Spending your first Christmas with your boyfriend or girlfriend? I bet figuring out what gift to give for your first big exchange is a bit stressful, right? It’s enough to make you break out in hives. Or maybe that’s just me, because on my first Christmas with my first boyfriend, I bought him an iPod (they had just come out, so it was, like, a big deal), and he got me…nothing.
You have second-hand embarrassment for me, yeah? Don’t feel too bad for me; my love language is giving gifts, even though I’m starting to get a hive remembering it. Okay, you can pity me. This is the point of this story—we want to help you navigate your first festive season together with the ultimate gift guide for new couples.
The Gift-Giving Rules
The first rule of gift-giving for new couples is that there are no rules; that would make it easy, and you wouldn’t need any tips or ideas!
There are a few guidelines, though, but it all depends on each couple as well as how long you’ve been together, if you’re in a serious, committed relationship, or if you’ve just started dating a month ago.
Choosing the perfect gift for your first holiday season together brings a fair amount of pressure—you might be thinking about how to balance a gift that’s both sentimental and light-hearted, and deciding how much to spend is another big consideration.
Here is our starter gift-giving pack of categories for new couples:
- A small indulgence: Who doesn’t appreciate a bit of luxury? You can spoil your partner without spending too much. Think of small but luxurious gifts like skincare for her, a tech gadget treat, or even a fancy gourmet treat for a foodie like Himalayan salt, fresh honeycomb, or a custom-designed water bottle or coffee cup.
- A small but more risqué gift: It’s your first Christmas night together, isn’t it? If you are super into each other and in the honeymoon phase, think about picking out something, um, more exotic, like lingerie, or maybe make a “coupon book” filled with experiences you’re both looking forward to exploring in the future.
- A heartfelt gift: There are thoughtful gifts that steer clear of being corny! Think about a monogrammed anything, or commission a charming portrait of your boo’s beloved cat or dog.
With the above things in mind, we have curated a gift guide for all you new lovebirds who aren’t quite sure what to get their SO but want to get them something that meets the moment!
A Practical Gift for When They Sleep Over
As your gf or bf starts spending more time at your place, you naturally begin to share more and adapt to having each other around. If they often find themselves borrowing your essentials, like your toothbrush, or commenting on the lack of certain items like mustard or any other condiment, consider gifting them a collection of must-have things they use or want to have handy at your place. It’s a thoughtful yet simple gesture!
For instance, a pair of PJs meant just for their stay at your house can be a nice touch. This kind of gift shows you’re happy to share your space without going overboard with an extravagant, expensive gift. It’s also a practical way to make life easier for both of you.
Yes, a game! While this might seem a bit pedestrian, it’s not; it’s retro, thank you very much. And playing board games is amazingly fun if you get the right one; you can get closer while playing, and your understanding of each other skyrockets. It’s a thoughtful and not-at-all weirdo gift. Plus, as a bonus, you both can practice and become experts, ready to school everyone else at game nights.
Wine for a Budding Relationship
Opting for wine and glasses can be a smart choice, especially if your relationship is still pretty new and you’re uncertain about gift-giving norms. This choice is thoughtful without being overly sentimental, which could make it weird since it’s still in the early days. Imbibing the wine together, perhaps by a cozy fire, can turn into a fun experience, making it part of the gift. Plus, it’s a gesture that shows effort since it involves spending money, but it’s not too extravagant.
Functional Yet Thoughtful Gifts
Choosing a gift for the first year can be tricky, especially if you’re unsure about opting for something overly romantic. While a big, framed photo of the two of you def seems like too much at this stage, a useful item for their home or workplace could be just the thing. If they are coffee lovers, consider something like a warming coaster or a milk frother. These are practical for daily use at work or home and serve as a subtle reminder of you. It strikes a nice balance between being practical and subtly romantic.
Enroll in a Class
Book a class or an interactive activity that you both are interested in, like a paint-n-sip evening or a pottery-making class—bonus points if it’s the kind of class where you both get to create something to remember the day. But more importantly, it’s about taking the class together and enjoying the experience—together. Shared experiences often hold more value than material gifts like an over-the-top present.
A Book on a Subject They Adore
For your first year together, especially in the early stages of dating, it’s wise to avoid going overboard with gifts. You don’t want to come on too strong, especially if they’re not planning something equally grand (please refer to and learn from my cringy story up top). However, showing that you care and are attentive to their interests is really important, so a book about something they’re passionate about is a great way to do this without being overwhelming. And you spring for the hardcover edition and add a personal touch by writing a lovely note inside.
A Gift That Evolves Over Time
This one is inspired by my parents, who’ve been in love for 55 years. In their early days, my dad gave my mom a charm bracelet. Each year, he added a new charm. If you’re considering jewelry, opting for something small yet significant is better than something large and blingy. And it doesn’t have to be a charm bracelet—you can adapt it to your person! If they’re the sentimental type, opt for a scrapbook. The idea is to add to it each year, building a significant keepsake of every holiday season you spend together as a couple.
Zip, Zilch, Nada
It’s totally fine to forego gift exchanges for your first Christmas, especially if the relationship is brand new. Gift-giving should feel natural, not forced. If the holidays have come around soon after you started dating, perhaps you go on a date instead of doing the whole gift thing. But having a small gift on hand is a good idea, just in case your partner surprises you with one.
Our Last Thoughts
Navigating your first Christmas (or any other holiday) as a new couple often comes with its own set of expectations.
It seems trite, but honestly, the best present you can give each other is the gift of open communication. Talking about your expectations and needs during the holidays can help alleviate a lot of stress.
And don’t forget to enjoy the moment! Whether it’s volunteering together or stealing kisses under the mistletoe, there are countless ways to make your first holiday season together both memorable and magical, no matter the gifts given or received.