The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Shopping for your new boo? Don’t get something that might outlast you two.

If you’re going to gift an experience, such as a concert, just make sure it’s not too far in the future. (iStock)
Placeholder while article actions load

It has been years since I’ve given a significant other (or nearly significant other) a gift around the holidays. But I imagine that figuring out what to give can be trickiest in the beginning stages of dating. When you don’t know whether you’ll be together till Groundhog Day, what do you give someone during the December holidays?

Let’s start by saying that gift-giving is optional. But if you’re planning to, giving an experience might be safer than a tangible item. After all, you don’t want to give something that might last longer than the two of you. So I present to you: the experiential gift.

“You don’t want to choose anything that’s too expensive or too far in the future,” says Laurie Davis, chief executive of eFlirt, an online dating consultancy. Concert tickets are great, she says, but aim for a smaller show over a huge one. And pick something that’s a week or two out, Davis advises, not months into the new year. (Each of you could be on to someone else by then!)

“The great thing about experiences,” Davis says, “is that they create memories.” And you should start creating memories if you do see yourself together over the long term. “While going to dinner and drinks together is great,” she adds, “it doesn’t give a snapshot of your life in the way an experience might.”

Davis remembers that first Christmas she and her now-husband celebrated — they’d been together about two months and were exclusive at that point. She gave him tickets to see Owl City. “Every time we were in the car, we used to listen to their CD,” she said. He made her a jewelry box and inside he filled it with candy and words cut out of paper that described their relationship. “It was a really sweet gift,” she recalls.

Another option, recommended by Express dining editor Holley Simmons, is the pop-up dinner or restaurant — an experience as ephemeral as your connection might prove to be. Pop Up Republic tracks pop-up dinners happening around the United States. Try Dinner Lab, a traveling supper club in the United States, or Eat With, which hosts supper clubs around the world. That way, Simmons says, if you two don’t last, you won’t get that sinking feeling in your stomach every time you pass that restaurant where you shared a romantic meal — because it no longer exists.

Looking for something a little more adventurous? Try indoor skydiving; iFly has locations around the United States and is opening in Ashburn, Va., in early 2016. Actual skydiving has a till-death-do-we-part connotation you might not be ready for. But an indoor version seems like it could spur the kinds of memories Davis is talking about.


How to grocery shop for one person

Let me introduce you to my imaginary children

The office holiday party: More awkward than meeting the parents