To Gift, or Not to Gift: Surviving Holiday Dating
The holidays are filled with both joy and anxiety for many singles. The week before Christmas marks the year’s busiest week for online dating activity, so don’t be surprised if your inbox starts to fill up with new suitors. It’s also peak time for breakups. Could it be that your date doesn’t want to splurge on a holiday gift?
If you’ve just started to date someone you’ve met online and have only had a few dates, you may be wondering if should you buy him or her a lavish gift. While the easiest solution would be to leave town for the holidays, or even put your head under the covers, know that you’re not alone with the gift dilemma.
Jenna writes in that she’s been dating someone for four weeks, but both of them still have active online dating profiles. Although she believes they’re exclusive, she thinks she’d like to give her new beau a holiday gift during one of their dates. However, the subject of exchanging gifts never came up. She’s hinted about things she’d like in her stocking, but her new guy hasn’t asked her what she’d like for the holidays or made specific plans for Christmas.
Jenna wonders if it’s too soon to be exchanging gifts and what she should do.
My take on the situation, is that you always give a gift without expecting one in return. If she sees that he loves doing the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles, why not go to a bookstore or order a large puzzle book from Amazon? The cost is less than $20 and it will show the man you’re dating that you’ve paying attention to things that interest him.
Other singles will be bold and ask each other what they’d like for the holidays. If this happens, then know that you’ll be opening your wallet. For a new relationship, there’s nothing wrong with putting a budget on holiday gift giving or suggesting going to a sporting event or concert together to celebrate.
The worst thing you can do is to lavish your date with an expensive gift early on in the relationship. It may make him or her run the other way, or feel guilty that they haven’t reciprocated.
So just how appropriate would it be to give her a diamond watch or a new puppy?
Unless you’re in a serious relationship, where you have a history of buying each other a birthday present or other special gifts, don’t assume you’ll be receiving a gift, nor should you ever feel obligated to buy your date a gift. It’s impossible to ignore the holidays while listening to the Christmas songs on the radio and in the stores.
Some of my favorite thoughtful gifts, which won’t break the bank include:
- iTunes song of your date’s favorite band
- Gift certificate for a movie and dinner
- Gift certificate for a massage
- A golf lesson
- An accessory for his or her iPhone/iPad
- A gift certificate for a handyman for the day
The worst thing you can do when you give your date a gift, is to ask him or her what they were planning on getting you if it appears they aren’t reciprocating. You’ll make him or her feel uncomfortable about not taking the time to buy you a present, or they’ll feel obligated to pick up a gift and resentment could build up. It’s just too much pressure for a new relationship.
Remember, the best gift you can give each other is time spent together creating new memories. A hug and a kiss under the mistletoe is priceless.
Do you have a holiday gift tradition?
Julie Spira is an online dating and mobile dating expert. She’s the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert and the bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. For more dating advice, visit to sign up for the Weekly Flirt and follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.