Spending the holidays with a new significant other is romantic and exciting. You can make new memories and establish your own holiday traditions. Gift giving in a recently-established relationship, however, is not so simple.
It’s difficult to determine how much to spend and to find a gift that sends the right message—I like you, but I’m not rushing into this. If you’re stressed about gift giving, don’t worry, we have the tips and gift ideas you need to make shopping for your significant other a little bit easier.
Talk About It
While it may be tempting to find a sweet holiday surprise for your new S.O., it can be awkward if one person gives a gift but the other does not. Bring it up casually in conversation, like: “I really love exchanging Christmas gifts and was planning to get you something, is that OK?”
It may seem awkward to bring this up but it’s better to get it out in the open to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Not to mention, you can find out how your new boyfriend or girlfriend feels about holiday shopping, while setting some gift-giving criteria like a pre-determined price range. If he or she isn’t into gift exchanges or is too overwhelmed with holiday shopping, agree to not to do gifts this year or wait for another occasion like a birthday or Valentine’s Day.
Go the DIY Route
Do-it-yourself gifts are smart for new S.O.s because they require thought and effort but can still be inexpensive. For example, you could make a holiday survival kit if your boyfriend or girlfriend is headed home for the holidays. Not feeling inspired? Choose from this list of 20 ideas, put together by Dwelling in Happiness.
If you’re both pretty crafty, challenge each other to come up with the best DIY gift. You can even go to the craft store together and choose your materials for a fun holiday date night; don’t forget the hot coco and holiday movie when you get home.
Remember: Simple Can be Meaningful
Some of the simplest gifts are the most meaningful, especially in a new relationship when you’re learning so much about one another. Here are a few simple ideas that will go a long way:
- Playlist: Because some ideas never go out of style— this is the digital version of the classic mix tape. Make a compilation of songs you think they’d like, based on what you’ve learned so far. Or, create them a playlist of your all-time favorite songs so they can learn a little more about you while relaxing to good music.
- Framed photo: If your new S.O. has an especially important family member, consider finding an old photo of them together and framing it. If they’ve lost a parent or grandparent, this can be a touching gift. Better yet, frame a photo of the two of you on your first date, as a way to remember where it all began.
- A piece of home: If your new boyfriend or girlfriend lives far from home, buy something related to their hometown. Nostalgia goes a long way, even if it’s not a memory the two of you share.
Attend an Event or Plan an Outing
Instead of stressing over what to buy, plan an activity or outing you can both enjoy. If you want to keep it local, check out a calendar of events in your area. There are so many holiday-themed activities and festivals that make the perfect festive date night, like ice skating, Christmas tree lighting, and traditional holiday shows like the Nutcracker.
If you’d prefer to do something that’s just the two of you, plan a mini-getaway instead. According to a 2016 holiday survey, travel is the most popular gift on Americans’ holiday wish lists this year and you don’t have to plan an expensive vacation to take advantage. Take a weekend road trip, plan a picnic, or plan a staycation and buy tickets to see every tourist thing in town.
Cook, Don’t Shop
Between work, family obligations, travel, and shopping, the holidays can be stressful. So instead of shopping, cook—your sweetie will be grateful for a cozy night in, and you can impress him or her with your culinary skills.
Try to cook a meal you think they’d love, based on what you learned about them, or re-create the dinner you had on your first date to add a sentimental touch. Don’t forget to set the scene with holiday candles, nice plates and a good bottle of red wine or champagne.
Turn it Into a Game
If you’ve agreed to exchange gifts, turn it into a fun event rather than a stressful one. Set a price range and time limit, go to your local mall or shopping center, and see what kind of gems you can find within your price range and time limit. Exchange right then and there, or keep them a secret, wrap everything up and exchange later.
If you’re still stumped, check out even more fun gift ideas we have for you. Just remember, you don’t have to spend or plan a lot to give a memorable gift to your new S.O. A simple DIY basket or custom playlist goes a long way in showing that you care.