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A Present is Worth a Thousand Words: What a Gift Says About Your Relationship

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The holiday season has finally arrived, and with it comes festive parties (hello, candy cane cocktails!), delicious fare (potato latkes, anyone?) and glee-filled gift-giving (who doesn’t love a white elephant party?). Yet, while giving gifts can fill your heart with warmth and joy as you watch your loved ones tear open those carefully-wrapped presents, it can also bring anxiety as you try to decipher what to give everyone on your list. And it only gets harder when it comes to giving a gift to a new love interest!

So, since we all could use a little advice on what gifts really mean when they’re coming from a significant other, check out the gifting-pedia below for definitions of what certain gift choices may say about your relationship:

  • A Jacket = “You’d look much better in this cut.”

While giving clothing is fun, it may come off as though you’re saying, “You’d look much better in this cut/color.” If you don’t give your new mate clothing that matches their personal style, you’re saying you want to see them in something different, which may signal that you’re trying to change them. Whether there’s any truth to it or not, it’s best to stick to non-descript accessories when giving gifts. Perhaps something like…

  • Mittens = “You warm my heart.”

Mittens are a sweet and thoughtful way to say, “I like you… a lot!” Unlike jackets, sweaters or boots, mittens typically come in just a few styles (meaning you can’t screw up and get your hipster boyfriend a pair that looks like it belongs on an investment banker). And if you are lucky enough to receive a pair, it means the object of your affection wants to warm your fingers like you’ve warmed their heart.

  • Candles = “I know nothing about you.”

I once got a wrought iron candle holder from my college boyfriend. I opened it and wondered “What about me screams candles?” Unless you’re some kind of candle-maven, this gift basically screams unoriginal and may mean you don’t know each other well enough to pick out something more personal.

  • Concert Tickets = “You make my heart sing.”

If your mate surprises you with a pair of concert tickets for a big show they knew you would love, you’ve found a keeper! Not only did they think about what you would actually like, but they’re also making fun plans with you in the future, so you can be sure they’re in this for the long-term)!

  • Gift Cards = “I didn’t care enough to actually go out and buy you a present.”

The gift card is the relationship kiss-off. Giving this gift basically says you are either lazy or just didn’t care enough to put any thought into your present. Do not give this gift! You can do better.

  • A Box of Chocolates = “You’re the sweetest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.”

Giving sweets to your sweet signals your relationship is so yummy that your mate’s love is about to give you a sugar rush! If your partner is associating you with the deliciousness that can only be found in a box of chocolates, then you have certainly found a satisfying relationship. But  just as eating the entire box of candies in one weekend will make you crash, moving too fast in your relationship may leave you with a similar result!

  • Basketball Season Tickets = “I’ll pretend to like anything you like.”

As a huge University of Kansas basketball fan, I would personally love it if someone bought me season tickets. However, if the person you’re dating suddenly becomes obsessed with your hobbies, going as far as to buy you tickets to a sporting event they previously didn’t even know existed, then you may be dating a people-pleaser with no hobbies of their own. Take it as a compliment, but suggest your partner join a book club, karate class or writing program to get a handle on who they really are!

  • A Homemade Gift Certificate = “I’m broke, but you mean the world to me.”

Let’s be real, homemade gifts have become a lot more popular since the recession hit. Drafting a “Free Home-cooked Meal” certificate is a sweet and inexpensive way to show you care. If you’re going to give this gift, make sure you follow through with your promise or your partner may think you are unreliable.

  • Expensive Jewelry = “I want to impress you.”

Ah, every girl’s dream! While we usually love anything that sparkles, this gift can also say, “I want to impress you,” or worse, “I messed up – please forgive me!” Give this gift with caution — once you’ve given something expensive, you can’t go back! After receiving a Tiffany’s bracelet, no one wants to follow up with an 80s-throwback snap bracelet.

  • An Engagement Ring = “I’m madly in love with you.”

So you wake up on a magnificent Saturday morning to find Mr. Right has made you breakfast in bed, and at the bottom of your mimosa is the most brilliant diamond ring you’ve ever seen! If you’re madly in love and have been waiting for this moment, then a mazel tov is in order! Congratulations – you’ve just discovered the gift of true love.

Rachel is JDate’s Community Manager. She’s here to break down the rules of dating, share first date tips and offer words of encouragement when dating gets tough. Hit up her Tumblr page for more insightful advice. Or, learn what makes Rachel tick by visiting her JDate profile!
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