Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Samgirl2 on November 12, 2012, 07:31:29 AM

Title: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Samgirl2 on November 12, 2012, 07:31:29 AM
When you're the single one, how do you sort out your gift buying for people who are in couples? Should you buy them a gift each, or a joint one?  It seems to be that couples always gift as a pair, and its certainly cheaper to return that way, but when I know both people have different tastes it seems easier and more personal to buy them a gift each, but it's more expensive. 

Also, if you know one half of the couple much better than the other but they always sign both names on a gift to you, that is awkward. For example one of my best girlfriends always signs her gift from herself and her husband, but I don't socialise with him hardly at all and am pretty sure she signs his name as a courtesy/tradition because they are married. Am I expected to include him in a return gift?

My main problem this year is that it will be the first since my sister got married in the summer, to a man I haven't met very often due to the fact they live several hours away and both work crazy hours so it's difficult to get together. Before they were married we just exchanged cards via my sister. My sister and I usually spend quite a lot on each other but I can't afford to spent that amount on two people. however I don't want to give my sister less than usual, or him less than her. But is a joint present acceptable?  From what I can gather, they will be joint gifting to me.

If you're reading this and you're in a couple, then what's your view? Do you expect two gifts or one, how do you gift to singles?
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Sharnita on November 12, 2012, 07:58:54 AM
I tend to gift each person but I do recognize there can seem to be inequity in the system.  It becomes more apparent when kids enter the picture.  I think your financial situation is somethign reasonable and wise to consider in the way you approach this.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Sterling on November 12, 2012, 08:09:28 AM
It depends on my relationship to the couple.  I have friends that I buy joint gifts for because I know they will enjoy it and honestly I may only know one half of the couple very well.  An example would be my grad school friend.  She and I see each other every couple of months but I rarely see her husband.  I tend to make up a gift basket for them.

Then I have my other friends who are living together.  I knew each of them well before they got together.  So I buy them each something they will like.

As for cost.  I set a budget by person. And that is that.  A couple gift will usually fall in the same budget as a person and a half.  Generally though I make gifts and keep my budget really low.  It is "unfair" that for the most part single end up shelling out more month that couples or families but I remind myself that isn't the point of gifting.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: #borecore on November 12, 2012, 09:02:32 AM
I generally give a gift of some substance to the member of the couple I am closer to (if there's a significant difference) and a token gift to the other. I don't see it as saying, "I like you less," rather "I know you less." So my friend might get something personal that costs $30, while her spouse gets something edible that costs $10.

For family, well, it hasn't come up yet, but I would consider a joint gift if I could figure one out. I get joint gifts, if I get anything, for my grandparents, for example.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Yvaine on November 12, 2012, 09:12:49 AM
I generally give a gift of some substance to the member of the couple I am closer to (if there's a significant difference) and a token gift to the other. I don't see it as saying, "I like you less," rather "I know you less." So my friend might get something personal that costs $30, while her spouse gets something edible that costs $10.

Yeah, I'm fond of the "SO food gift." I remember one year I did some serious searching for vegan candy, thinking my sister's then BF (now husband) was vegan like she was, finally finding something I thought would work, and then suddenly realizing while he was opening it that it had honey and that wasn't vegan, and falling all over myself to apologize...at which point he explained that he wasn't even vegan, that was just her, and he could eat the candy with no problems.  ;D
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Shoo on November 12, 2012, 09:13:03 AM
I give a joint gift in the amount of whatever I would have normally spent on the one person.  Sometimes it's been something for the home, sometimes it's been something like a movie basket, made up of DVD's, popcorn, and other treats.  Stuff like that.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: MindsEye on November 12, 2012, 09:44:42 AM
The only person who I give deeply thought out and personal gifts to at this point of my life is my DH.

