If you have the same relationship outlook as Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David—it’s technically George Costanza, but who’s counting—you think gifts are relationship killers. I whole-heartedly agree with that stance, but it’s the holidays, so unless you have already made a no-gift agreement (in which case you should probably still get a card), there is really no getting out of it. So, as my gift to you, I’ll help you out.
Step 1: Budget
First, relax, it’s not about how much you spend. Don’t strain on the price, just don’t, it sets a really bad precedent for the future, and you don’t want to be the guy in the Christmas Lexus commercials. He is in crazy debt and they probably broke up anyway. Instead, use food as your guide, and spend what you would spend on an average dinner date for two, even if you always go Dutch. If you have a standing reservation at Jean George every Saturday night, your gift is going to be—and she is going to expect it to be—more expensive than if you are sticking to Postmates and Netflix. I also think that it’s fair to say that your new babe will be looking at what you spend on dates to determine a budget as well. So, now you have an even playing field. (I think I just made a sports euphemism!)
Step 2: The Gift
Maybe you might think this is the most difficult part, and you’re probably right, which in and of itself is a huge gain. I love giving gifts—and in a selfish and weirdly competitive way. I want everyone to hope and pray that I get their name in Secret Santa draws. So, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Ask yourself this: Is she a “things” person or an “experiences” person? Or to break it down, are you dating Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lawrence? Kim K definitely wants something shiny and new and J-Law wants to learn how to make pizza and then eat it all.
This is really is just about being observant, which you can totally do. I believe in you. Just look at what she likes, and then pick a category. At that point, you can buy anything in that category. See? Easy. Once you pick a category, jewelry, candles, electronics, books for the Kim K, or, concert tickets, cooking classes, art exhibits, weekend trips for the J-Law, then put it in your price range. That might mean exploring Etsy jewelry options if you’re in the Netflix group or picking up a fancy candle if you’re in a higher budget group. The great news is, you can totally fit anything into a smaller or larger budget, it just takes a little planning.
Step 3; The Sentiment
Alright guys, the final kicker. The difference between a good gift and a great gift, or “the perfect gift,” is sentiment. And, don’t get weird on me, but just the fact that you’re reading this means you care, you really care. Sentiment shows that you just didn’t just go to Macy’s and ask the 55-year-old woman at the jewelry counter for a pair of earrings (don’t do that, by the way). You can’t buy just anything, you have to buy something for her. Don’t you want her to brag to all her friends that you got her the best gift? Again, it’s a little competitive, but a good motivator.
How do you add a sentiment? For the Kim K type, find out her favorite style or designer, and look for similar designers online or find out if the designer has any new collections. Feel free to enlist the help of her friends too. You may not know the name of that cool new jewelry company but they probably do. For the J-Law, it’s all about creating a memory (remember we’re being sentimental here). Find something that matches her hobbies or interests, and it will all fall into place. This is more about the planning than anything. Overall, make sure that you are tailoring the gift to her taste, not yours, and you’ll have a relationship that is very much alive in the end.
At the end of the day, you want to, get her something she wants, even if she doesn’t know exactly what that is, not something she needs. It seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised. So, no calendars for work or new pots and pans to replace her old ones. Practicality doesn’t win hearts and it definitely doesn’t get you laid.