Holiday gift giving can pose a challenge for any relationship, especially if the relationship is still relatively nascent. One can agonize for hours over what to give that new boyfriend or girlfriend, and it is often difficult to locate a gift that embodies the right measure of sentimentality without being too personal or significant. Here’s a quick gift giving guide based upon the length of the relationship to date.
Stage 1: New Relationships – From the first date to the first few months
In a brand new relationship, it’s important not to give a gift that represents “too much, too soon,” and potentially sets off warning signals to your significant other. To that end, stay away from archetypal holiday gifts such as jewelry.
One relatively “safe” gift domain is to focus on the hobbies of your significant other. Is he or she a writer? A blank journal will make for a thoughtful and classy gift. Are they more of a music aficionado? Consider some CDs or concert tickets. The key point is to tailor the gift to a person’s particular hobbies and interests as a way of being thoughtful without being overly personal
Stage 2: Medium term relationships – From a few months to under a year
Committed relationships that have been going on for several months tend to be less treacherous territory when it comes to gift giving. But be aware that the type of holiday gift you give will send signals about your intent in the relationship. British relationship guru Dr. Pam Sparr notes that when men give jewelry, it communicates to women that the man is serious about and committed to the relationship.
Alternatively, gifts that tend toward the benign or impersonal will likely communicate the inverse to your significant other. A gift card to Target, however handy, is unlikely to convey intimacy to that special someone.
Stage 3: Long term relationships – One year and beyond
At this juncture in a relationship, one need not be preoccupied with worrying about whether or not a particular gift is too personal. In fact, if that is a legitimate worry, it might communicate volumes about the emotional state of the relationship.
If your relationship has matured to the point where it can be measured in years rather than months, then holiday gift giving often becomes entwined with romance. For unique romantic gift ideas, the website findgift.com can provide you with excellent ideas. Findgift.com offers direct purchases based upon thematic searches, but functions equally well as an idea generator that you can then take to other retailers.
Dr. Pam’s personal website. http://www.drpam.co.uk/. Accessed November 30, 2010.
Romantic gifts at findgift.com. http://www.findgift.com/Gift-Types/Romantic/. Accessed November 30, 2010.