For everyone else, my formula is one gift/gift box per household.  This covers singles, couples, and families with kids.  And I tend to gift edibles that are generally matched to what I know about the person/people.  My budget is $25-30 per household... and if you are going with edible gifts that amount can go surprisingly far.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: KenveeB on November 12, 2012, 10:07:04 AM
It depends on my relationship with the person. If I'm friends with one and know the other just as Friend's spouse, then I usually buy just for my friend and maybe something edible for the family. If I know them both equally and well enough that I'd get them each a nice gift, then I get them gifts. If I know them equally well but that's not terribly well, then I get them a joint gift.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on November 12, 2012, 11:44:14 AM
I had this issue last year with my cousin and his wife. This particular branch of the family and I have only been exchanging gifts for the last few years, and I had only met his wife once before.  He is overseas for the next couple of years for work, while she is here.  So I played it safe, and got them an Am Ex gc, as I had also not seen their house so had no clue whatsoever.  He was home for the holidays, so I told them go have a nice dinner and date night.  I've since gotten to know her  a little better, so I got her a gift based on what she likes, and she's giving me some ideas for him, as he is very hard to buy for. Prior years he just got an Amazon gc, but I'd like to actually send him a gift.

in the future, when he's back home, I will probalby do some type of food gift, for the both of htem.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: snowdragon on November 12, 2012, 12:23:01 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: ilrag on November 12, 2012, 01:59:24 PM
In my family gifts aren't big or even really expected between adults.  In my husband's family they were super SUPER into gifting until he said something like "hey ilrag's family just skips the gifts and it seems to be really stress free" which triggered a rush of relief from people who were happy to not have to do it any more. 

He brought it up after I was teasing him about how birthdays seemed to be an endless trading of amazon gift cards, so clearly people were having a hard time coming up with something to buy. 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: camlan on November 12, 2012, 02:20:40 PM
In my family, we draw names. If you draw the name of a single person, you buy a nice gift for that person. If you draw the name of a couple, you buy for the children of that couple, if they have kids, or the couple themselves if they don't. There's a $50 limit for adults, either singles and couples, and if you are buying for the kids, I think it is $25 per kid--so either one really nice group gift for all the kids, or smaller, individual ones--giver's choice.

Before we did that, I had a dollar amount per person that I spent. I'd either get one gift for a couple if I knew something they wanted, or separate gifts if that worked better for me.

I have to say, as a single person, that for the most part, the couples in my family are extremely generous with their gifts--I have my suspicions that the $50 limit has been broken more than once. But then again, I may have exceeded the $25 per kid limit myself, when I found the perfect gift. We're good at creating rules, but not necessarily following them.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: bonyk on November 12, 2012, 03:42:46 PM
The only members of a couple I buy presents for is my parents.  DH is responsible for his own parents. 
I usually buy them each separately, but on the occasions I bought joint gifts, it was pretty much double the per person cost.  I think I probably also bought them each smaller separate gifts those years.
Before my brother and SIL had kids it was the same deal.  Now that they have off spring, I just buy the kids presents.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: KenveeB on November 12, 2012, 07:53:25 PM
In my family, we draw names. If you draw the name of a single person, you buy a nice gift for that person. If you draw the name of a couple, you buy for the children of that couple, if they have kids, or the couple themselves if they don't. There's a $50 limit for adults, either singles and couples, and if you are buying for the kids, I think it is $25 per kid--so either one really nice group gift for all the kids, or smaller, individual ones--giver's choice.

Our extended family also draws names, but just among the adults. Everyone buys for the kids, and then the adults draw names among each other. It's all individual, so there's no need to worry about couples.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: lady_disdain on November 12, 2012, 08:39:31 PM
I dislike the idea that gifts have to "even out". I give gifts to people either because I want to make them happier or (unfortunately) because of social conventions. I don't keep tabs on how much they spent vs how much I spent, except in effort over a long period (hey, everyone has had busy times when they just can't make the effort but it shouldn't be every time). I would be heartily offended if I knew anyone was keeping this sort of tally. I don't know their budget, salary, debts or spending priorities. They sure don't know my to judge me by it.

