“If you’ve been dating for a short time, like three months or less, then spending too much can be a bit creepy,” relationship coach Cathryn Mora tells Bustle. “I’d suggest cooking a nice candlelit meal at home. You could suggest playing a ‘get to know you’ game or share your favorite music. This is a good opportunity to spend quality time together and get to know each other better in a non-distracting setting. You also won’t spend too much, which can be deemed a bit inappropriate too early on by some people.”
And even if you don’t like cooking, you’ll be fine. There are plenty of easy (and cheap) gifts that you can get someone during the early stages of a relationship. From things to do together to just little thoughtful gestures, you can mark the holiday without it being a big deal. Here are some ideas if you’re feeling lost.
1. Your Favorite Book Or Movie
If you want to get to know each other a lot better, this is a great way to do just that. Swapping copies of your favorite book or movie is a sweet gesture that makes for a low-key gift — but will give you some real insight into your compatibility.
2. Concert Tickets
If you’re still in the early stages of dating, concert tickets are a great option — because it’s basically just like planning another date, even if it’s a little pricier than you would normally spend. Just take your time together into consideration, because booking a concert six months in advance may look a little weird if you’ve only been out four times.
3. A New Sex Toy
If you’re already having some great sex, there’s no reason you can’t start your relationship off with a little experimentation. And a sex toy like Fin, a fingertip vibrator, is great for couples — it’s not intimidating, you can both enjoy it, and it though it is small, it is mighty.
4. A Homemade Dinner
Like Mora says, if one of you loves to cook, making a nice meal is an easy present. It shows thoughtfulness and effort, but it also marks the occasion without being overkill for the early days of dating.
5. Make Chocolates Together
If neither of you are natural cooks, maybe you can learn something together. There are plenty of courses for everything from making chocolates to dumplings, so find one that suits you. Voila Chocolat will just let you decorate some delicious creations, if cooking seems like to much of a stretch!
6. Plan A Picnic
Pack a picnic — or get them all the supplies to make one together. With just a basket and the right blanket, like these you can get on Amazon, you’re already halfway there.
7. An Acupressure Mat
I can fully endorse this product because I have it and love it. If your partner is stressed out or a gym lover, this is a cheap and cheerful gift that says “I’m thinking of you” without being too much.
8. A Day Out
This is probably a better option if you have a month or two under your belt, but planning a day together is a really nice way to put in some effort without anything feeling cringe-worthy. It can be as chilled out as you want — even just a walk in the park and dinner or a movie will do. Plus, it will take the pressure off gifts.
9. Massage Oil
A simple present that will let them know exactly what’s on your mind, this definitely falls into the fun and playful option — and that’s perfect for early in your relationship.
Picking out gifts is tricky, especially early on in the relationship. Keep it simple and stress-free — there are plenty of options that are thoughtful without being too much. And if you want to go big, remember that there’s always next year.