The holidays are a time for excitement and parties, but if you’re in a relationship, deciding what to get your partner or how much to spend may cause anxiety. You don’t want to overdo and buy something extravagant, which may send the wrong message about where your relationship is, but yet you don’t want to be cheap and leave your partner feeling devalued and upset. You constantly find yourself coming back to the question of, “How much is too much?” There is no one easy answer to this question, because the only answer is based on where you are in your relationship. If you haven’t talked to your partner about where you are in your relationship, then the holidays can help clarify that. My best advice is, rather than base what to get your partner on the number of months or years you have been dating, base it on what you feel and where you see the relationship going. It’s difficult to decide where you think the relationship is going if you have no idea where you are in the relationship. I think asking yourself these three questions can help you define your relationship and find the perfect gift.
First question to ask: Am I dating this person, or is it just a crush? Is this person exclusive to me or are you both just one of several?
If you aren’t really sure, clarify this before you shop. Gifts such as comedy show tickets, movie coupons or coffee cards are simple and easy. You can personalize it more with a handwritten Christmas card.
Second Question: Are you using this gift to secure the relationship and make it deeper or to cool it down? Talking about where you are prior to buying a gift helps you avoid the awkwardness of getting an extravagant gift when you gave something that had no meaning at all. A great rule of gift giving is to give something that will make the time you shared together memorable. That way, even if the relationship doesn’t survive past the holidays, they will be left with a thoughtful memory. Gifts such as a pair of headphones or concert tickets to one of their favorite artists, or a favorite cologne or perfume are appropriate.
Third Question: Do you know your partner enough to buy them the perfect gift? To buy a great gift for someone, you have to really know them and this requires listening to them, understanding their perspective, and personal things about how they grew up, as well as what they invest their time in. If your relationship is still on a superficial level (you’ll know when you try to shop for them), this will be challenging.
If you’re saying, “I love you,” to each other, then paying attention to the small details of what makes this person special to you becomes increasingly important to say with your gift. If you are in this category, then gifts such as jewelry, a getaway trip together or an experience you enjoy together are great gifts. The idea behind your gift should be spending time together and creating memorable moments for the two of you.
The perfect gift is one where the person receiving it feels loved, valued and connected. No matter what stage of dating you’re in, this can be accomplished if you define and understand where you are in your relationship, as well as where your partner is. The holidays are a wonderful way to become clearer about the status of your relationship.