Oh Dana!
I’ve been dating my girlfriend for a few months. This will be our first holiday together. I’m clueless when it comes to gift giving. She keeps telling me not to get her anything. I don’t want to disappoint her. Where do I start?
Clueless for Christmas

Dear Clueless for Christmas,
Let’s start with how sweet and thoughtful you are for not wanting to disappoint your girlfriend. It sounds like you’re an attentive partner who is concerned for the needs of the people in your life. I’m glad you’re not falling for the trap when your girlfriend says, “don’t get me anything.” Any woman that says that is just testing you. I have a friend who had a husband who like you was clueless in the gift giving department. He kept asking her for weeks leading up to her birthday trying to get hints on what to give her. Did she want a party? Did she want a vacation? Did she want jewelry? Everything was answered with, “I have everything I need, baby. Don’t get me anything.” When her birthday came around and he didn’t do anything for her, all hell broke loose. I think they slept in separate rooms for months and the silent treatment almost cost them the marriage. The moral of the story: Always give a gift. Like my mother said, “Never show up empty handed.”
So back to that. The gift you give should be based on the type of person she is and the way you feel about her. Think about her interests. What are her hobbies? Is there something that you can get her that will bring her passion and joy? For example, if she’s a self-care girl, a spa day or a massage would be appropriate. If she’s athletic, maybe a package to her favorite yoga studio with a new fitness outfit. What about a surprise weekend away to an intimate Bed & Breakfast? Take some time to think about what she likes and align the gift with those interests in mind. Is she a sentimental girl? If so, a picture collage of the two of you might be nice or one of those customized mugs with your faces on it. Is she a bag and shoe girl? If that’s the case, maybe buy that designer bag that she’s been eyeing, but won’t splurge for.
Need some more ideas? Recruit friends or family to give you input. The people who are closest to her and have known her the longest should have some great ideas for you.
The holidays are about sharing your love, making the people in your life feel special and celebrating together. So often we get lost in the commercialization of the holiday that we forget about the spirit of the season. The relationship that you two have is the real gift, but that doesn’t mean you show up empty handed. You’ll think of something. You’ve got this.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

Dana Buckmir aka “Oh, Dana!” Dana is the author of the memoir “Plenty of Laughs: One Woman’s Journey Navigating the Online Dating Waters. The book is a comical account on dating in the age of technology, including the compelling story of finding love online. You can find a sample of her book at wants to help people with their lives, love, and everything in-between! She is taking your questions at All submissions are anonymous.