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10 Holiday Gift Tips for the Person You Just Starting Dating

Sarah Pritzker
10 Holiday Gift Tips for the Person You Just Starting Dating
Dating is riddled with all sorts of annoying decisions (hat, no hat? Scarf, no scarf? Do these shoes make me look fat?), awkward situations (I've gotta pee, but he won't stop talking!) and disappointments (funny, you don't look quite like your profile pic!). But here's one situation that ushers in its own particularly painful brand of discomfort: gift-giving.

That’s right, you’ve been in a relationship for a whole month, or maybe just dated 2 or 3 times. But the holidays won’t wait around for your love life to develop. So, you’re stuck in this awkward situation. Do you buy a gift for someone who you only met a few weeks ago?

Ultimately, the conclusion most people come to is yes, because you don’t want to be viewed as stingy or worse still a scrooge, and after all, it is the holidays. Giving gifts can be a strong indication of your personality, character, and, gulp, feelings towards the other person. So, you don’t want to mess that up either!

What's a newly dating couple to do come this festive time of year? While gift-giving is something wholly personal, here are a few ideas to help you jumpstart your shopping spree for your new fling and avoid that awkward “I can't believe you got me this!” reaction.

Holiday Gift Ideas for People Who’ve Been On 1 Date:

1. Don’t rush to get them a gift

If you ask most love experts, they'll tell you that going on a single date with someone doesn't obligate you in any way in terms of gift-giving. You may not have even gotten a response about whether or not there's going to be a second date! So, in most cases, holidays can be navigated around dispensing with the gift giving. If they're expecting something after a single encounter, you might want to think about their long-term expectations and reconsider the relationship!

Of course, if things went extremely well, there was a real spark, and it’s been confirmed that the feelings are mutual, there’s no harm in getting something small. But very small. Like a generic box of chocolates or a nice holiday bouquet. This says you want to spend more time together, but it doesn’t make any assumptions about grand plans for the future.

But if you want our advice, just be smart about planning your dating schedule. When the holidays get closer, maybe push off that first date till after things calm down. If you’ve met someone or someone has shown interest in your online dating profile, for example, you can easily use the holidays as an excuse to wait until after to get to know them better. For example you could say something along the lines of: “you seem really awesome, and I think we could really hit it off. I’ve got my Uncle Freddy and 3 cousins staying at my place until after the holidays. So, what do you say we pencil in drinks for the following weekend?”

Holiday Gift Ideas for People Who’ve Been out a Few Times:

You’ve been on a few dates, and you think it went pretty well. Great! Then comes Christmas. Not so great. You’re not about to invest a lot of time, money, or thought into this gift. You hardly even remember their name! But you’ve got to give them something to save face and not come across like a complete jerk (that is, if you want there to be another date). What can you do? For starters, you can follow these tips:

2. Don’t go overboard

Things are literally just getting started. You don’t want to rock the boat by coming on too strong. Something that says “I like you” or “I want to spend more time with you” is great. Something that says “Have my babies” might be a little bit of a turnoff at this stage in the game.

3. Get something that they mentioned they’re interested in

This gift idea is golden for 2 reasons: 

1. It's not too expensive, so it won't be outlandish, but it shows that you are considerate enough to have thought of them.

2. It shows that you are paying attention when they talk. This can be anything small, like a book or a type of wine that they said they'd like to try out.

4. A t-shirt that’s THEM

A generic t-shirt isn’t all that appreciated, but when you personalize it slightly, this apparel item transforms into a thoughtful gift that’ll make them smile. A t-shirt with their college logo, favorite sports team, revered superhero, or other point of interest (joke about programming for the techies, perhaps?) is just the right speed.

5. A gift basket delivered to their workplace

This is a good idea because:

A) Who doesn’t love getting a basket of delicious baked goods?! 

B) They can share it around the workplace and show off their oh-so-considerate new fling 

C) It’s not too personal, but it’s a thoughtful gesture

You can also get something smaller like a personalized keychain, a mug, or a goofy toy or gadget.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Month or 2 Fling:

Now things are starting to get a little more serious. You’ve been out several times over the past month or 2, maybe even twice a week, and a relationship is definitely forming. If this is the stage you’re up to, then a holiday gift is more than appropriate, it’s the norm. At the same time, you still aren’t swapping keys, sharing intimate details, or head over heels in love. So, what do you do come the season to be jolly? Follow these gift suggestions to make him or her fall for you hook, line, and sinker.

A word to the wise: Even after a month of dating, there's no reason to break the bank on these gifts. Relationships take some time to develop, and there are countless couples who have broken up after 6 months or longer. So, don't go busting your wallet on an extravagant gift when the relationship is just beginning.

6. Laptop case

If they’re really into their computer, get a fun, pretty, or trendy laptop case. Techies love their gear and things that protect it.

7. Personalized drinking flask

Does he love his Jack Daniels, bourbon, or scotch? Why not get him a personalized flask with his name engraved on it? These aren’t that expensive, you can get one for under $10 bucks, but they look like they are. And it’s something personal that shows you’ve been paying attention.

8. Set of speakers

A lot of people are into their music, so a set of quality speakers is the perfect gift for this genre. There are tons of varieties from bookshelf speakers to standing floor speakers and portable Bluetooth speakers. And if you just shop around, you can get a decent set of speakers for less than $50.

9. Gourmet food item

Plenty of people have their foods that they are REALLY into. It might be coffee, or cheese, or chocolates. Whatever your love interest is into, get them a decadent or gourmet brand of this item. This can be delivered, or you can give it to them directly at this point. Either way, the fancy wrapping and indulgent delicacies are a direct line to their heart.

10. A toy for their pet

This one really speaks to the heart. If they’ve got a pet they love, and you show an interest in it, you’ll really seal the deal.

You can also opt for a small techie toy, tickets to a concert, a stylish pocket knife, or tickets to an escape room (if they’re into that sort of thing).

Of course, relationships aren't cookie-cutter, and everyone progresses at their own pace. If you feel like things are getting hot after the first few dates, and the other person has reciprocated, feel free to go all out (if you can afford it!). Worst case scenario, they'll have a pricey bonfire if you guys ever break up!

Keeping the Holiday Season Merry When You Just Started Dating

Yes, it’s possible to keep things pleasant, even when this totally awkward social protocol dilemma smacks you in the face. In general, though, you don’t have to worry. Giving a gift, even something small, shows the other person that you care enough to take their feelings into consideration. And with most people, that’ll score you points and at least another round of dates! Happy holidays!

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Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker writes for and is a content writer with years of experience and a keen interest in the vast world of online consumer products. She enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market in a variety of fields.