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 in the giving department.
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 a bottle of a 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, 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.
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: Have an ulterior motive by planning it months and months and months in advance. Be sure the event is a week or two away, max. And no romantic weekend trips.