Getting gifts for the holidays can be hard enough for people you've known and loved for years, let alone someone you just recently started dating! Though it's never too early to buy someone a gift, the type of gift could make or break a relationship. Too much too soon could scare someone off or push them away, and too little could seem as if you're not as invested in building a relationship or are less interested in the other person. The tricky part is, how do you choose a gift without knowing if and what they're gifting you? And how do you choose a gift that both fits the situation and is authentic to you? First, relax. Then read these tips.
In order to avoid the awkward too-much-or-too-little dilemma, focus on gifts that you can do together, that require you both to take action. This is essentially a date on a more grandiose scale. It's great because you can be both romantic and practical. The risk of buying a necklace that's not her taste or a jacket that he'd never wear is nonexistent. Maybe there's an activity that would take you both out of your comfort zones or is something you've wanted to share together. You have the opportunity to think outside the box.
There are a few ways to scale an adventurous gift, depending on the seriousness of the relationship. Take it to the mountains: You could buy ski resort tickets for a day trip. Or, if you're more involved, you could purchase a one- or two-night stay at the resort as well. Look at photos on the resort website to see how romantic the vibe is, as you may want a more of a charming aesthetic -- a log cabin with a cozy fireplace over a honeymoon suite with a heart-shaped bathtub and rose petals on the bed. An outdoor hot tub is fine, but remember that you're in the stage of making this fun with hints of romance, not the other way around.
If this sounds like too much too soon but you're still game to try something new, have no worries. There are plenty of exciting options that don't involve embarking on a road trip or packing bags. A cooking class is a fun way to engage in a group setting while learning something new that you can take beyond the class and practice together. This setting helps create a bond in the moment. Plus, there's something sensual and romantic about dealing with food. Check Groupon, LivingSocial and other coupon websites to find special, cost-effective deals.
In fact, coupon websites are a great place to think of ideas. While surfing the sites, you may happen upon an athletic class to take together. Maybe try AcroYoga, also known as partner yoga, where you'll get a lot of fit-and-flirty time in with your new beau. Many couples choose this exercise as a good way to build trust in a very literal sense: If you're flying, you've got to trust your partner not to drop you, and if you're the base, you've got to prove you're a dependable support. If AcroYoga isn't your thing, sign up for Spinning, boxing or circuit training. They're fun and will get those endorphins and that oxytocin (the "love" hormone) pumping. Now that sounds like a perfect mix of feel-good stuff.
Getting out there and being active is a great way to go, but don't be afraid to keep it super low-key by making a card or some other do-it-yourself item. Express that you're into this person, but not so into the person that it's creepy. (For example, don't make a scrapbook of what your wedding would look like.) Humor is a great way to keep it light in the early days of courtship. If you make a funny poster or card that leaves a smile on your partner's face, then you're already on your way to a deeper, more long-term connection.
All of the above options are fantastic. But they say that some of the greatest gifts are intangible and can be given year-round. To truly show your love interest you care -- regardless of how long you've been dating or how serious you are with this person -- simply listen to them. Pay attention to the little things your partner mentions enjoying, make a mental note and do something small based on that. For example, if you've only been out with someone several times but they keep referencing that life-changing trip they took to India a few years back, find a special shop with worldly items and spend $10 to $20 on something that will trigger their fond memories of their travels. This gesture will go a long way, showing you're attentive without going overboard.
Regardless of what you end up gifting, trust your gut. Don't try too hard. And remember, be yourself -- it's cliched because it's valuable. At the end of the day, you've got to be you in order to attract the best match.