Never caring to give a thoughtful gift, however, may indicate other problems in the relationship. Or not- some people just aren't gift givers and they enrich my live in other ways that more than compensates the value of any gift I give (or giving a gift is cheaper than dealing with the fallout - right, Uncle Nasty?).
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: AylaM on November 13, 2012, 12:53:10 AM
I give individual gifts when I am close to both halves of the couple and joint gifts ("this is for you, and your husband might enjoy it too") if I am only friendly with one half.

My logic is as follows:

I think that if couples give joint gifts, they should be prepared to receive joint gifts.

If there are two names on a card it should ideally mean that 2 people put some thought into the gift.  In cases where the two people are not a social unit (say 2 friends who pool resources to get a third friend a better gift), it is unlikely that someone will allow another person to add their name to the card if they didn't help out somehow. 

With a social unit that is not true,  people are added for just being the SO. The card can signify one of two things:
Unfortunately both of these situations look the same on the card.

So I see the standard as "The Does" gave me a gift,  so I'll give "The Does" a gift.  Giving John and Jane their own gifts goes above and beyond.  If John and Jane  gave separate gifts, a couple's gift would not be appropriate.

ETA: sounded like I was trying to say "You are all so wrong" rather than explain my pint of view, so I changed it.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: peaches on November 13, 2012, 01:12:04 AM
I would either give a joint gift (if you find something clever they can both enjoy) or give them individual gifts; spend the same amount you usually would for your sister (in other words, divide that amount by two if you're getting individual gifts.)

If you don't know what the brother-in-law would like, ask your sister or him, or send an email asking for suggestions.

I don't like the idea of spending more on the half of the couple you know best. I think this could cause hurt feelings, and your sister might not appreciate your slighting her DH. My kids are both married, and my rule is to treat my son-in-law and daughter-in-law at least as well as I treat my own children. My kids would be greatly offended if I didn't.

When I married into DH's family, his family was just as thoughtful and generous towards me as they were to him. This is part of how you get to know people who marry into the family, and how family bonds are formed. Don't ever treat new people in the family as outsiders.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: StoutGirl on November 13, 2012, 08:50:17 AM
OP, in your situation, I would consider getting one gift for the both of them.  Consider looking at their wedding registry if it is still active and maybe consider getting an nice item from it that was never purchased.

For me, I only have one sister and she has a boyfriend now.  I will be getting them separate gifts this year.  If they should decide to move in, get engaged, and married, I may switch to giving a joint gift, especially if its a nice, higher end kitchen/home gadget that they can both use.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 13, 2012, 11:18:33 AM
I dislike the idea that gifts have to "even out". I give gifts to people either because I want to make them happier or (unfortunately) because of social conventions. I don't keep tabs on how much they spent vs how much I spent, except in effort over a long period (hey, everyone has had busy times when they just can't make the effort but it shouldn't be every time). I would be heartily offended if I knew anyone was keeping this sort of tally. I don't know their budget, salary, debts or spending priorities. They sure don't know my to judge me by it.

Never caring to give a thoughtful gift, however, may indicate other problems in the relationship. Or not- some people just aren't gift givers and they enrich my live in other ways that more than compensates the value of any gift I give (or giving a gift is cheaper than dealing with the fallout - right, Uncle Nasty?).

This is the way I look at it.

And I have different patterns.

With some friendships (I'm thinking my single best friend), she gets a gift from me and a separate one from my DH; and she gives similarly.

With relatives it's harder.

in my DH's family, we often give couple-to-couple, and kids receive gifts but don't give them. Until they're grown, and then they're sort of expected to give a gift to the family/couple. If they don't seem to do so, then our gifts to them kind of fade out.

I also am completely comfortable buying a specific gift for the cousin with whom I've had more specific interaction, but not buying anything for his brother, with whom I've seldom spoken in the intervening year. Or, he gets a more generic gift.

With my Aunt Betty, kids give presents individually as well as receive them; DH doesn't really give a gift individually although he receives one. But then, the gift that I give to her w/ both our names on it is often splurgier, or there are two or three of them (but only one to me and one to DH).

