If you're one of the lucky survivors of a newly-formed relationship and avoided becoming a victim of the dreaded Turkey Drop, congratulations! But don't celebrate too quickly. Now the pressure's on to pick out that perfect holiday gift. While you don't have to break the bank, you should get your new flame something that shows you put some actual thought into the process. But shopping is a lot harder than you think. Since your new-fangled exclusivity is so fresh, the wrong present could send the wrong message and get you tossed out on your ear. Here are 11 awful gift ideas to get your new lady:
1. Electronics - From iPods to Kindles to a new microwave, if it's got a warranty, it's an appliance -- not a sign of affection. Anything that plugs in, takes batteries or is powered by the sun, no matter how cool you may think it is, will be too impersonal for the first gift-giving exchange in a new relationship.
2. Jewelry - Dating is not the same as marriage, and even the rules of giving back the ring after divorce are muddy, so why got caught up in the big expense of something that may or may not last in the long run? Diamonds are forever, but a new relationship may not be. Wait until a meaningful anniversary to give something shiny.
3. Clothing - Unless you're a successful clothing designer, you're still learning the style AND SIZE of your new mate. Instead of risking a huge fight about the difference between a petite small and a small small, opt for something a little more tailored to their taste than to their waist.
4. Novelty Items - Even if Spencer's Gifts does see a huge influx of customers during the holidays, you don't have to be one of them. A black light poster, Snuggie or lava lamp (see No.1) may be cool in your crib, but anything that elicits a laugh may not be quite the reaction you were hoping for.
5. Sexy Anything - Lingerie, silk boxers and (heaven forbid) sex toys can and will send the wrong message. Especially when your lady's friends ask her what she received for the holidays. Save the kinky stuff until you make it to Valentine's Day.
6. Nothing - Showing up empty-handed is even worse than showing up with a dildo. Even if you're two weeks into a relationship, giving something is always better than nothing. So, if you're stumped on what to get and are only coming up with items from this list, at least make sure it's something, not nothing.
7. Cards - And I don't mean playing cards, either (which would also make a terrible gift). While the simple act of giving a card is better than the dump-worthy gift of nothing, it's still not enough. If you have to give a card, make one yourself. Make it meaningful with photos or showcase your artistic side. Rule of thumb: If someone else is quoted in the card, choose again.
8. Gift Certificates - Practical, necessary and sometimes thoughtful, gift certificates can be a great gift for co-workers, employees and handymen. For anyone you sleep next to... not so much. If you know where they like to shop, get them something from there with a gift receipt, not a blank check to take time out of their day to buy themselves a gift.
9. Home Furnishings - Because nothing says "I don't want to see you anymore" like the gift of a fleece blanket.
10. Lotion - Do not be tempted by the Bed, Bath and Beyond gift basket. Even though the saleslady says women always love it, chances are she already received several from people who don't really give a crap about her. Try to be the exception.
11. Money - You laugh, but it's been done to one of my clients before. Aside from it being kind of totally rude, it shows no originality, no emotion and is really, really lame. If you're that out of ideas to result to giving the gift of green, it may be time to get some professional help.
The best gifts are ones that are personal to your gal or an experience that you can do together. Concert tickets, interesting classes and local excursions will all earn you big points and keep you from falling into the trap of these 11 awful gift ideas.
For more straight talk on dating and relationships Listen to Damona Hoffman live every Wednesday at noon Pacific as she hosts her hit show Dates & Mates, only on UBN Radio.