How do you respond to thoughtless gift giving? I spend a lot of time choosing gifts for others, but I feel like one particular person spends little to no time choosing gifts for me. Should I continue searching for the perfect gifts or resort to buying thoughtless gifts as they do for me?
Thoughtless Gift Giving
Being on the receiving end of thoughtless gift giving stinks. Every Christmas, I spend countless hours buying gifts for extended family members. Yet I often receive generic, thoughtless gifts like candles, mugs, tea, coffee, and personal hygiene products like soap or loofahs in return. Last year I received a particularly crappy, five-dollar present during a family gift exchange.
Before anyone jumps in and says, “maybe the gift giver can’t afford more than that.” I know with absolute certainty that they can. This person had no problem providing more thoughtful, expensive gifts to other family members.
It’s obvious they don’t want to spend the time searching for gifts for me.
I spent a good deal of time and money buying gifts for that person, but as the calendar rolls into December, I’m not sure I want to get burned again. I’m not sure how to handle the exchange of gifts this year.
Do I spend energy searching for gifts when I know full well that I won’t get anything decent in return, or do I throw in the towel and buy this person something equally crappy?
Ninety-nine percent of me thinks I should do the right thing and buy this person a lovely gift. The other one percent says forget that; put very little thought or money into it, and call it a day.
When Someone Gives You A Cheap Gift
A cheap gift is an inexpensive present the gift-giver didn’t spend time or attention picking out. Rather than thinking about your likes or dislikes, they found something inexpensive, shoved it in a bag, and handed it to you.
Cheap gifts include unwanted items that don’t match your interests and regifted gift cards to stores or restaurants where you don’t eat or shop. Among the cheapest gifts are partially used products and anything worn or outdated.
What do I do when a family member or friend gives me a cheap gift? Of course, I don’t comment on the quality of the present. Instead, I say, “Thanks for thinking of me,” and fake a smile. It doesn’t matter who gives me a cheap gift. No matter who the gift-giver is, I always react the same way. I say thank you.
Sometimes I try to put myself in their shoes and wonder if they’ve had a busy week, feel overwhelmed at work, or have some other reason to present a thoughtless gift. Other times I try to focus on the idea that at least they didn’t show up empty-handed.
Either way, there is a time and a place to tell someone you don’t like their gift, but sitting next to the Christmas tree isn’t one of them.
Ending Gift Exchanges
Two years ago, my brother and I stopped giving each other gifts for Christmas. Without a bit of remorse, I’m glad we ended the exchange.
It became more challenging to decide on a gift every year, and the added stress and cost weren’t worth it anymore. It was a mutual agreement; my brother was just as happy to end the swap as I was.
Honestly, I wish I could end the majority of my gift exchanges. I prefer Christmas to work like Thanksgiving, where we drive to someone’s house, eat good food, spend quality time together, and head home.
Unfortunately, I cannot envision a way to end the exchange altogether. That would be my preferred solution to this problem, but I don’t see a way to make it happen without a more massive conflict arising.
So what do you think? Have you ever faced a terrible gift giver who hands out cheap, thoughtless gifts? Do you have advice on how to handle my situation?