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Old 11-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #11
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Callisto, this is an issue most of us face at least to some extent every Christmas so here's my take. Remember that it's the sentiment that counts and then believe it. I no longer buy gifts I can't afford or that put a strain on my budget and I no longer compare values of gifts - even in a work situation. Perhaps some people may be a little touchy about this but I don't let myself think about that.

Renee had a good suggestion, if you have the time. Anything handmade is above dollar value. Even when I couldn't cook at all, I spent hours making cookies with store bought dough which the kids and I decorated. One year, we made soft, felt, stuffed ornaments using cookie cutters as patterns. We sewed them by hand and wrapped up 3 for each person. To this day, people still tell me that they have those ornaments on their trees.

A card with the gift that you take the time to write something special or personal in makes the recipient feel wonderful. If someone is always smiling even when things are swamped, say so. If another one always has something kind to say, or always has a little joke that tickles everyone, say so. It costs nothing and means the world!

Anyway, that was a long post to say this - give from the heart and don't worry about what you spent or what they spent and have a Very Merry Christmas!

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Old 11-27-2007, 04:27 PM   #12
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[QUOTESome fabulous homemade bread from Callisto][/QUOTE]

I'm with you on that one! Every year I get bottles of red wine, even thought they know I'm not a big red wine fan. Personally, I'll rather they saved their money. Myself and my staff donate our gift exchange money to charity every year. But, Calli, if that's not an option, I'd go the homemade route. Who doesn't love homemade banana bread???? And, way cheaper than a bottle of wine.

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Old 11-27-2007, 04:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Renee Attili View Post
The gift of time and flavor are the best gifts to give or recieve. IMHO
You could end up as the "Must Have" gift item of the office.
I can hear the conversations by the water cooler now.....
"What did you get Marge.?"
"Another botttle of wine that I really don't like. What did you get Mary?"
"Some fabulous homemade bread from Callisto. My family will be lucky if they ever get to taste it.It is absolutely DELICIOUS!! I wish I was good enough in the kitchen to make my own. Do you think Callisto would be willing to share her secret?"
After you read Miss Renee's post, go back and read Miss Katie's...You have your answer!!

Psssst! Everybody loves banana nut bread!
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:29 PM   #14
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Believe me I would rather have something like cookies, or something homemade, than a gift that I know could be put to better use in making that person's family and kids happier.

Have been in both positions and never was saddened if folks thought they needed to do anything more than a card, a few good wishes, or maybe some cookies.

Christmas is not about greed, it is about the best parts of those who believe in the day.

IMHO don't worry. Agree with including a personal note with each gift - tell each one why you were so happy to work with them during the past year. Make each individual. It will make their day.

And a very Merry Christmas.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:40 PM   #15
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I, too, love the idea of giving something you baked. Heck, you must have a love of cooking - you're here, aren't you?!

Cookies and brownies are always welcome. Or how about this No-knead Bread recipe that we all went crazy over in another thread?


Time-consuming, but inexpensive and SO worth it!

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Old 11-27-2007, 05:51 PM   #16
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Hello friend Callisto, all the above are good ideas. The people you work for know your circumstances and they would feel foolish expecting you to duplicate them and foolish if they tried to duplicate you. You are unique and special. Give that. If you can do a nice Christmas bread give it in the spirit of the season. The Three Kings Men gave the expensive gifts. Our Christmas isn't about that. It's about sharing of what we can.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:54 PM   #17
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I agree that you should not worry about not being able to spend as much as the higher-paid employees are spending.

Since you like to bake, I think that idea was great. One year I didn't have much money to spend on gifts, so I made Swedish Tea Rings for several people. They didn't cost much to make, but if they were to buy something comparable at a bakery it would have cost a lot more. People are almost always very impressed with home-made goodies. When I bake (or sew) something for gifts, some people act like I have almost done the impossible because they don't have a clue how to do that!

Months after Christmas, they will still bring up how good it was! For not much more, you could even present what you bake in a pretty basket or something, with some packets of hot chocolate mix or something that would go well with what you made.

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Old 11-27-2007, 06:21 PM   #18
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Are you effectively providing support to these colleagues? If so, it is perfectly acceptable for them to be giving you something in recognition of your efforts in helping them through the year, without them expecting anything from you in return. It is very hard to just sit back and accept gifts without trying to do something in return. Personally I don't subscribe to the tit-for-tat present giving - got a present from x, need therefore to give back to x - as to me it devalues the gift giving. Over the years, I have regularly received little gifts from staff members that I have given support to, those higher up the food chain, on par with me, and lower level colleagues. Generally they have been token gifts but not always. There is no way I could afford to buy gifts for them all, even if I thought it warranted. As a rule, I have thanked them for their gift with surprise (cos I always have been surprised!!) and left it at that. I have only given return gifts to those that I would have through choice without their gift. I give my main doctors a gift each Christmas to acknowledge their care of me. I would not anticipate their giving me one in return. This would be the same/similar situation in reverse.

But maybe we do things differently in Australia.

If I was to give a gift, or felt I really ought to, I agree most with Renee's view of what to give.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:49 PM   #19
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I agree with the baked goods idea. You may even make 2 or 3 types and give an assortment to each. I've been where you are and most of the time the higherups just put the gift they give you on their expense account, so it costs them nothing. However, the cookies or breads are a very thoughtful gift.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
After you read Miss Renee's post, go back and read Miss Katie's...You have your answer!!

Psssst! Everybody loves banana nut bread!
I make AWESOME banana bread. I also make really good peanut butter cup cookies and the best chocolate chip cookies in the family. I guess I could bake for everyone. I know them better this year and I know Eric loves to eat. We hide food from him and he gives Wisconsin cheese.

Okay. I guess it's decision made, goodies. Jewel can always bring them to her family if she's still watching her weight religiously.

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