Get the right gift, and it’s smooth sailing in that relationship until it’s birthday time or Valentine’s Day, then you’re screwed all over again.Pick the wrong gift, and you won’t have to wait for the horrific day mid-February to experience humiliation and pain. We’ve compiled a handy list of some gifts to avoid for those who are just starting in a relationship during the holiday season.
Well, sports fans, it’s the holiday season again, and even though there are a full two months before Christmas day, people are saying “it’s Christmas time.” Gently leaping over Thanksgiving, barely giving Halloween a howdy, Hanukkah a hale, Santa Lucia a look-see, and moving right into the most lucrative time of the year.
There are Christmas decorations in your local Walmart and Walgreens, Walshop, and Walrestaurant; on your Walcar radio the season’s songs are already playing. Everywhere there are signs of the blessed day: stress, panic, fear, insecurity, and depression: Ho, Ho, holy cow.
Listen, we’re not here to fight any of that. No sir, we love Christmas, and when we go to the Waldoctor, we love that they give out candy canes even in the moist ruinous heat of August. So, yay, Christmas, bring it on.
At ThoughtLab, we’re here to help you through the holidays, and specifically, we want to solve one of the most challenging situations anyone will face during this magical season. A situation that, when posed to Socrates, made him reply, “Take the hemlock.” We will attempt to solve the age-old conundrum:
“We’ve only been dating for three weeks; what do I get them for Christmas?”
Finding The Right Gift
Unlike the right stuff, which can be proven by a myriad of tests and a flight into outer space, the right gift is far more elusive and paradoxical, much like a rice cake. Get the right gift, and it’s smooth sailing in that relationship until it’s birthday time or Valentine’s Day, then you’re screwed all over again.
Pick the wrong gift, and you won’t have to wait for the horrific day mid-February to experience humiliation and pain.
But, it’s the thought that counts, you’ll say. Oh, you poor, poor SOB. That’s not true at all, and frankly, it’s never been true. It’s the price tag, the prestige, the approval of friends and family, and the culmination of a quasi-mathematical calculation that would render Einstein comatose.
It consists of some hidden meaning to the gift multiplied by the amount of money someone else’s significant other spent, divided by the amount of time you’ve been dating, dragged through the coefficient of neediness portrayed by said gift, and vectored by the slope formula of social media likes, views, and comments.
Take the hemlock.
Fear not, intrepid gift-givers, nascent relationshippers, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a handy list of some gifts to avoid for those who are just starting in a relationship and experiencing all that excitement and wonder, joy, and surprise that could be cut down like a high school freshman wearing last decade’s trends on the first day of school by bad gifting.
The Gift of Animals
I’ll get them a puppy, you think, who doesn’t love a puppy? People who hate dogs, for one. Anyone that doesn’t want great grandma’s hand-knit afghan chewed back to its original anatomical state for another.
The puppy idea feels romantic but, is it? Look, the puppy has no desire to get in the middle of your romantic failures. If they accept the dog, and then you break up, they are stuck with a slobbering, pooping, albeit adorable reminder of what once was and could have been. Suddenly, your one-time significant hopeful is feeding and watering, grooming, and walking, a growing symbol of relationship failure.
Her friends will greet the poor Canis lupus familiaris with “Is this the dog he gave you, gag.” And his friends will assail him with, “Dude, are you really keeping this thing she gave you?” Stuck in the middle will be the poor animal not knowing what they did wrong and sniffing the garden for hemlock.
If you must give an animal, give something large and hilarious. A musk oxen or a yak make the perfect gift. The milk of the yak alone yields butter and soap. And a musk ox just looks cool. On top of that, both creatures are too large to get attached to with the immediacy of a puppy, so returning them won’t be an emotional strain.
The Gift of Jewelry
A necklace, a bracelet, a brooch, if you're dating someone from the Victorian era, all sound like good ideas. However, jewelry is not for the newly relationshipped. It comes with so many pitfalls and underlying significance that even those who have been married for decades stumble when attempting the gift of jewelry.