It's more important to me that there be messages traveling than that the money add up.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: TootsNYC on November 13, 2012, 11:21:39 AM
came back to say:

I would always feel comfortable buying more for my sibling than for my sibling's spouse. I would expect the spouse to recognize that my sibling and I have a relationship that's much closer than ANY other relationship.

And I would be working on building a relationship with my new in-law, so I'd be making a genuine effort to get a thoughtful gift for HIM. It wouldn't be as valuable, and it might be only one compared with my sister's 4.

A couple's gift would be right out.

This is how my best friend and I do it--I buy her 2 or 3 presents; she buys me 2 or 3. She gets DH (which whom she is a good friend now) only 1.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: bah12 on November 13, 2012, 11:59:53 AM
I think how you gift depends on your personal relationship with the couple.  In your case, you are talking about a man that is also your BIL.  That implies, that even if you don't know him well today, you probably will in the future.  He is now a part of your family and you should make an effort to gift him like you do any other member of your family.  I don't think that means you have to "even" out the gifts though.  You can choose to get a family gift you think they'd both enjoy, but if you do gift separately, don't feel obligated to match his gift with your sister's.  You have a much different relationship with her and can get her "more" without feeling bad.  But, it would be a kind gesture to get your new BIL something.  To show your acceptance and to start weaving him into your family traditions of gift giving.

Also, I can understand why you may find it awkward to have your friend sign a gift from her husband when you don't know him and don't exchange gifts with him.  In this case, I wouldn't worry about not getting him anything.  I think it's perfectly fine to continue to gift your friend and not her husband.  She probably does just sign his name automatically and if they have a joing account, then the gift is technically from him too.  But I don't think you should feel obligated to get him something specifically.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: mj on November 13, 2012, 02:59:27 PM
I think you have to shake out what works best for you.  My family does a grab bag, so we don't stress too much about it. 

DHs family gifts to everyone individually, children do no reciprocate.  DH and I thought it was important to teach our kids to give back, so we changed it up and our kids gift to those who gift them.  DH and I also went to couple gifts, instead of individual, our gift list was getting really long and complicated.  Our budget for couples and individuals are exactly the same.  We felt it was hard watching the singles get singled out, so we changed to suit our gifting preferences.  The rest of his family does not do it this way but it's fine to us.  They can choose how they want to gift, we don't have to be on the same page.

There were struggles over the years about gifting preferences, so much so that I pretty much didn't want to participate.  Until the light sprang on that we can do it our way.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Sharnita on November 13, 2012, 04:20:54 PM
mj, as a single with all married (with children) I have to say that is really thoughtful and kind.  It isn't that I am trying to keep track or anything and my family really is loving and I think most of them have realized but to some extent if you are the single unloading your car with say 16 gifts for individuals and then get 5 gifts or so from units it isn't like a tally is actually needed.  We did institute a system of drawing names among the sibs/sibILs a few years back.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: mbbored on November 20, 2012, 10:36:02 PM
Like most other posters, it depends on my relationship with the couple. If I'm friends with both of them, I will buy them separate gifts or a joint gift, depending on what strikes my fancy. If I'm really only good friends with one half of the couple and don't interact with their significant other, then I buy a present just for my friend. If I interact with both on a regular basis but know one half better or don't like one person, joint present all the way.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Lady Snowdon on November 21, 2012, 06:47:49 AM
My preference is to do individual gifts for everyone.  Personally I don't like couple gifts because it usually ends up being more for one person than for both people.  At least, that's been my experience.  In any case, I love buying gifts for people, and giving them things, so I like to give individual gifts. 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Margo on November 21, 2012, 08:25:49 AM
It depends on the couple and my relationship with them.

If I only know one half of the couple I will get something for that person and not get a gift for their spouse.

If I know them both but one if a close friend and the other is someone I know because they are 'soandso's partner' then I will either buy something for my friend, and a small joint gift, or else a gift to them as a couple. Either way, I would probably spend a similar amount as  would if buying just for the one I'm closest too, or a little more.

