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Holiday dating dilemma: How soon is too soon for gifts?

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and ...

To gift or not to gift

One of the biggest dating dilemmas that pops up around the holidays for new couples is knowing whether it’s a good idea to exchange gifts. Doing so too soon can have a negative effect, but not getting something for your new guy could be awkward if he gets something for you. So what’s a gal to do? We have some advice for handling the gift-giving dilemma.

To gift or not to gift

Are you actually "dating"?

Before you hit the mall, you need to think about how long you’ve actually been a couple. Would you even call yourselves a couple? If this is a casual thing (you guys hang out sometimes and sleep together sometimes), it's a situation that doesn’t really warrant spending money. But, if you’ve moved on from something casual to something more structured (read: you’re exclusive), you can think about exchanging gifts.

But what do I buy?

Well, this comes down to how long you’ve been together. The type of present you pick out and how much you spend should be directly related to the length of your relationship. For example, the gift you get for someone you’ve been with for two years will (and should be) vastly different than what you get for someone who you’ve been with for two months. The longer you’re together and the more solid your relationship is, the more you can spend and the more sentimental you can be.

Gift-giving dos and don’ts

If you’ve established that you are in fact actually “dating” and you’ve been doing so long enough to warrant a gift exchange, there are a few things to consider. First, keep it light. A new relationship is still uncharted territory so you don’t want to scare him with something overly sentimental. Think about neutral items like books, music or accessories. A nice scarf says “I like you,” whereas a larger wardrobe item say “I see us together forever,” which might come across as a bit too forward.

Make a note

Use common sense and good taste and you should be fine. Have fun with it — shopping for a new partner should be enjoyable, not stressful.

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