Ask Andi: Should I Buy My Boyfriend Who I Just Started Dating A Christmas Present?

Hey Andi,

I have been dating my boyfriend for about one month and things are great! The only thing is, Christmas is coming up and I’m not sure if it’s weird or not to get him a gift? I don’t want to not get him something and receive one from him.  I love the Christmas spirit and giving, but I don’t know if he’ll be uncomfortable getting one from me!

Santa Baby 

Dear Santa Baby,

I can see your dilemma.  Deciding who to give gifts to is a problem many people encounter during the Holidays.  Many people feel obligated to give something to everyone in their lives and it can be stressful.  However, I believe your situation can be easily worked out.

The most important thing is for you to consider if you can happily give and not receive
.  Suppose he’s facing the same dilemma and decides to not give you a gift; would you still be happy giving him one?  You seem to really like your guy and you enjoy the season of giving so I think that is an easy question for you to answer.  If it makes you happy and fulfilled to give him a gift, then do it.  You eliminate the worry of showing up empty handed if he gives one and regardless, you get to show you care in a special way.

On the other hand, ask yourself how comfortable you would feel receiving a gift but not giving him one.  Unfortunately, as I said earlier, many people forget the joy of the season, and give gifts out of a sense of obligation; especially to those who give them gifts.  If you feel obligated to give a gift to everyone who gives one to you, would you be okay not having something for him?  If you don’t think it will be an issue and he would understand then you don’t need to worry about a gift if you do not want to. 

As far as him feeling uncomfortable if he receives and doesn’t give, it is likely that any discomfort he feels will be because he now feels he should have gotten you something.  If this is the case, let him know that you did not expect a gift, but you love Christmas and wanted to spread some joy.  Turn on the charm and tell him, “Spending time with you is my favorite present this year!”  Letting him know that you acted on your own desires, and not out of expectation for a gift in return, then you can both relax and be merry.

If none of this helps, it’s time to do some reconsideration.  Ask him what he wants for Christmas. Tell him you’re headed to Towson Town Center with your roommie and say, "Is there anything particular you want for Christmas?” Being upfront about this question now avoids an awkward moment for either of you later. Then you go from how he reacts.  If he says “ Aw, you don’t need to get me anything.  I need ideas for you too.” Then you know a gift is okay.  If he says, “Me? Don’t be silly it’s not like we’re married- save your money,” then maybe a gift isn’t the best idea.  If you still want to give him something, why not make some homemade Christmas cookies?

Deciding what to give him is a different story.  You may not want to get something too big or expensive, because he might feel bad if he doesn’t match your gift level.  Handmade gifts and tiny little stocking stuffers are always a safe bet.  If you give him something small and practical, or something reflecting an inside joke, you’re most likely safe from awkwardness either way.  The best way to judge what type of gift you should get him is to put yourself in his shoes.  If you want to buy a pricey gift, imagine if you would feel uncomfortable receiving one.  But all in all, it is the thought that counts.

As long as you don’t give him a gift because you feel obligated or because you expect one, then you have nothing to fret about.  Also, make sure not to hold back from giving one if you want to- as long as you tell him you did it because you wanted to, it won’t be awkward!  There is no minimum relationship time length for spreading some joy, and there is no time length for being obligated to give a gift.

Now you’re prepared to make the right choice for you.  All you have left to worry about now perking up for final exams: Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha? (I’ll leave you to decide that one)

xoxo Andi