Woman upset over holiday gift-giving crisis: 'Please help'

In The Know
·6 min read

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Group Chat is In The Know’s advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media, wellness, shopping, beauty and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here anonymously, and we’ll do our best to reply.

Hi, Group Chat,

Recently, I started officially dating this guy and he’s really great! We started talking before quarantine but immediately had to switch to a digital relationship. With the holidays coming up, I’ve already started thinking of gifts. What’s a great gift to give someone who you definitely like, but you don’t even know if it’s going to be long term? Should I be buying expensive gifts already? Please help!!!!!

Sincerely,

Hopeless Romantic in 2020

Dear Hopeless Romantic,

Jamé Jackson, who loves gifts and personally would love all of them, says… When it comes to gifts, take it from someone who would much rather give a gift card rather than an actual present out of fear she’ll give them something they don’t want: You have to read the room. Sure, you want to give them something that shows your appreciation. Sure, you two have been “dating” for some time now and have probably gotten pretty close. But like, is this a forever thing? A quarantine thing? Put yourself in their shoes and try to think about what they might get you. I know some people don’t agree with that philosophy but honey, I am not getting someone a $150 gift, when all I might get is $20 in return. That’s a business loss, baby.

Talk to your person and ask them straight-up questions about gifting this holiday season. Maybe both of you can establish a budget of how much to spend. That said, one gift you can never go wrong with is headphones. Everyone is listening to music and who doesn’t like some headphones? These headphones from Amazon are top-rated among consumers. The best part is they’re affordable enough that you won’t feel like you’ve made a huge sacrifice, but also expensive enough to feel like you did a lil’ something-something.

Shop my pick:

Srhythm Noise Cancelling Headphones, $59.99

Amazon
Amazon

Katie Dupere, who always gets in trouble with her loved ones for buying extravagant gifts, says… The essence of gift giving, which I think a lot of people forget, is giving a present you think the person could use or you just know they’ll love. Even as someone who spoils their loved ones during the holidays, I know deep down that the best gifts I’ve ever received show that the person really took time and consideration in their selection. Rather than telling you to buy a certain cologne or an expensive watch, I think it’s best to reflect on the conversations you’ve had and get creative.

If he’s a writer, get him a Moleskine where he can jot down his best ideas, and add a cute note in the beginning for a personal touch. If he’s a plant lover, buy him a new bud to add to his collection (pilea peperomioides are unique and easy to keep alive!). If he’s a cooking buff, buy a cookbook and mark all the recipes you want to make together when quarantine is over.

Most importantly, spend the amount that feels right to you — and what makes sense for your financial situation. And don’t you dare feel guilty about it.

Shop my picks:

Moleskine Classic Notebook, $17.08 (Orig. $19.95)

Amazon
Amazon

Pilea Peperomioides Houseplant, $29

The Sill
The Sill

“The Red Rooster Cookbook” by Marcus Samuelsson, $26.55

Amazon
Amazon

Madison Alcedo, whose love language is gift giving, says… While I’m all about the sentimental gifts, I agree with Katie that it’s all about listening and remembering little tidbits from your conversations to help guide your gift selection. Yes, you might not be with them #forever, but you can have fun with it right now! If giving gifts to people you’re close to makes you happy, then I say go for it! If I’ve learned anything from long term relationships, it’s listening. is. key.

So obviously I don’t know about y’all’s inside jokes or deep conversations, so my fall-back gift for you would definitely be a Homesick candle from the state or city that he’s from to remind him of home. It’s something personal, that’s not too cheesy, and you can even write your own message on them now (if you want to get that personal!). It’s actually the first gift that I gave my boyfriend for his birthday after only three months of dating because I couldn’t help myself, OK! Like I said, gift giving is my love language…

Shop my pick:

Homesick Candles, $34

Homesick
Homesick

Ari Bines, who saw this question and was highly annoyed, says… Absolutely not! Do not spend a dime on this person. That is great that you found someone you can talk to and that you really enjoy their (virtual) company. But, chiiiiillleee, if you don’t know whether or not the relationship is going to be long-term (or if they are going to get you a gift in return for that matter), it’s not worth dipping into your bank account… especially not while we’re in a pandemic.

But if you’re really committed to getting them something nice, don’t spend more than $20 for it (that includes shipping and handling). Maybe get a $15 beard wash from Reuzel or even a $12 beer chiller will suffice — something that screams more stocking stuffer than an actual present. But expensive gifts in a mostly virtual relationship that you have no idea is going to last very long is just not worth it. Save your coin for something you really want for the holidays, but don’t go spending your money on people who aren’t necessarily a steady or for sure thing.

Shop my picks:

Reuzel Clean And Fresh Beard Wash, $15

Reuzel
Reuzel

Beer Chillers, Set Of 2, $11.99

Amazon
Amazon

If you liked this article, check out our last Group Chat, and click here to submit your own question.

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