If I know both of them very well (for instance, my sister and BiL, friend's partner who has become a friend in his own right) then I will buy gifts for both,or a joint gift. I don't tend to have a set budget so what I spend isn't particularly about whether they are a couple or not.

I have no problem at all with giving gifts to a couple (or even to a family) rather than to each individual member of that family, if that is the pattern which they set (ie they give one gift from multiple people) but whether I do it that way depends on the individuals, I don't have a set policy. (and sometimes, in both directions, it's really more of a gift from or two one person with happens to have both names on the label)


Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: AfleetAlex on November 21, 2012, 12:09:21 PM
Our extended family also draws names, but just among the adults. Everyone buys for the kids, and then the adults draw names among each other. It's all individual, so there's no need to worry about couples.

This is how we do it too. It got a little silly when the couples were just starting out and had little money, and I'm the only one who is single with no kids, so we were scrambling to make it work. We now buy for our immediate family and the kids, and we exchange names with the extended family. Works out pretty well.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Drawberry on November 21, 2012, 05:08:12 PM
Frankly I feel like all of this is up to your personal choice and I don't see a 'right' answer.

If I co-sign a gift with Boyfriend it's because it genuine IS a co-gift. Either something we both paid money for or both put personal effort into creating together. I've never co-signed for something with him that I did not contribute to in one way or another.

If someone knows both of us individually and feels like Boyfriend would like X but feels like I would much more enjoy B and chooses to gift accordingly it is greatly appreciated. If someone does not know me well and delivers a gift to Boyfriend that is indented to be a joint gift to the both of us it will be just as equally appreciated. I cannot possibly expect every single person in Boyfriends family to know every single thing about me and what I do or do not enjoy, and if they chose to get me something that is their prerogative but not at all an expectation of mine.

It's my personal opinion that perhaps we put a little too much worry into gift-giving and should simply make our own best choices based on personal relationships.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Bijou on November 24, 2012, 05:49:42 PM
I buy for a couple and it is usually a book they will both enjoy.  They have common interests such as wood and woodworking and local history. 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Venus193 on November 25, 2012, 05:57:16 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

This sounds like you're being punished for being single, also known as the Single Surcharge.

Have you considered getting all the singles together to spearhead the change?  I think you should consider this before you all end up buying not just for two halves of a couple but for individual children.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Drawberry on November 25, 2012, 06:30:31 PM
Regulating how gift giving is done, or what gifts are bought, is not the point of a gift.

I keep feeling like I have to say this over and over again. A gift is not a way for you to 'get out of' paying for something yourself. It's not the same thing as asking Mom or Dad to buy you a game for your Birthday when your a child. A gift is a courtesy that someone chooses to give to someone close to them or under any circumstances the gift giver deems appropriate.

We do not get to dictate how , why or what is given and to whom.

If you do not want to follow someone else's rules, then do not. It is your money and you have every right to do with it as you please.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: CakeEater on November 26, 2012, 06:17:24 AM
Regulating how gift giving is done, or what gifts are bought, is not the point of a gift.

I keep feeling like I have to say this over and over again. A gift is not a way for you to 'get out of' paying for something yourself. It's not the same thing as asking Mom or Dad to buy you a game for your Birthday when your a child. A gift is a courtesy that someone chooses to give to someone close to them or under any circumstances the gift giver deems appropriate.

We do not get to dictate how , why or what is given and to whom.

If you do not want to follow someone else's rules, then do not. It is your money and you have every right to do with it as you please.

Sure, but most people are giving gifts, especially at Christmas, to loved ones. And as a general rule, we don't want to cause hurt feelings, or resentment. It's a relationship issue, rather than a purely etiquette one.

I'd really prefer no-one gave me a gift, ever, and I quite dislike buying for other people, but I join in with the gift exchange because it means something to my loved ones. And while I have a right not to buy a gift for my mother-in-law, it's not going to happen.

