at Filene’s. “Do you want the tie or not?” he asked me. I ended up buying it, but also wrote him a poem, which was a hit. Making a card or your own gift is a good idea!
But now I find myself fretting over the significant others of my sisters. They have not been in a serious relationship for more than a year at a time so I am never sure what to get the boyfriend — who they always bring along. Is it even appropriate to get the boyfriend something?
This year I am going to cop out and give my siblings prepaid Visa gift cards. “Just take your man out to dinner,“ I am going to tell them.
How do you handle holiday gift giving to a new significant other, MotherTalkers?