Relationships 101:
What to get your fella for the holidays

by Bonnie Burton

So you're standing in the middle of the mall wondering if you should buy your boyfriend a brand new telescope or a gift certificate to the nearest music store. What do you do? Get him a membership to the Video-Game-Of-The-Month Club? A subscription to Thrasher magazine? A pet iguana? If you're at a complete loss about the perfect gift for your fella, try following these simple suggestions.

Do your research.
Sometimes just asking him what he wants for the holidays, may get you the ever-vague response, "I don't know." This means you have to seriously make an effort to find out what hobbies and interests he has. You should probably already know these things about your boyfriend, unless you're extremely self-centered. Once you discover that he loves to surf on weekends, or spends hours painting portraits of lizards, you'll be able to narrow down possible presents.

Be observant.
Remember when you walked past the Psychic Bookstore and he sighed and said he wished he had his own deck of tarot cards? Or when you were watching cartoons and he said how he misses watching vintage episodes of Hong Kong Phooey? Sometimes the best gift ideas come from past events and experiences you've shared together. Think back when he was excited about something. Chances are he'll appreciate a gift more if he knows you were paying special attention.

Don't buy him what you want.
Ever get a gift from one of your friends who just wants to borrow it the minute you open the box? If he doesn't want the new Crash Bandicoot game then don't get it for him just because you want to play it. The same goes for music, books and movies. 'Tis the time to be selfless, after all.

Stay away from the gushy stuff.
You know what this means - no teddy bears and jewelry. Most guys freak out when they get lovey-dovey gifts you might want to reserve for Valentine's Day. Also try to control the urge to put a photo of yourself in a frame and hand it to him. All that's missing from a conceited gift like that is your autograph.

Be creative.
When you're strapped for cash, or still have no idea what to buy your boy why not make him something or plan a fun activity? Perhaps he'd like a home-cooked meal complete with a cake you make from scratch? Or maybe he'd be thrilled to see flames custom-painted on his dullsville bookcase collecting dust in the garage. If you're not the Martha Stewart type, take him out for a night of miniature golf or treat him to day at the zoo. If you plan something out of the ordinary, he'll be sure to remember it longer than a boring gift certificate.

When it comes to relationships, buying presents shouldn't be something that gets in the way of how you feel. Don't stress gift-giving too much. You don't want to turn this into a plot straight out of the Gift of the Magi. Sometimes the best gift of all is love. Ahhhhhhh.

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