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Old 12-16-2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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Gift giving and gaffes

In recent years I've been surprised by folks bringing me a gift and me not having anything to give them in return. Yes, I know its not necessary, but there's something inside me that insists that is just not OK. I do my best to think of everyone I will be seeing and want to have a gift for, but inevitably someone unexpected shows up on our doorstep.

Does anyone here have a stash of "back up" gifts just in case? I have put together some pretty jars with brownie mix, and some with nuts and bolts this year. I've also got some lovely scented bath salts that I made. I'm going to buy ribbon and make them pretty today. Someone told me she buys several packages of iTunes gift cards to have on hand. I wanted to have some pretty packages of homemade soap made, but have had some issues getting the ingredients. That's next years goal.

What do you do?

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Old 12-16-2011, 10:48 AM   #2
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...What do you do?

Smile my nicest smile, say thank you very much. (SO says "You shouldn't have...")

Then after they leave she says, "I should have had a small gift to give them...".
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #3
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I do keep some stuff for last minute gifts; right now I have cookbooks and pretty measuring cups. I also keep baby stuff at home - toys, mostly.

Gift cards are a good idea if they don't expire.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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Smile my nicest smile, say thank you very much. (SO says "You shouldn't have...")

Then after they leave she says, "I should have had a small gift to give them...".
Done that too. I just hate that feeling.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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I always have a little something on hand. Mostly small, pretty baskets or plates decorated with a Christmas theme that I found at a thrift store, etc. If someone arrives with an unexpected gift in hand, I can put some of my freshly-baked Christmas cookies/candies in/on them and send the gift-giver on their way, comfortable that I've reciprocated sufficiently.

We live in a very rural area and the likelihood of folks dropping in unannounced is very slim, so we're pretty safe in who shows up with gifts...most of the time. Of course, now that I've said this, we'll have all sorts of visitors.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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You can't feel guilty if the person giving you the unexpected gift is not someone you would gift otherwise.

If that type of person drops by and brings a gift for you because they feel guilty coming over empty-handed, you have to just go with it.

Otherwise, there is no end to it and it gets out of hand financially. AND you've set a precedent for next year and beyond.

We have cut back a lot with gift giving. SO and I exchange stocking gifts (we set a $$ limit). Stocking gifts for her and my kids too. There is nothing we can afford that they really need.

The same goes for our sibs. We no longer exchange gifts because none of us really needs anything.

All our attention goes to the grandchildren.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:19 AM   #7
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Andy, so true on so many levels. That's why its all homemade stuff here that I use as my "yikes" stuff. If it isn't needed as a gift, we use it all!

I guess the feeling I have is that someone thought of us and I didn't think of them. More that feeling than the hostess type gift. I'm quite fine with taking those with a heartfelt thank you.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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Andy, so true on so many levels. That's why its all homemade stuff here that I use as my "yikes" stuff. If it isn't needed as a gift, we use it all!

I guess the feeling I have is that someone thought of us and I didn't think of them. More that feeling than the hostess type gift. I'm quite fine with taking those with a heartfelt thank you.
Sort of my way of thinking, too, Alix. All year long I surf thrift stores and such looking for serviceable Christmas things, mostly tableware, etc. If I don't load them up with baked goodies for the UPS delivery guy or our mail carrier, they are in reserve for our unexpected gift-givers.

Some things, sometimes in their original packaging (still with the store price sticker on), become the base component for a family/friend gift. Otherwise, we use them. And, of course, we eat all the treats. There's never a morsel left after the holidays.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:28 PM   #9
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I never feel guilty about an unexpected gift. And no I would not try to get them something in return although I would be very appreciative of the gift.

I think sometimes we forget that a gift is, and should be just that. When I give someone a gift it's because I wanted to and I expect nothing in return. I'll be darned if I start buying for everybody that's not close to me that gets me a gift, lol. I'd be broke. Here we have customers give us gifts, there is no way we can give turn around and give gifts to them and family too.

So, no I don't buy extra and I don't give gifts for unexpected gifts. I let them know how grateful I am that they thought of me and I take the gift and run!!

I can't get in the spirit of giving gifts all willy nilly and then realize..... I got to pay my light bill....but alas I spent all my money on presents.....
I know people that do this and then after Christmas they're trying to borrow money to pay bills. Then they're bringing in the new year all mad and grumpy cause they're broke...lol.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:35 PM   #10
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I used to feel guilty in a way long ago but not any more. I just give them a big smile and a thank you and move on. One less element which can add to the holiday stress. I like the simple life.
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