If the guy you're dating has an upcoming birthday, you might be stumped when it comes to gift ideas because after all, he isn't your "boyfriend" yet. Spending a lot on lavish gifts and a pricey dinner are generally inappropriate at this stage. Also, you don't want to plan anything overly romantic or too personal either. Instead, celebrate his birthday like you would for a close friend.
Follow His Lead for Saying "Happy Birthday"
Ask your guy how he plans to celebrate his upcoming birthday before you plan anything. Perhaps he doesn't make a big deal about his birthday and just shrugs it off. In this case, you should still acknowledge his special day but keep your birthday wishes low key, suggests the Glamour article, "How to Survive the Birthday of Someone You Just Started Dating." For example, if you're not seeing him on his birthday, you can wish him a happy birthday via a text message or with a phone call. A cute and/or funny card is also appropriate.
Date for Two
If he indicates that he has no special plans for his birthday, you can offer to celebrate with him by taking him on a birthday date. Save splurging on high-priced concert tickets for when you are officially a couple. Instead, buy him a ticket to a fun yet inexpensive outing. Consider taking him to the movies to see a new release or to a museum to view the latest show. You can also go to a game entertainment center. Pay for his game card and enjoy having a friendly competition to try to beat each other's scores. If he is a bit of a thrill seeker, pay his way at an amusement park and go on the highest roller coaster you can find.
Casual Birthday Meal
You might want to simply treat him to a lunch or dinner. A casual setting is your best bet for this dating stage. Perhaps you can head to a local eatery for burgers and fries, or put together a picnic basket and go off to the park for lunch. You might also consider taking him for a birthday dessert and coffee at a cafe. If he's planning to celebrate with his friends at a restaurant or bar -- and you've only been dating for a few months or less -- don't have to feel obligated to attend. However, if you do go, be prepared to buy him a drink or two.
Simple Birthday Gifts
Gifts that aren't too romantic and are also relatively inexpensive are good options as well. Less is more in this phrase of dating. Give him something that he can enjoy in the present that isn't too heavily directed toward your future as a couple, suggests the Cosmopolitan article, "Should You Get Him a Gift?" Food is always a good choice. If he has a sweet tooth, wrap up a tin of homemade cookies or a box of chocolates. If he's into fitness, then a box of nutrition bars can be a fitting gift choice. Alternatively, give him a small birthday token that you might give a guy friend or brother, such as a sports almanac or a sci-fi DVD set.
Wannikki Taylor is a professional writer with a Bachelors of Arts in journalism from Temple University. She serves as a children's columnist and covers family entertainment for several print and online publications. She specializes in games, crafts and party planning ideas for kids and their families.