The *Ultimate* Dates & Mates Holiday Gift Guide
THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Some people have a hard time shopping for their significant others during the holiday season. The pressure is on during this crucial time in a relationship. So… this year we’re gifting you with a list of our FAVORITE gift ideas for every occasion.
A first rule of thumb: Emotional value always trumps monetary value.
Get them something that shows you’ve been listening rather than something that shows you waited until the last minute and just plunked down a wad of cash instead of taking the time to choose something that your significant other would specifically want.
I’ve put together this holiday gift guide to help you think through your options if you want to make this holiday special. I’ve made it super easy for you:
You can either read through my extensive guide to picking the perfect holiday gift OR scroll down to the bottom for my cheat sheet gift guide.
IF YOU WANT TO GET BROKEN UP WITH…
A one-way ticket to relationship discord is a bad gift. This can be anything from a flat out thoughtless gift, to misconstrued presents, to showing up empty-handed.
Here are a few things to stay away from:
From iPods to Kindles to a new microwave, if it’s got a warranty it’s an appliance—not a sign of affection. Anything that plugs in, takes batteries or is powered by the sun, no matter how cool you may think it is will be too impersonal for the first gift-giving exchange in a new relationship.
Dating is not the same as marriage, and even the rules of giving back the ring after divorce are muddy so why get caught up in the big expense of something that may or may not last in the long run? Or even worse, cheap jewelry will just look like you don’t care.
Diamonds are forever, but a new relationship may not be. Wait until a meaningful anniversary to give something shiny.
Unless you’re a successful clothing designer, you’re still learning the style AND SIZE of your new mate. Instead of risking a huge fight about the difference between a petite small and a small small, opt for something a little more tailored to their taste than to their waist.
Even if Spencer’s Gifts does see a huge influx of customers during the holidays, you don’t have to be one of them. A black-light poster, Snuggie or lava lamp (see No.1) may be cool in your crib, but anything that elicits a laugh may not be quite the reaction you were hoping for.
Lingerie, silk boxers, and (heaven forbid) sex toys can and will send the wrong message. Especially when your lady’s friends ask her what she received for the holidays. Save the kinky stuff until you make it to Valentine’s Day.
Showing up empty-handed is even worse than showing up with a dildo. Even if you’re two weeks into a relationship, giving something is always better than nothing. So if you’re stumped on what to get and are only coming up with items from this list, at least make sure it’s something, not nothing.
And I don’t mean playing cards either (which would also make a terrible gift). While the simple act of giving a card is better than the dump-worthy gift of nothing, it’s still not enough. If you have to give a card, make one yourself. Make it meaningful with photos or showcase your artistic side. Rule of thumb: If someone else is quoted is on the card, choose again.
Practical, necessary and sometimes thoughtful, gift certificates can be a great gift for co-workers, employees and handymen. For anyone you sleep next to, not so much. If you know where they like to shop get them something from there with a gift receipt, not a blank check to take time out of their day to buy themselves a gift.
Because nothing says “I don’t want to see you anymore” like the gift of a fleece blanket.
Lotion or Soap
Do not be tempted by the Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift basket. Even though the sales lady says women always love it, chances are she already received several from people who don’t really give a crap about her. Try to be the exception.
Also, if someone were to give you the gift of soap, wouldn’t your first thought be, “oh my god, do I smell bad?” Definitely stay away from soap.
You laugh, but it’s been done. Aside from being kind of totally rude, it shows no originality, no emotion and is really, really lame. If you’re so out of your element that you are thinking about resorting to giving the gift of green, it may be time to get some professional help.
BEFORE YOU PICK OUT A GIFT (NOTE: GUYS DEF READ THIS)
Talk and Listen
Many times women think they are dropping hints about what they want for months and weeks before the holiday. Often times men are completely oblivious to these hints. If you think you may have missed the message, simply try asking what she wants.
Even if it’s direct, it will show her that you care about her and want to get her something she would like.
What they want most is YOU
Spending quality time with you is one of the most valuable things you can give your lady. Take a moment this holiday season to treat her like the queen she is. Take the reigns in the kitchen and cook for her tonight. Offer a foot massage at the end of a long day. These gestures will mean more than anything that comes in a box.
Let’s not forget the JEWISH HOLIDAYS
If your family is anything like mine, you are planning for Christmas AND Jewish Holidays. It’s always appreciated if you do something to acknowledge every night of Hanukkah, but usually not expected. You have the opportunity to be clever though and build each gift upon the last. Perhaps you order candy hearts made that spell out a special message across the eight nights. Or give her some chocolate Hanukkah gelt nightly and then give her a guide illustrating how the number of coins corresponds to different gifts of her choice on the eighth evening. You can give her a variety of options and let her decide how she wants to spend her gelt. That will give you points for being cute and creative but also ensure that she gets exactly what she wants.
OKAY NOW HERE’S YOUR CHEAT SHEET!
FOR THE NEW BOO
Regardless of how far along you are in your relationship, from benign dating to almost boyfriend/girlfriend status – get them something for Hanukkah or Christmas.
You don’t have to overthink this gift and you should probably not spend a lot of money. However, all relationships – even new ones – do warrant some sort of acknowledgment this season.
Here are a few ideas to get you started or spark some inspiration:
Remember that what they want most is to spend time with you. Try giving the gift of an experience!
Groupon has everything from painting classes to concerts to kayaking trips.
Are they obsessed with music? Try a stylish crate for their record collection.
Have they ever mentioned wanting to make time to read more? Try gifting an Audible Membership.
FOR YOUR LONG TIME BAE
Sometimes partners can feel taken for granted after a few months or years so this is your time to remind her how special they are to you.
Again, try the gift of an experience! Do something new to get you out of your routine.
Most ladies love jewelry so if you’re not ready to pop the question (which I don’t usually recommend doing during the holidays) try a lovely necklace instead. The box MUST NOT be misleading to her. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re getting an engagement ring and ending up with a pair of earrings.
For a guy, try a nice watch. A good watch is a timeless gift. There’s something for every price point.
Whatever you do this season, it’s a good idea to talk about how you like to spend the holidays in advance to make sure you’re on the same page.
And don’t forget to ask them out for New Year’s Eve. There’s a superstition that you’re doing on NYE alludes to what you’ll be doing the rest of your year. So make sure that this New Year’s, the fireworks aren’t only in the sky.