Survey Holiday Gifts And Dating Trends


Riding Solo: 70% of Americans Don’t Need a “Plus One” for the Holidays

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Nov. 8, 2023 – serves as an expert guide and resource to consumers for all things dating. The results of our Q4 2023 holiday survey explore trends in shopping, gift-giving, and plus-one etiquette.

Most notably, our survey found that 7 in 10 consumers would attend a New Year’s Eve party without a plus one. In addition to revealing surprising holiday dating and gifting trends, the survey found that 50% of Americans will spend on average $200 for a holiday gift no matter how long they have been dating.

No Ring, No Bring

The survey findings show the popular phrase “No Ring, No Bring” may no longer apply to couples, especially around the holiday season. Over a quarter of Americans (26%) admit they will always show up to a holiday dinner with a date — regardless of how long they have been dating or in a relationship. 

When asked how long into the relationship a person would wait to bring a date to a holiday dinner, the responses varied, but three months seemed to be a common milestone:

  • I always show up with a date — 26%
  • At least 3 months — 32%
  • At least 6 months — 22%
  • At least 9 months — 4%
  • Over a year — 15%

Additionally, half of Americans in the survey said they will give their date a holiday gift no matter how long they’ve been together, but 23% need at least a month into relationship before buying holiday gifts.

Holiday Love Language Redefined

Dating in the digital age requires a unique form of communication. With top dating terms used to describe the relationship status, including cuffing, beige flags, and breadcrumbing, many daters are also turning to emojis to communicate, especially over the holiday season. 

Emojis keep things brief, while keeping it real, and daters seem to embrace this type of communication. When asked to rank their favorite emojis, the red heart won out over the eggplant in our survey.

  • Red Heart — 49.8%
  • Black Heart — 12.4%
  • Kiss Emoji — 46.5%
  • Eggplant — 12.5%
  • Peach — 12.3%
  • Tongue — 18.1%
  • Lipstick — 14.3%
  • Lips — 24.7%

Breaking up by text is commonplace, but now daters are even breaking up using emojis. A surprising 22% of Americans said they have received a breakup text with all emojis. 

The brighter side is that 31% of Americans have gotten lucky from a creative emoji text. According to the survey data, the most used emojis include the red heart (50%) and the kiss emoji (47%). The least favorite emojis include the peach (12%) and black heart (12%).

Financial Factors May Hinder Holiday Dating

Money may be the driving force behind love, according to our survey findings. Nearly 70% of Americans said they would not date someone with student loans. Such a harsh reality may leave some heartbroken, but it speaks to the power of finances to shape dating decisions. 

As far as how much debt is a dealbreaker, survey respondents varied in their answer. One in three Americans said no amount is too much if it’s true love, but 16.4% wouldn’t date someone who had $10,000 in student loans to pay off.

Loan Amount% of Respondents
$5,000 to $10,00016.4%
$10,000 to $20,00016.4%
$20,000 to $30,00012.0%
$30,000 to $40,0009.9%
No amount is too much…….. 31.5%

The good news comes from knowing that over 50% will date someone who is out of work. Love lifts you, and nearly 40% of Americans don’t put a time limit on their partner finding a job. A sweet sentiment during the holiday season.

The holiday season can put a lot of pressure on singles and exacerbate their feelings of loneliness or dissatisfaction with their relationship status. While it may be tempting to lock in a date for the holidays no matter what, our dating experts encourage singles to make sure they’re committing for the right reasons. Otherwise they may find themselves single once again come Valentine’s Day.

Survey Methodology

A national online survey of 1,036 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older, was conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of in 2023. Survey responses were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region, and ethnicity. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.