Relationship gift-giving can cause some serious anxiety attacks around the holidays. Things can get a little tricky, especially when you’ve just started dating someone or you’re still in the “What are we doing?” stage; it’s a delicate balancing act of being thoughtful and not coming across as too clingy. On the flip side, if you’ve been in a relationship with your partner for a while, you might be scratching your head for new ideas. Fortunately, we’ve enlisted Jessica O’Reilly, a.k.a Dr. Jess, a Toronto-based sexologist and relationship expert, to come up with creative relationship gift ideas for every stage of your romance.
You’ve Been on a Few Dates
“No gifts are in order if you’ve only been dating for a few weeks,” says Dr. Jess. “You can go out to celebrate together just before the holidays or grab a bottle of bubbly and stay in.” If you really insist on splurging on your sweetie, then Dr. Jess suggests giving a nice bottle of wine or scotch, accessories under $70 (e.g. pocket square, nice pen, business card case), or a home cooked meal.
You’ve Been Dating a Few Months
If you’ve been dating a few months, whether or not you’re exclusive, you’ll want to “pick something personal, but useful,” says Dr. Jess. “This should be a gift that shows you’ve put thought into it, but also something practical that they can still use if the relationship doesn’t last.”
Leverage what you know about your partner’s personality to pick something more meaningful.
If they’re artsy…a small piece of art or tickets to a local show.
If they’re sporty…a jersey or other paraphernalia from their favorite team.
If they’re into food…a good quality kitchen gadget or small appliance.
If they love to read…a series of handpicked books.
If they’re techie…ask their friends for advice on the latest gadgets under $100
You’ve Been Dating a Few Years (and Definitely Exclusive)
At this stage in your relationship, you might want to aim for more practicality rather than personal. “If you’re living together and you’ve already pooled your finances, buying gifts can be a challenge,” Dr. Jess admits. “Some couples will opt to forgo gift giving in favor of a weekend getaway or shopping spree, but others love the idea of surprises. At this stage, you already know your partner intimately, so you can get creative.” Dr. Jess suggests:
-Anything cashmere (scarf, sweater, shawl)
-Jewelry (earrings, cufflinks, or a watch)
-Electronics (speakers, FitBit, or good headphones)
When you’re married, you know your significant other like the back of your hand, which might lead to routine gifts and taking each other for granted. “If you’re married with kids, time is likely your most precious commodity,” Dr. Jess says. “You may not be able to add hours to the clock, but you can wrap time up for the holidays with these gifts: pre-paid babysitting sessions, a night at a local hotel, tickets to the theatre, dance classes, cooking classes, surfing lessons, a spa day or any other activity that will force you to spend some quality time together.”
Before you head off to the store, remember this: No matter what you give your partner this holiday season, it is the thought that counts.