20-40-60 Etiquette: Time to stop gift giving?
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
QUESTION: When is it time to give up Christmas gift giving? How does one suggest to a friend or family member that it may be time to stop the Christmas gift exchange?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Give up? It is always nice to get a gift, and know that someone has thought of you. It isn’t about how much or how nice the gift is. It is about the effort, and thought.
Come on, ’tis the season!
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: I think you have to do this delicately, without sending the message to a friend or relative that they’re no longer high enough on your present priority list. Some people really enjoy gift-giving, and picking out a gift they think you’ll like, even a small one, is a way for them to show how much you mean to them. You might be stealing some of their holiday fun.
However, in today’s economy, as people scale back spending and the size of living spaces, it’s easier to suggest ending the exchange. If it’s a friend with whom you’re no longer in touch regularly, sometimes the gift-giving stops gradually, without a conversation or hurt feelings. If you want to stop an exchange for financial reasons, then approach your loved ones with the thought in mind and say so — “We’re trying to cut back our spending. What do you think about drawing names to save money? Or, what about dropping the gift exchange this year altogether and enjoying time together instead?”
If it’s just a group that you’re a part of it and you’re tired of buying knickknacks en masse, why not suggest that everyone bring wrapped gifts for a charity that helps out people at Christmas time? There’s no shortage of needs, and organizations can provide lists of items they need to help families during the holidays.
I don’t think there’s a specific time when families or friends should consider giving up Christmas gift giving; you just have to weigh each situation individually — a growing family (by marriage or children), a financial hardship, etc.
Also note, when children are involved, I think it’s important for them to learn how to give gifts graciously and not be on the receiving end all the time. So if the children are the ones still involved in a gift exchange, then take them to the dollar store and let them pick out inexpensive gifts for the ones who will be giving gifts to them. Or, involve them in baking for others so they can share the joy of giving, too.
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