Regardless of how long you’ve been together, deciding what to get the man in your life can be tricky. We’ve made it easy for you with this gift guide by relationship stage.
He’s your crush and you want to make the first move
When it comes to shopping for the holidays, why is the man in your life (or of the hour) always the most difficult? You want your gift to send exactly the right message — and that’s totally different if you’ve been together for two years than if you’ve had two dates. We get it. Here’s what to get him, based your relationship stage.
Your Strategy: When he’s just a crush, a holiday gift is probably a don’t. But in the spirit of the season (and for an excuse to talk to him), About.com dating expert Bonny Albo recommends something inexpensive and fun that will make him laugh. For a unique and memorable experience, buy your crush miracle berry tablets, which reverse the taste of whatever you’re eating (bitter to sweet, sweet to strangely unfamiliar) with a bag of mixed candies and then try them out together. He’ll associate you with a fun, creative experience — oh, and he’ll be thinking of you when he has something in his mouth. Just sayin’!
You’ve only been out a few times — but you never know…
Your strategy: “You might not continue dating and you really don’t know each other yet, so you don’t want to place a lot of expectation on him,” says Albo. Write a lighthearted note in a fun card with character and include a gift that won’t end up hanging around if you don’t. We recommend the I-just-passed-by-this-and-thought-you-might-like-it-but-no-biggie-if-you-don’t.
You’re friends with benefits
Your strategy: Abe Greenwald, founder of The Man’s Guide to Love.com cautions that giving your FWB a holiday gift might make him fear you’re looking for something more. If your relationship is more “with benefits” then skip the gift entirely. But if you’re as much “friends” as you are “with benefits,” go with a gift that celebrates your experimental relationship. This pack of sexy cards will give you plenty of ideas for stretching your boundaries — and they’re waterproof, so lots of fun in the shower. Plus, even if the novelty wears off before you finish the pack, we bet you’ll learn at least one position to take into your next relationship.
You just became an official couple
Your strategy: Resist the urge to splurge and instead, go for something fun that will help foster your new relationship (and take advantage of the fact that the sex is pretty hot right now!). Try Secret Agent, a role-play game involving gentle (physical) interrogation. “It’s very erotic; you see each other in a completely different way, and you’re asking him questions you might have never thought to ask,” Albo says. If you just can’t picture yourself wielding a feather tickler, the classic game Scruples accomplishes the same purpose. “It’s important to open up a whole conversation about your life and where you are, but the game isn’t meant to be super serious,” says Albo.
You just said “I love you”
Your strategy: Those three little words have kicked your relationship up a notch, so kick up your gift giving, too. Try giving your guy something that will make memories — like attending a big event together. “The gift of a shared experience will make you both happy, and that’s appropriate for when you’re both falling in love,” says Greenwald. If he’s been really wanting to see particular movie or concert (for probably the 100th time), buy some great seats and wrap up the tickets with a cool fan t-shirt he can wear when you go.
You’ve been together a year
Your strategy: You spend time at his place, you know his hobbies and you probably know what he wants the most: the latest, greatest advance in technology. But it can be dangerous to make a technological commitment for your man, and most guys will want to pick it out themselves anyway, says Greenwald. So stay low-tech and thoughtful by upgrading the gear he already owns. Replace the smelly plastic gym bag he’s had forever with a classically masculine toolbag, or find him a cool pair of sunglasses.
You’re long distance
Your strategy: When you’re far away from your flame, keeping the spark alive can be tough. The devices, OhMiBod Club Vibe, (“2.Oh”) is perfect for long-distance lovers. “The main concern in long-distance relationships is communication, and anything that makes two people feel together is a good thing,” says Greenwald. “It’ll keep him connected to you and build intimacy.” Have him make you a playlist and place the wireless remote control in front of your speakers. The remote will pick up on the beat of the song and send good vibrations straight to the slim vibrator. Or try chatting on Skype, so your partner can literally control the action from miles away with his dirty talk! (Yes, it’ll vibrate to the undertones of his voice — seriously!)
You’ve been dating forever…with no ring
Your strategy: If you’re looking to help your guy imagine making a life with you, “it’s positive to spend time together in a domestic way,” says Greenwald. While we wouldn’t suggest going back to a 1950s role-playing attitude, cooking together can be a sensual, sexy way to spend time at home. Treat the cooking each week as foreplay: First you’ll sizzle in the kitchen, then you’ll heat things up in the bedroom.
You just got engaged
Your strategy: You’re about to go hog-wild with the registry gun and wedding planning, so reassure him that his space isn’t going to be transformed into your gift-wrapping room (although wouldn’t that be nice?) with a serious man-cave upgrade. Try this: a digital TV box which gives him instant access to lots of channels, and can also make him play video games with a remote. Bonus perk: you’ll love it too — this tiny, quick device gives him the best of the internet to snort at with his buddies, and when he’s not around to enforce the “no girls allowed” rule, you can enjoy your favorite shows.
Your strategy: You’re in it for the long haul, and that’s something to celebrate. Having special bottles of wine to enjoy on the next holiday is a fun way to look forward to your marriage standing the test of time. Try this set of top-quality California reds: Enjoy the Twomey Cellars’ textured Merlot this year, and open the Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon right around your 10th anniversary, when it should hit its peak. “It’ll be fun for your guy to look back at where you two were at 10 years ago and recount the many memories shared leading up to that moment,” says Thomas Edwards, the founder of The Professional Wingman.
You’ve been married for a few years and want something fun
Your strategy: Since the holiday season can be stressful with traveling, families and endless dinner parties, make this gift all about the two of you. The sexy lace thong wraps up the greatest present of all (that would be you!), while the two vibrating toys — one for each of you — let you come up with multiple ways to play. Have him open it before you celebrate and make it your mission to find a way to try it out — even if you’re at your folks’ house for the holiday.
You just had a baby
Your strategy: Sadly, we were unable to find you an incredibly cheap, reliable and experienced nanny available for purchase this year (we know that’s what you both want more than anything!) If dad’s been overwhelmed and is feeling a bit left out, making him the photographer is the perfect way to include him in the new-baby phase. And if ever there was an excuse for splurging on a new camera, your adorable baby is it.
You’ve been married for 10 years
Your strategy: “If you’ve been together a long time, you often start giving each other practical things, but you still have to remember that the holidays are for surprising gifts, too,” says Albo. Keep things fresh by taking your partner out of his everyday element and go somewhere totally new together. (Note: hubby will appreciate you packing some lingerie, too.)