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20-40-60 Etiquette: Looking for an appropriate gift for a new date

QUESTION: I had my first date with a new woman on Dec. 5. We have plans to go out several more times this month. Since “tis the season,” would it be impolite of me not to get her a Christmas gift? Or, since I don’t know her very well yet, should I skip the trauma of trying to find something appropriate?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: How thoughtful of you to even think about the appropriateness of either. You could do something small: Flowers are always a perfect gift to send. Or you could gift her Champagne and say something nice about celebrating the season together. If it’s more trauma for you, skip the gift and enjoy time together.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I think you have to go with your heart on this one. A big gift or major production for someone you’re just getting to know seems like overkill, but if you are interested in her and are planning several additional dates, it would be nice for you to put some thought into doing something for her for the holidays. A hand-picked card with a short note from you falls into this category. So does a festive evening out for dinner and looking at Christmas lights or some flowers. You’re just getting to know her so don’t stress about it or make it expensive. Just look for a meaningful way to connect or acknowledge that you’re having a nice time together.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Most women love gifts and the thoughtfulness that goes into gift giving. But, since you are just getting to know her, flowers, a bottle of her favorite wine or a holiday-decorated gift is probably the way to go. Enjoy her company during the holidays! Have fun! And Merry Christmas!

GUEST’S ANSWER: Brandon Bixler, commercial lending officer, NBC Oklahoma: The answer is found in the question. If you are planning to go out “several more times this month” and you are truly interested, then you should provide her with a Christmas gift.

I would be selective with the gift and determine the message it is sending. I would stay away from any sort of big gift or jewelry — this would be too quick in the process. The perfect Christmas present would be providing a holiday date. This opportunity would show you are interested in pursuing a relationship further and allow her to see your leadership and creativity. The date should be an experience she will remember.

Some recommended ideas would include ice skating, seeing a Christmas play, looking at Christmas lights or hot chocolate and a Hallmark Christmas movie (I know they all end the same, but you are trying to win this girl).

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email helen.wallace@cox.net.

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