II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Present Etiquette

I'm wondering...how do you stop giving someone a Christmas gift? Here's the situation: I have a friend who is really just an aquaintance now. We have always exchanged Christmas gifts with one another and have also always had our children exchange gifts. That was back when we saw one another on a regular basis and our children were pals. Now that we've moved out in the boonies, we only see them about twice a year and it just seems silly to keep up this gift tradition. We also do it for ours and the kids birthdays too. I have SO MANY people to buy gifts for this year...that I'd really like to just make it easier on both her and I by not doing this anymore but I can't figure out how to go about it. If I ask her...well, that would be just downright awkward. If I just don't give them gifts this year..I will feel like a real heel when she hands us ours. I don't have the kind of rapport with her like I do with a lot of my friends where I could just say, "hey, lets not do gifts this year, okay?" So, do any of you have any suggestions? I am starting to think I should just bite the bullet and go buy the gifts. The $20 I would spend would be easier than creating a weird uncomfortable atmosphere between us. But then...really, this is an issue I'm encountering a lot these days. I want to buy my closest close close friends a small gift...but how do I NOT buy a gift for the other people who are in our "circle" who I don't know as well??? Also, do my kids really need to give a gift to EVERY ONE of their friends? Last year (in Kindergarten) Brooklyn brought home gifts from about 4 of her girlfriends. Real gifts too..not just little trinkets from the dollar store. I'm talking about $10 gifts. I immediately felt obligated to go out and buy these little girls gifts too...and I didn't even know who they were!
I guess I stress about this so much because the LAST THING I WOULD EVER WANT TO DO is hurt someone's feelings or make them think I don't like them. As a matter of fact, I'd just about rather go into debt buying everyone and their dog a gift than to ever make anyone feel left out. But I don't think that is probably right or good either.
So anyway, if any of you have any suggestions on this topic, I would REALLY appreciate your advice.
One more quick question...if you know someone spends about $20 on your gift...should you also try to spend $20? I got some good deals on some stuff during the summer that I was going to use as family gifts for some people but now I am feeling guilty because the things I got on sale only cost me $4.99 and that seems SO CHEAP compared to what I know they are spending on us (and they are much less "fortunate" in the finance area than we are). BUT..that is why I bought these things when I saw them during the summer..so I could save money come Christas time.
Ugh...why am I making this SO DIFFICULT???


KC said...

OK this is a tough one on the "how to get out of a tradition of exchanging gifts with someone". I always feel bad if someone gives us a gift, and we don't have one for them....so I think it would be best for both of ya'll if you just talk to her about it. Be honest! Just tell her what you are thinking, and that all of your other obligations (now that the kids are bigger) are getting overwhelming. Just tell her how much her friendship means to you and that you hope this wont harm that. I'm sure she will understand...who knows, she may be relieved! She could be feeling the same way you are. You never know.

About the gifts you got on sale. You should definitely NOT feel guilty. You were smart and shopped early while things were on sale. If other people didn't, that isn't your fault, and you shouldn't feel guilty about how much they paid vs. what you paid. You should feel blessed that you were able to save so much money and still give an amazing gift! :)

Love ya girlfriend!

Kate said...

I couldn't put it any better than KC. Talk w/ your friend. I had to do the same thing w/ my cousin b/c I'm godmonther to her daughter but her daughter is also a twin, so I used to just buy for all the kids so no one was left out. Now, I just buy for my goddaughter. The way I got around that was that we were not going to see each other for the holidays, so I just shipped the one gift to her for the little one. Didn't seems to create a big stink though. If we were actually getting together, well then I probably would have felt guilty not giving to the other kids and they'd probably ask questions too. But now they're older and they understand.

Remember, it's not how much you spend. So, you were smart for saving some $$$. That's awesome! But don't feel like you have to make up for your savings w/ more, expensive gifts for them, or else it wasn't worth saving in the 1st place. Maybe ask your group of friends if they want to do a grab bag or a cookie exchange. They're still great fun! And then you don't have to find space to store umpteen gifts after receiving them. It definitely means more, when you get/give that one special gift :) Put your energy back into you and rejuvenate yourself, and try not to fret over all of the shopping lists and who gets what, how much. I've been a victim of it too and at one point, I just had to let some things go, so they don't overwhelm the true meaning of the day.

Logzie said...

Oh the age old dilema that we ALL deal with! Ha!

I have been in this same circumstance many times too. I would say that chances are REALLY GOOD that your friend is feeling the exact same way you are!! I am almost SURE of it! We are basically as the same anyway and everyone is stressed out and maxed out at Christmas and would love a "break". So, I would say exactly what the others would say...talk to her about it...share your heart...that it doesn't have anything to do with "her" but rather the craziness of the season. I like what Kate said too about maybe replacing it with a cookies exchange...I mean your making cookies anyway right.

As far as the getting a good deal on an item...chances are good there too that they may have gotten your gift on a good sale and only paid $4.99 too but you never realized it just as they probably wouldn't realize it from you either. If you are talented enough to get those kind of good bargains...more power to ya!...go for it! It's still a gift and should be recognized as such.

Here's the thing...you DEFINATELY should not go into debt buying anything for anyone! Debt is an aweful trap and sometimes we don't feel the consequences for a long time but it all does add up. If those people care about you (and I am sure they do!) then they would not want you going into debt for them. Just think if Matt lost his job right before Christmas...you would probably not buy gifts for all those people because you didn't have the money...how is that different?

So often we loose focus about what the season is really about (myself included here!) and we get caught up in the gift giving and it only contributes to the overall distraction from the most aweseome thing that ever happened on Earth...Jesus!! We all need to brainstorm an idea that we could all express our love to our loved ones at Christmas time that also shares in the true JOY of the season and doesn't send us into debt! I have no idea what that would be...but I'll be thinking because if we all were honest...we all think about the things you posted about and we all struggle with it. Thanks for being honest and open about it!!

Jenelle said...

I have to echo sentiments from the other ladies - gifts are not an obligation they are to be a joy. So - if this is a friend that you are loosing touch with, suggest meeting for lunch instead of gifts. Your time is much more meaningful than anything you can give.
The amount you spend doesn't matter. It's about the thought and the fact that you care. If you feel the gift lacks a bit, than wrap it up beautifully. I frequently make up for substance with presentation.