Whether you’re quarantine-casual or in it for the long haul, gift giving in a relationship is never an easy feat. But what should you do when your casual hookup happens to coincide with the holiday season? Do you get them a present? More importantly, are they getting you a present? The timeframe in which you have been hooking up can help decipher whether you need to bother buying them a gift or if sending nudes will suffice. I say whether you’ve been getting intimate for one month or for one year, if you’re breaking social distancing for this person and a major holiday is approaching, gifts are kind of expected.
Also, it should go without saying, but absolutely no one should take an agreed upon “no presents” rule seriously. Just buy a damn present. You don’t have to empty out your savings account, but you should put a bow on something. If you’re strapped for ideas, don’t freak out, I got you. Consider this curated cheat sheet my gift to you.
Dating: 1-2 Months
Together for only a month or two? It’s new and you’re both having fun, so there’s no need to overthink it. This early on you can probably get away with a few strategically placed bows on yourself and call it a night. If you want to go in a more tangible direction, then I recommend playing it safe with something edible, like cookies or a seasonal six-pack. You made an effort, it’s on theme, and it doesn’t send any overly serious signals. It’s holiday cheers all around.
Dating: 3-5 Months
You don’t need to feel pressured to define the relationship, but you should probably be exchanging presents. In the early stages of dating, casually or exclusively, it’s the thought that counts. If you’re just hitting the three-month mark, take note of their Spotify roundup and go for a graphic tee of their favorite band. It’s casual and shows that you’re paying attention to their likes. Nearing closer to five months of being together? Then it’s time to start documenting! What better way to capture proof of your relationship than with a Polaroid camera?
Dating: 6-9 Months
Hi. Sorry to break it to you, but this is not just a hookup anymore, you should probably reference an inside joke and hit a store. Another way to ease into the gift exchange is to choose an interactive gift, one that the two of you can enjoy together. Take your hookup playlist to the next level with a Bluetooth compatible record player. If you’re feeling extra splurgy, you can even throw in their first record from their favorite band. If you’re working with a long-distance situation, then go for what I’m dubbing the love lamps. A set of lamps—you keep one, your partner keeps the other—and when you tap your lamp, the matching one lights up. Easiest way to tell someone that they light up your lif—k sorry, I’ll stop.
Dating: 1-2 Years
Alright, this has surpassed the hookup stage. This is full-on monogamy, so congratulations! And with commitment comes a higher level of gift giving. It’s time to give a gift with some longevity. Gift them a duffle to tell them that you fully accept their baggage. For a hidden bonus, you can even slip in a future travel itinerary (pandemic permitting). Or what’s a subtle way of telling your person that you’re sick of them being late to everything? Get them a watch! It’s sleek, thoughtful, and they’ll never be able to tell you that they lost track of time again.
Dating: 3-4+ Years
Safe to say that if it’s gone on this long that this is a fairly serious commitment, which means that it’s time to get thoughtful, and dish out some more dough. Welcome to the big leagues, kids. Handwrite a love letter, or transcribe your favorite DM, and print it on a blanket. It’s a gift to show the grandkids one day. Or, on a not-so-sentimental track, if you can get your hands on a coveted PlayStation 5 Console, then you are guaranteed to be crowned partner of the year. It may not be super original, but I actually think it’s illegal to not include a PS5 in a 2020 gift guide. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. I recommend investing in two controllers, so you can at least both play.
Remember, it’s the thought that counts—and it counts even more when it comes with a gift receipt.
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