Gifting by relationship status

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John Drake, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:15 PM ET

 

It may be the thought that counts, but that doesn’t make it any easier to find an ideal gift for that special someone this holiday season. Will your gift meet expectations or under-deliver? There are often many variables at play that complicate the situation even further, such as how long you’ve been together, how serious the relationship is, or even if there are doubts about how long it may last. You don’t want to send mixed messages either.

Many relationships these days occupy vague grey areas that defy traditional definition so it can be difficult to know what to buy for that person, or even whether to observe such an occasion at all. You may not want to define the relationship just yet but it doesn’t hurt to ask your other half what their plans are for the holidays to get an idea of where their head is at. They may be occupied with family engagements and want to keep things simple or avoid scaring you off by introducing you to their entire family at once so you could be off the hook completely.

If you’ve been dating for a while, and it goes without saying that you will be seeing each other, it is best to be prepared with a simple gift (keep the receipt), to avoid that awkward matter of being empty handed if they bought you something. If you are only casually or recently dating you likely want to buy them something playful or timely to show you aren’t taking things overly seriously.

When you're past the ‘L-Bomb’ stage however, I think that purchasing tickets for an upcoming concert or sporting event that you know they would enjoy shows forethought and that you see the relationship going somewhere. I am also at a point in my life where I place much higher value on experiences rather than material goods that will inevitably end up in the back of a closet or a landfill.

Friends can be also be a valuable resource for finding out specific so you don’t inadvertently buy them a duplicate or something they likely won’t use or like.

Yet another complication can arise when what you really want to give someone for Christmas is their walking papers. It isn’t always the easiest time to break up with someone and you may be waiting for a better time to pull the trigger. You’ll likely want to stick to something generic that fits the nature of your relationship’s future.

I personally never advise buying lingerie for a woman. Lingerie isn’t intended to be a gift for the person who wears it, but instead for the person who will be removing it. Speaking of which, you may want to seriously consider where the person will be when they open it. Something sexy that takes batteries may be entertaining to unwrap in front of her girlfriends, but her father likely won’t be smiling.

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