Are you shopping for love on Black Friday?

The harbinger of holiday gift-giving season is almost upon us! The Friday after Thanksgiving (also known as “Black Friday”) triggers some of the best deals offered by retailers each year, sending crowds of frenzied shoppers searching high and low for bargains on gifts for their friends and loved ones leading into the holiday season. And for new couples — say, those who started dating before leftover turkey sandwiches lose their appeal — choosing something that’s appropriate for someone you’ve only known for a short time can be especially challenging.

What gift will make the right impression without putting extra pressure on your budding romance? According to research conducted by University College London, experience gifts are a great way to make sure the object of your affection’s genuinely interested in spending quality time with you — not just the goodies you’ll lavish him or her with over the holidays. And without any bulky packaging, they’re more eco-friendly, too! Here’s a list of ideas to consider…

For Men:

  • Tickets to an upcoming concert or sporting event
  • Cooking classes for two
  • Season passes for a local theme park
  • Ballroom dancing lessons (we recommend learning the Tango’s sensual moves!)

For Women:

  • Golf lessons
  • Tickets to a performing arts event (theater, opera, ballet, etc.)
  • A couples’ massage or spa visit for mani/pedis
  • A home-cooked meal by candlelight

For Anyone:

  • Museum memberships
  • Two-player video games, especially those that require physical activity (Wii, Kinect) or problem-solving together
  • Charitable donations in your date’s name (bonus: they’re tax-deductible!)
  • Pre-paid maid service for the day

Still can’t decide? Don’t worry — there are plenty of options to choose from online at sites like,, and, regardless of your budget.

Remember: This time of year’s meant for celebrating, so try not to become overly stressed about choosing the “perfect” holiday gift. In a Happen magazine poll that asked just over 1,250 men and women what kind of holiday present they expected from someone they’d just started dating, the majority chose “a thoughtful card,” with 39 percent of respondents saying that “it was too soon for gifts.” See? It really is the thought that counts!

If you’d rather pick out something from a brick-and-mortar store, be sure to steer clear of:

  1. Jewelryespecially the kind that comes in tiny square boxes. Do we even need to explain why this is a terrible idea?
  2. Clothing. If it’s the wrong size or something your date would never wear, you’ll be seen as clueless or possibly even rude. Why risk sentencing someone to hours spent waiting in line to exchange something this time of year?
  3. Pets. Even if you’re both animal lovers, it’s still risky. If your date’s keen to add a four-legged friend to the family, buy a gift certificate to help cover the adoption fees instead

Now that we’ve listed our top three gift-giving mistakes, tell us: What’s the absolute worst present you’ve ever gotten from a date during the holidays? How did you deal with it? After all, your comment could save someone else from making a holiday gaffe of their own!


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