Social Question

jca2's avatar

Is it really important to you to exchange holiday gifts with your friends?

Asked by jca2 (15750points) December 6th, 2021

I have two friends that I exchange holiday gifts with every year. Last year, I suggested to one that we not exchange gifts and she responded “I love receiving gifts from you” so we continued the practice.

This year, the three of us had an email conversation about it, and I said I’m ok either way, and I mistakenly thought that the conclusion was that we weren’t going to do it. Then we saw each other in person, and they explained to me that I was mistaken.
Our plan is that we’re going to exchange gifts.

I went home that night and sent a heartfelt email to the two of them, explaining that I don’t need anything, don’t want anything, am trying to get rid of stuff, am overwhelmed with stuff, am trying not to buy things, etc. I said please don’t get me anything. I said I don’t need clothes, don’t need shoes, don’t need jewelry, don’t need anything for the house. I said I can really understand why old people say “don’t buy me anything. I don’t need anything.” Not that I’m old but you get the drift. I told them in the email, “If you want to, buy something for my daughter.” I explained that I’m not opposed to buying them gifts but really don’t want to receive anything and won’t feel bad about it.

One responded “we’ll think of something to get you.”

Obviously they’re really into this whole thing.

I didn’t respond but was thinking “what the fuck.”

Is it really important to you to receive and give gifts at the holidays?

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10 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. It was especially difficult when I had no money.
I have no problem not receiving gifts, either.
And your coworker is obtuse.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s not important to me at all, in fact I detest the commercialization. But it is important that people I love feel important, so I do it.
My mom and husband both are that type, and it’s exhausting, so I do understand.

SnipSnip's avatar

I don’t really care about gifts and do not do Christmas gifts at all. When my kids were young we did gifts at New Years. Now the only real gifts I buy are for the family kids’ birthdays. And they are good ones.

janbb's avatar

I’ve never exchanged holiday gifts with friends and certainly wouldn’t want to. I only send things to my son’s family and that is fairly simple things since my granddaughter gets so much from others. My son and I have a tradition of donating to charities we each have chosen instead of big gifts. Perhaps you could suggest something like that for your friends but it sounds like they are stubborn.

canidmajor's avatar

We do food that we make. Nobody really cares to the point of feeling obligated, but if it’s a year where we enjoy makin stuff, a, if not, no biggie.

chyna's avatar

Like you @jca2, I’m trying to downsize the clutter and items I already have. Not that gifts are clutter! I did get one brother to stop buying me stuff about 5 years ago. My other brother has a very practical wife and buys only stuff she knows I use. She will buy me a giant jar of Jif peanut butter, she’ll buy me the face moisturizer she knows I use, stuff that I will really use. But as far as my friends doing that, no. We all stopped that years ago when they started having families and just spent on their families, thank goodness.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t want to exchange gifts.

It’s a chore and an obligation that is unfair to put on someone else, some people don’t have the finances to buy unnecessary gifts for people. Plus, there is covid still out there (even before covid I didn’t want to do it). I hate when I have to fake liking something, I don’t need anything. I can come up with something I would like to receive, something practical usually, but I assume people who are so dead set on exchanging gifts don’t like to be told what to buy me.

I don’t understand the gift thing for Christmas between adults at all. I guess they grew up with Christmas being a big deal and the absence of gifts feels off for them?

If my friends insisted or it’s being fine at work I’d go along. Is there a dollar limit?

Just recently a Jewish friend brought up the gift thing and how uncomfortable it makes her. I think a lot of Jewish people don’t have a lot of practice receiving gifts for the holidays, and don’t like the pressure.

cookieman's avatar

I like seeing friends for the holidays, but I’ve never exchanged gifts with them. Maybe a grab or two.

JLeslie's avatar

I realized my answer probably sounded very Scrooge. I do buy things for friends and they buy things for me, but it’s not a Christmas thing it’s all year. When I see something they would like, or we have extra cakes and cookies that we baked, or fruit or veggies we give those to each other. Sometimes the quantities at the market are huge so we give the extras to each other. It’s all year.

I just went through boxes and I have three religious plaques (I don’t know what to call them) in that box to regift or sell. Bless this house, that sort of thing. I also have two Christmas tree balls still in the box that were gifted to me, I’ve never had a Christmas tree.That’s just what’s left, I’ve regifted many Christmas balls. Let alone the wine and alcohol I never drink and candles I will never light.

Also, in that box to give away or sell is a pretty glass pitcher (makes me feel bad to get rid of it for sentimental reasons. I’ve never used it and I received it 20 years ago from a friend) and a bunch of other stuff I’ve moved with many times around the country, and much of it has never even been outside of a closet or cabinet. It’s crazy.

Many of the things I like, they aren’t hidden in closets because I don’t like them. Not all of those things are in the box to get rid of, I still can’t part with most of the big things that probably cost a decent amount of money and have sentimental value. Things like platters, vases, tea sets, crystal bowls, just to name a few.

Forever_Free's avatar

No. But I do recognize and give holiday wishes.

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