I did manage to convince my parents not to do presents for DH and me this year, and we agreed the same with my brother a few years ago (his idea, not mine), so I'm slowly getting there!
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Lynn2000 on November 26, 2012, 08:26:17 PM
I give to several friends who have a significant other, but I give only to the person who's my friend, and don't even think about the partner. Likewise, I receive a gift from, say, my friend Tina, with no mention of her husband Tim being involved in it.

I feel like it's not so much a rule as the pattern set by mutual, if perhaps unstated, agreement (a sticky subject sometimes, to be sure). Kind of like if I get Tina a large, pricy piece of home decor, and she gets me a set of mini office novelties (clearly smaller and less expensive), I figure she wants to reduce the amount we spend on each other and I step my gift down the next year. She's never given me anything "from Tina and Tim," so I feel no obligation to find a gift for Tim as well. Besides which I know Tim far less well than I do Tina.

One interesting scenario involves my friend Amy. I've actually been friends with her husband Adam for longer than I've known Amy and at one point, years ago, Adam and I were pretty good friends. But, we were not gift-giving friends--he's not really a gifty person, if you know what I mean. Now Amy and I are much better friends than Adam and I. Amy gives me a gift from just her. I give a gift just for Amy, and I also give a gift to their young child. So I'm actually giving gifts to two-thirds of the household, but not the final third. Even though I've known Adam the longest.  :P But I think this is what everyone feels comfortable with, and to me that's more important than trying to enforce abstract "rules."
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: lmyrs on November 30, 2012, 04:22:27 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Sharnita on November 30, 2012, 04:31:07 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.

Yeah, that would make sense to me.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on November 30, 2012, 04:54:43 PM
My experience has been that single people get the short end of the stick when it comes to gifts.  I’m sure I’ve spent three times as much on couples and their children as they’ve spent on me, and most of them are two income families.

One Christmas I gave a married couple a very nice gift for their house.  The husband threw a fit: “Ever since I got married, people think they can buy one gift for both of us.  No one ever gets a present just for me anymore”.  In the 10 years I’d been friends with the couple, the guy had never once bought a present for someone on his own.

I do not dwell on the inequality.  It’s just the way things are. Gifts should be tokens of affection, not reason for resentment. 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Raintree on November 30, 2012, 05:02:59 PM
One Christmas I gave a married couple a very nice gift for their house.  The husband threw a fit: “Ever since I got married, people think they can buy one gift for both of us.  No one ever gets a present just for me anymore”.  In the 10 years I’d been friends with the couple, the guy had never once bought a present for someone on his own.

What, how old is he, four? Wow!! People "can buy" whatever number of gifts they want!! My opinion of him would have gone WAY down after that and I probably would have just bought a gift for the wife from then on. (What did he get you, other than sign his name to his wife's single gift to you?)

What I do in my family (I'm single, my sister is married, neither of us have kids): she gives me something and signs both their names on it. I either get something they both would like for the house, and address it to both of them, or I give her the "main" present and get him some secondary token thing. Nobody seems to have a problem with that. It's not as though I've ever received anything personally from him; it's definitely my sister who picks out the present for me, wraps it, and pays for it.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Drawberry on November 30, 2012, 07:12:43 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.

Yeah, that would make sense to me.

I personally see the issue as financial and personal.  If boyfriend and I have the finances to buy individual gifts or are struggling to pool enough money for one then we do what we can afford. I don't expect anything in return for any gift giving. I appreciate being included in gifts sent Boyfriends way and equally so for unique individual ones given to me.

If I was receiving individual gifts and did not have the money to give an individual gift back I do feel bad, but if all Boyfriend and I can afford is a joint gift it's simply all we can do. I cannot pull money out of thin air to gift equally back. I simply can't.

It isn't that I see us as being one unit to GIVE and two to RECEIVE.It's that we do what our finances allow us to do and hold absolutely no expectations of others.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: snowdragon on December 01, 2012, 12:37:20 AM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.

