He Said She Said

True story. I’ve had multiple friends ask me over the years how much they should be spending on their boyfriend / girlfriend, when it comes to their first Christmas with one another. Most notably there’s the ol’ “Don’t get me ANYTHING!” that’s often said by one half of a new couple, leaving the other one to ponder – does he/she really mean it? Obviously gift giving is scalable in terms of budgets. Some people might spend thousands of dollars on their long-term sweetheart, others might opt to skip gift-buying and save up for something special for the two of you.

That being said, here’s the general guide I’ve given to friends in the past when plagued with this very question, and how the calendar year factors in.

If you’ve been dating…

Since JANUARY to MARCH of 2010
This far into a relationship, chances are you have a pretty good gauge on whether or not you’re in it for the long haul. My own anniversary is in this time period, so when my spouse and I hit our first Xmas together, we basically felt like we were setting the standard for how much we’d spend on each other for years to come (which has increased a bit since we now buy each other’s stocking stuffers as well). Your best bet is to actually talk it over and see what you feel comfortable with spending – but most couples I know spend somewhere in the $75-$300 range each holiday.

Since APRIL to JUNE of 2010
You’re over six months in, but six months can feel really different from couple to couple. Guys, instead of splashing out on something super flashy and setting the expectations (potentially) to have to top yourself each year, try getting her something to do instead – tickets for a show, a dinner gift certificate, a hotel stay in a nearby town, or an afternoon at the spa. She’ll appreciate the thought, value, and the time spent together with each activity, and you won’t have the enormous burden of having your girl read into the ‘meaning’ of a tangible object. Ladies, balance it out between stuff guys would never ask for – hi, sweaters – and stuff they consistently talk about – hi, video games.

A relationship that is still quite fresh, but not so fresh that I’d be skeptical to hear the ol’ “Don’t get me any gifts!” refrain, your best bet is to go for a mixture of something casual, with something unexpected and sweet on top. When I say casual gifts, I basically mean, don’t spend hours crafting a 30-page scrapbook of your short-lived relationship, or buy an extravagant necklace or something. Classic Christmas gifts like cologne/perfume, CDs/DVDs, and the like, are all appreciated tokens that won’t break the bank. Do try and find something sweet to make their day though – like a bag of a holiday blend of her favourite coffee, or a limited edition version of a CD released by a favourite artist, or make your holiday mix cd for them.

This is definitely the trickiest time of year to start dating someone, because it makes Christmas all awkward. Especially if your new date happens to accompany you to a holiday gathering, in which case, you SO owe them. If someone is ridiculously adamant about not getting a gift, give them a Christmas card and a token of holiday deliciousness – a jumbo-sized candy cane, a bag of Christmas mini-eggs, or a homemade sugar cookie. If you’re spending the holidays apart, go out for a pre-holiday coffee at your local Starbucks and pick up a festive treat for your sweetie. If you are entering the scary territory of gift-shopping for someone relatively new in your life, keep it simple, and definitely talk about a budget. You don’t want to be the one proffering a novelty candy item when they’ve sprung for a designer watch. Also try to stick to things that are surefire bets – avoid items of ‘taste’ like art, clothing, and even music, unless you feel confident about them.

2 Responses to “He Said She Said”
  1. Gillian says:

    I have some couple friends who don’t get each other gifts at Xmas (they are trying to save for a house). Instead, they splurge on a “date” together–a nice meal/spa & hotel stay in the city or something along those lines. It’s a nice gift that “connects” and takes the guesswork out of gift buying!

    • B says:

      Yeppers, I noted that in the opening paragraph 😉 I think it definitely makes sense to save up for something extra special – like a trip, house, or new TV etc.

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