The holidays are stressful. Not because you’ve put any more than the bare minimum effort into your finals, but because you put the bare minimum effort into your relationship. Whether you’re figuring out what to get your girl, or even if you should get her anything at all, you will probably fuck up regardless. She either hasn’t been upfront about what she wants, she has been up front about it and you haven’t paid attention, or she has been upfront about it and it just wasn’t realistic. No matter the circumstance, it’s looking like a losing battle.
Dating 1-3 months
First thing is determining where you and your girl stand. Have you met during the tail end of summer or the beginning of the semester? Have y’all been hooking up since day one, but known each other less than six months? Well then congrats. If you get her a “real” gift, both of you are psychos and need to learn how to calm the fuck down. Get her a nice dinner, take her out ice skating and pose with her holding hot cocoa. That’s it. Dude, she’s barely your girlfriend. I don’t care how in lust with her you are, you do not know her well enough to make a big deal out of your first holiday when your relationship is only a few months old. Save that shit for Valentine’s Day — if you even make it.
Dating 1-6 months, friends for more
The next scenario is that you have known her for a while before you guys made it official. The relationship is still new, but at least you have a year or more of friendship to fall back on. This calls for something a little more meaningful. I’m going to assume you know at least a few bullet points about her, or else you are a trash human. Tailor a full day’s date around those interests. I’m not talking about “chill” date ideas either, like sucking it up and watching Gossip Girl at home with her with only minimal complaining. I’m talking waking her up with her go to Starbucks order, taking her to her favorite Insta worthy date spots (mini golf, picnic, Build a Bear Workshop, etc), going to her favorite restaurant and preordering the dessert she always wants but feels “too bad” to order herself, and closing it out to see a movie she really wants to see but you don’t really care for. If you want extra credit you can continue it by stargazing or some other romantic shit like that. Do what Ruxin would call a “terrific lady day.” Point is, when the relationship is new, a perfect day is better than a present.
Dating 6 months- 1 year
After you have been dating a while, these over the top dates tend to lose their luster. Especially if your go to “I fucked up and I’m sorry” strategy is taking her on this type of date. In that case, you need something that will spark envy in the hearts of her friends. The all-time perfect gift for your girlfriend at this stage is a road trip to visit her best friend at a different school. Of course, this is assuming that her best friend lives far enough away so that she doesn’t see her that often, but also close enough that you can make the drive. Because it’s a nice gesture, you can even ask the friend to meet y’all halfway honestly.
This works best if her best friend also has a boyfriend because lord knows they’ve been talking about having the “perfect double date” for the past decade, but that’s not entirely necessary. If the best friend does have a boyfriend, however, one-upping him is the name of the game. Make the other guy look like a tool compared to you. Your girlfriend’s friends at your college know you. The real you. They’re the girls who hear about every little insensitive comment you make or promise you’ve broken. They’re also the ones who miss your girlfriend’s single side and, let’s face it, if you were a good enough boyfriend for them not to encourage her to dump your ass, you wouldn’t be relying on this article. They’re the ones who do not have your back in any situation. But far away best friend? Her only impression of you is how fucking amazing you were for that one weekend. That’s all you need. One weekend of maximum effort to have that girl gushing about you to your girlfriend for the next year.
Dating 2+ years
Finally, if you’ve been dating your girl for a few years and you still don’t know what to get her, I’m not sure why she’s still with you. I really can’t help you with meaningful, unique gifts here, unless you want to be that nauseating couple that gets each other blankets with your fucking faces on it. Some lower key thoughtful presents (if you guys are more comfortable now and no longer feel the need to flex) include:
1. Buying her a complete restock of her crafting supplies so she can be fully prepared for big/little season
2. Getting her a present that represents your first date, first kiss, or first “I love you”
3. Winc.com wine club subscription. It’s relatively cheap but will make her feel ~fancy~
4. Spa day. You’re going too, by the way. She’ll appreciate your nasty toes not stabbing her in the middle of the night.
5. A nice dress for her to wear for when you take her to her favorite winter musical or ballet
Prepare next year, guys. It’s really not that hard..