Yeah, that would make sense to me.

I personally see the issue as financial and personal.  If boyfriend and I have the finances to buy individual gifts or are struggling to pool enough money for one then we do what we can afford. I don't expect anything in return for any gift giving. I appreciate being included in gifts sent Boyfriends way and equally so for unique individual ones given to me.

If I was receiving individual gifts and did not have the money to give an individual gift back I do feel bad, but if all Boyfriend and I can afford is a joint gift it's simply all we can do. I cannot pull money out of thin air to gift equally back. I simply can't.

It isn't that I see us as being one unit to GIVE and two to RECEIVE.It's that we do what our finances allow us to do and hold absolutely no expectations of others.

Yes, seriously.  And this has been going on for better than 30  years.   It's not a matter of money for the couple, It's a matter of laziness and not caring about what they give most of the family.  They will spend $100's on one brother with whom they have a "crazy gift" contest - they both literally spend about $400-$500 a piece on the  silliest things they find all year, and then begrudge the time and money to get a single gift for the others in the family.  The extent of their "Christmas shopping" for the singles is to go to the supermarket and pick up gift cards off the display.  The message is clear in this instance...singles matter less than the couples and need to shut up about it.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Fleur on December 01, 2012, 04:14:11 AM


For me, it really depends on the individual circumstance. I have several female friends whom I would gift without gifting their partners. However, in the case where it is the male of the couple whom I know better, I would not exclude his female partner as I feel that would be inappropriate.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Raintree on December 01, 2012, 02:00:02 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.

Yeah, that would make sense to me.

I personally see the issue as financial and personal.  If boyfriend and I have the finances to buy individual gifts or are struggling to pool enough money for one then we do what we can afford. I don't expect anything in return for any gift giving. I appreciate being included in gifts sent Boyfriends way and equally so for unique individual ones given to me.

If I was receiving individual gifts and did not have the money to give an individual gift back I do feel bad, but if all Boyfriend and I can afford is a joint gift it's simply all we can do. I cannot pull money out of thin air to gift equally back. I simply can't.

It isn't that I see us as being one unit to GIVE and two to RECEIVE.It's that we do what our finances allow us to do and hold absolutely no expectations of others.

@ Drawberry, that's fine in my opinion, because nothing's "expected" in your case. I don't see why anyone should go without groceries or get behind on their bills in order to match other people's gift-giving.  But some other posters have indicated that there are couples in their family who feel that each member of a couple "deserves" their own gift. One poster even mentioned the male half of a couple, after receiving a couple gift, grousing that nobody ever gives him his own gift. Yet he doesn't give his own gift.

It's all a matter of whether entitlement attitudes are present. Nobody expects me to give BIL a separate gift, though I often do if the event is hosted at sis and BIL's house. It's a smaller one than I would give my sister. Or if it's something for the house, I address it to both of them since they will both be using it. He doesn't get me anything. My sister's gift is from both of them. I'm fine with that. I'm not counting up value and comparing. I just give what I feel I can afford and want to spend on each family member.

Now, if BIL *expected* a separate gift in spite of not giving one to me, my attitude about it would be different.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on December 01, 2012, 02:36:16 PM
A sensible rule of thumb is that if a couple normally gives you a single gift, you can give them a single gift. 
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: CakeEater on December 01, 2012, 02:54:35 PM
A friend of mine who is single just gives me a small gift, and DH and I give her a small gift. We give it as a joint gift firstly because we have joint finances, so it does come from us, even if I'm the one who does the shopping. Also, DH does wish her a merry Christmas, so I think it's perfectly reasonable for him to appear on the card.

We're both fine with her not buying a gift for both of us.
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Drawberry on December 01, 2012, 03:37:56 PM
In my family it is expected that the singles buy for both members of the couple - yet get one gift from the couple.  It does cause resentment, especially if one member of the couple is really hard to buy for, or if the couple does stuff like putting no effort into gifts or such.  I've suggested couples gifts or family gifts and have been told that I am being selfish, that the couple is two people and each deserves to receive their own gift. If I had to do it over again I would start with the couples gifts as soon as older brother got married, after a year or two it would likely be accepted, rather than letting things go and now several singles are feeling frustrated about it. 
 