Does it say too much? Will this necklace be the symbol of your clinging, cloying neediness shackled about her neck? Will this bracelet show that you have no idea his tastes and consign him to months of mockery and abuse by friends, family members, and total strangers? That little box of golden bling is actually a minefield of horror and death.
If you’re determined, cocky, and willing to flout fate and give the gift of jewelry, keep an eye on the recipient and have one of these phrases at the ready:
- If you give it to them and see they are contemplating the cost compared to what they have for you, quickly assure them it was not expensive; usually, the phrase, “No worries, I took it off a dead guy,” works.
- If upon receiving the jewelry, you see that he has no idea why you would give him such a thing, soothe his worry with, “It’s just a joke, your real gift is coming in the mail; it was just delayed by the supply chain mess up.” Then you have the option of buying something else or moving to Paraguay.
- If she’s giving you a this is way too serious for where we are in our relationship vibe, an easy escape is, “oh no, that was for my mother, I must have put the wrong tag on your gift. Mom sure is going to be surprised by what she gets.” Then you have the option of buying something else or moving to Paraguay.
If they say they love it...move to Paraguay.
The Gift of Clothing
Nothing says you dress like a carpetbagger fresh off the boat from Slobovia, like giving clothing to a guy.
Equally, nothing says you have great taste, but I really wish you’d dress like a tin sandwich eatin’ hooker like giving clothing to a girl. In the realm of a new relationship, the only thing more precarious than giving jewelry is giving clothing.
When you give clothing, you risk hearing this for the rest of the relationship; “Why don’t you ever wear the (insert item) I gave you for Christmas?” Then you have to have a “talk.” Frankly, at any point in a relationship, a “talk” is never a good thing.
It’s too soon. You risk insulting them or showing yourself to be utterly void of fashion sense and taste. If you feel compelled to buy clothing, stick with an outrageously offensive poncho you bought at South of the Border. At least you’ll get the laugh.
The Gift of Travel
Why not arrange for a lovely destination you two can go to together, get closer, understand each other, and spend time alone just discovering the wonders of the relationship?
Two words; Murder/suicide. Moving on.
The Gift of Meat
Really? Apart from the obvious sexual connotations of giving a summer sausage, what could be more callous than saying “Merry Christmas, here’s food!” Why not just give a box of instant potatoes or a sleeve of microwavable burritos?
In a burgeoning relationship, a Hickory Farms meat splay isn’t going to cut it.
More Gifts to Avoid
Obviously, this is a problem that we’re having trouble solving. Here are a few more things to avoid giving your perhaps significant other this holiday season.
- Gift cards: Couldn’t be bothered to put time into thinking about what you may enjoy, have fun at taco Bell.
- Candy: Now, what have you got up your sleeve for Valentine’s Day?
- Experiential: Sure, we’ll skydive. And, my shute won’t open, and I can curse your soul all the way to terminal velocity.
- Drugs: Good luck doing that nickel in Chino, of course; I’ll wait for you.
- Liquor: Is this the only way you can be intimate with me? Alternatively, do you think you may have a problem?
- Plush Toys: Thanks, because I’m 11. Alternatively, do you think you may have a problem?
- A parasol: What??!!!
- Something handmade: You cheap-ass m*ther-f***ker, you couldn’t spend a few bucks on an actual gift??
- Baked goods: Have yourself a merry diabetic coma…
- Just a card: Sure, that’s fine, but you better be frickin’ Wordsworth when you scribe the joyful, emotional, moment-capturing message in the card. Otherwise, it’s just the same card that uncle Frank got for that bar skank he met in Boca last summer on his lost weekend.
Forget The Gifts
Obviously, there is a reason this problem has persisted for so many centuries; it’s unsolvable.
Here’s our best advice; don’t get involved with anyone romantically less than two months before Christmas or any other major gift-giving holiday. Avoid it at all costs.
If you happen to get involved under the specified time limit, fake your own death and then, after the holiday, claim it was some bad clams you ate at the office Christmas party. If you don’t work in an office, get hired at one immediately. If you work remotely, better still make a video of yourself choking on a clam and dropping off-screen.
Or, take the hemlock.
Or, better still, move to Paraguay.
Oh, wait, what about toiletries...