Gifts For People You Just Started Dating


Welcome to this year’s Jezebel Gift Guide! I know we haven’t been together that long — it’s only Dec. 5, after all — but I just got you a little something. No really, it’s nothing — unless you got me something really nice, in which case I thought long and hard before carefully selecting it. C’mon, open it!

A beret

In all seriousness, buying a gift for someone you recently started dating is tough. You don’t want to freak them out by getting something too expensive, nor do you want to come across as boring and inconsiderate by getting something completely generic. Ideally, a gift for a new dating partner should convey that you like them, but not that you are a crazy clingy weirdo who is going to get their face tattooed on your face. One solution: the beret. An ex of mine got me a nice wool beret for Christmas a few months after we started dating, and it was a great low-pressure, high-yield gift. A hat is something your new girlfriend/dating partner/person of interest can wear a lot, but it doesn’t require you to know her size, or to spend a lot of money. The one above is $27.95, but you can find others for significantly less. You can buy a beret for your new boyfriend too (perhaps in a newsboy style), but first make sure he’s the type of guy who wears hats. Just point out a dude in a classy hat and if your guy does not express a desire to punch that guy, you should be safe.

A book

A book is both thoughtful and inexpensive, and if you’ve been on more than a couple dates and are reading types, you’ve probably discussed literary tastes (if you’re not reading types, maybe try a nice art book). The best gift books are books that also look attractive, making graphic novels a great choice. If I was your new girlfriend, I would love to get a copy of Charles Burns’s X’ed Out, or maybe The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (I know, the latter is not technically a novel). But use your judgment — and if you buy from an independent bookstore, you can feel good about yourself too.


Tickets make a great low-pressure gift because it’s basically just like asking someone out on a nice date, a date you planned and paid for in advance. Whether you buy tickets to a show your special friend has been talking about, or seek out something else she may think is cool, it’s hard to go wrong with this one — unless you buy Nickelback tickets, in which case no one should date you.

A chunk of bismuth

You guys, bismuth is beautiful! And way cheaper and less commitment-y than the diamonds they’re always telling you to get your whoever for Christmas. Also, if you place bismuth next to pyrite something terrible happens, at least according to the little warning label on mine. Bismuth is a great gift for anyone who likes gems, science, pretty things, or making the world explode — so basically, everyone.

Unusual candy

Today we got an email at Jezebel that read, “I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU CANDIES.” Yes, we candies! Everybody candies, really, but getting your sweetie a box of Christmas-themed chocolates from the drugstore might be a little bit lame. Instead, try a five-pound bag of frogs, a box of gummi hamburgers, or perhaps, to show your love, a candy bleeding heart.

A shadow puppet

In the past, I’ve gotten these rad shadow puppets for friends, but they’d also make great gifts for a new beau/belle with a sense of whimsy. With robot, T. rex, Diplodocus, mermaid, fairy, owl, and yeti choices, the Owly Shadow Puppets Etsy store has something for every taste (as long as you like shadow puppets). Giving your new personfriend one of these doesn’t scream “OMG I love you let’s get married this second” — instead, it says, “you are a cool person who deserves to have a T. rex shadow on your wall.”

A cool patch

Tucked inside a cute card, an awesome patch can be a low-key yet unique present. Perhaps the lady you’re seeing could use a frog cupcake to iron onto her jacket. Or maybe your dude needs a bicycle to sew onto his pants where his bike-chain ripped them. And if you’re dating a brony, this My Little Fluttershy can’t fail.

A vintage toy

If you’re at the stage where you’ve talked about childhood memories, a vintage toy can make a thoughtful but easy gift. The internet offers up a plethora of toys from the past, many of them at very low prices (as long as you’re not worrying about things being in mint condition — which if you just started dating the recipient, you shouldn’t be). On Etsy alone, you can purchase this badass Donatello, a variety of Star Wars guys, or a troll doll who is ready for his camping trip. You can even find Waldo. With a little digging you can probably find a toy to feed almost anyone’s appetite for nostalgia.

Images via Nicemonkey, MarcelClemens/

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