Re the bolded: Seriously? If the couple is two people who deserve individual gifts then the couple can be two people that GIVE individual gifts. Talk about a ridiculous double standard.

Yeah, that would make sense to me.

I personally see the issue as financial and personal.  If boyfriend and I have the finances to buy individual gifts or are struggling to pool enough money for one then we do what we can afford. I don't expect anything in return for any gift giving. I appreciate being included in gifts sent Boyfriends way and equally so for unique individual ones given to me.

If I was receiving individual gifts and did not have the money to give an individual gift back I do feel bad, but if all Boyfriend and I can afford is a joint gift it's simply all we can do. I cannot pull money out of thin air to gift equally back. I simply can't.

It isn't that I see us as being one unit to GIVE and two to RECEIVE.It's that we do what our finances allow us to do and hold absolutely no expectations of others.

@ Drawberry, that's fine in my opinion, because nothing's "expected" in your case. I don't see why anyone should go without groceries or get behind on their bills in order to match other people's gift-giving.  But some other posters have indicated that there are couples in their family who feel that each member of a couple "deserves" their own gift. One poster even mentioned the male half of a couple, after receiving a couple gift, grousing that nobody ever gives him his own gift. Yet he doesn't give his own gift.

It's all a matter of whether entitlement attitudes are present. Nobody expects me to give BIL a separate gift, though I often do if the event is hosted at sis and BIL's house. It's a smaller one than I would give my sister. Or if it's something for the house, I address it to both of them since they will both be using it. He doesn't get me anything. My sister's gift is from both of them. I'm fine with that. I'm not counting up value and comparing. I just give what I feel I can afford and want to spend on each family member.

Now, if BIL *expected* a separate gift in spite of not giving one to me, my attitude about it would be different.



That's unfortunate when something becomes expected :\ then it's simply not a gift anymore, it's a gimmie grab-bag!

 I've been on the receiving end of individual gifts while being the second half of a couple and while I genuinely appreciate it, I certainly don't expect it. This was on an occasion in which I said I did not need anything myself but was still given very lovely individual gifts. During the holidays I struggle to gift my 'own' family and Boyfriend, if I cannot afford to give a gift on my own to someone I certainly wouldn't expect one back (or in the first place, but for the sake of argument).

Gifts. What's it with people's hang ups with gifts! Just be thankful that someone cared enough to even give you anything in the first place.

Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: ClaireC79 on December 04, 2012, 02:19:28 PM
I'd spend more on the single person's gift if that makes sense, so even though all siblings in my family are coupled off now if one was single they'd get a larger/more expensive present then each of the individuals in a couple
Title: Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
Post by: Mikayla on December 04, 2012, 03:43:55 PM
Single people definitely get the short end of the stick.  My sister is married and has 2 children.  Every year I buy them FOUR gifts, and they send me ONE.    This is not going to change.  The girls are the only children that will ever be born into the family (serious fertility problems), and nobody else in my family is ever getting married. 
Over the years, my gifts to them have gotten progressively smaller, as I simply can't afford to keep up with this 4-to-1 ratio. 
Not to mention, I had to buy ALL of my own household stuff, since my sister got a whole mess of stuff as wedding/shower presents, and I will never have either.
Hmph.  At least I never have to fight for the blankets.

Why not just give a "family" gift?  This is what I finally ended up doing, because my family procreates like minks and it just got ridiculous.

For example, one year I gave a 10 gallon aquarium set up and I wrapped all the pieces individually - heater, pump, filter, thermometer.  It was a great hit and the whole thing cost me $60.

I've also given a telescope, a basket of goodies with a couple dollar store toys included, and one year in desperation and out of brokeness, one family got the 3-kinds-of-popcorn thing delivered to them.