Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Lady Snowdon on June 17, 2010, 10:38:05 AM

Title: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Lady Snowdon on June 17, 2010, 10:38:05 AM
Over in the Wedding Etiquette folder, in the Bridesmaid gift thread, someone mentioned that they thought it showed a lack of thought and was kind of rude to give multiple people the same gift, whether it was bridesmaids, or at Christmas, or whatever.  I was struck by this; giving multiple people the same gift is the only way I can afford to gift everyone that we exchange gifts with at Christmas!  Usually I pick a theme, and give everyone gifts based on that theme, with minor variations.  Last year it was painted glass; I gave people suncatchers that I'd painted, candle holders that I'd painted, etc.  The year before that, it was chocolate, and everyone got baskets with various goodies made with chocolate in them.  This year it's ornaments; I'm going to give an ornament to everyone that I've decorated.  Am I being rude in doing this? 
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Yarnie on June 17, 2010, 10:57:44 AM
I don't know if its rude, but honestly, if I'm getting the same gift as everyone else, I feel like its not really a gift meant for me.  Now, if you change things a bit to reflect the people you are giving the gift to, then that's different.  So, for example, if you make me a cat ornament because you know I love cats, and betsy a dog one, because she loves dogs, then that's great.

But if we all get the same ornament painted with snowflakes, then, eh.  I'll still be appreciative, but I probably won't value it like I would something personal.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Kaypeep on June 17, 2010, 11:12:47 AM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift.  It's a gift.  You don't have to love it but you should accept it gracefully and move on.

Unless you are giving a gift that is deliberately useless/hurtful/malicious/otherwise innappropriate I can't see why any gift you give would be considered rude. 

To the OP, I don't think you're method of gift giving is rude, but as one of the other posters said, it might not be as appreciated as a gift that the reciever truly wants or needs might be.    But I wouldn't go crazy changing your method, either.  After all, you could scour the earth looking for "the perfect gift" and the recipient can still say "meh".  It's the risk you take with giving gifts.  I think the strategy you have ensures that every recipient knows you put your heart into the gift whether or not they appreciate it as much as you hope they would.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: nrb80 on June 17, 2010, 11:13:15 AM
I often buy the same gift based on "classes" of relatives - boys/men 20-35 (my cousins), women over 50, men over 50, etc.  Much of my family does the same.  One year all the cousins got roll-on garment bags, for example, one year when I was a student everyone got a blockbuster gift card and movie night basket, etc.  Every year my Mom gets them nice dress shirts (in the correct sizes and colors), etc.  

As for friends, everyone gets my holiday jams, jellies, and cookies basket, which is pretty much the same except for diabetics.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Hushabye on June 17, 2010, 11:25:08 AM
This is what my great-grandparents did when the family started getting enormous (yay, Catholic families! ;D), and it's what my grandparents do now, especially since my grandmother started having to deal with dementia three years ago.  I don't think it's rude -- I can see us doing something similar in the future (we buy for a LOT of people).
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: high dudgeon on June 17, 2010, 11:29:53 AM
I think it all depends on whether you honestly and genuinely think each individual would like the gift. If you believe that each friend or relative would enjoy having a hand painted suncatcher or chocolate goodies, then it's not rude. But if you know Aunt Sarah hates clutter and knickknacks, and you give her a suncatcher because everyone's getting suncatchers this year, or you know your BFF is a diabetic who's trying to lose weight and doesn't really like chocolate and she gets chocolate goodies too, then I think that's rude. It really depends on how well the gift is chosen and if you're doing it with the understanding that it's something that would make them happy, not just because it's easier for the giver. But if to your knowledge it does work for everyone, then I can't see why a recipient would look down on it just because other people received the same thing. It's not a contest, it's a present.

Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Amava on June 17, 2010, 11:31:32 AM
Absolutely not rude, a gift is a gift and one should not look a gift horse into the mouth.

Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Lynnv on June 17, 2010, 11:34:34 AM
Perhaps gifts like this are not as personal, but I don't believe it is rude.  I give the same gifts to everyone-and they don't even vary from year to year, let alone from person to person.  Homemade jams and jellies plus stained glass items for everyone.  The only thing that varies is the flavor variety (and the count of jars) for the canned goods and the size/pattern for the glass items.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Yarnie on June 17, 2010, 11:41:21 AM
I should start out saying that my love language is definitely gifts.  I spend a lot of time trying to think up the exact right gift for people.  And I love getting presents.

But, honestly, I'd rather have someone give me something not to my taste, but was picked out special for me, than to get a generic gift that I happened to like. 

For example, if Great Aunt Mildred gave me a pair of pink overalls with tomatoes on the butt, and said "I know how you love to garden and you love your tomatoes, and the second I saw them, I thought of you!", that would mean more to me than if she gave me a nice variety of chocolate that everyone else got.  And I hate pink.  And I'd look terrible in overalls.

Sure, I LIKE the chocolate better, but the fact that she put no thought into what I'd like doesn't make for a very nice gift for me.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: rashea on June 17, 2010, 11:42:32 AM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift.  It's a gift.  You don't have to love it but you should accept it gracefully and move on.

I don't think anyone is saying otherwise. You accept it and give your thank you, but that doesn't mean the gift isn't thoughtless. Note that I say thoughtless and not rude. If you (general) give me something that clearly has little thought behind it, then I will take that as a possible indication of the level of our friendship is not what I thought (assuming I thought I was very close to someone and I got something really generic from them). I don't expect to get the perfect gift, but I do expect that a close friend would pick something for me.

Extended family (well, mine doesn't do gifts for extended family) is a bit different. Large groups of friends, or co-workers might get something based on a theme. Close friends and family, not in my circle.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: high dudgeon on June 17, 2010, 11:49:50 AM
I also think it depends on how much variation within a theme you allow yourself. If the present is a basket of jams and and snacks, and you know one recipient's favorite flavor is raspberry and another's is apple, and you tailor the baskets to those flavors for those people, it makes it more personal. Or if you're knitting scarves for everyone, and you do on in Gryffindor's house colors for the HP fan and a fluffy pink one for the girly girl, that's making it more personal. So even giving the same gift to everyone doesn't have to be impersonal if you don't want it to be. But a gift doesn't have to be personalize to be pleasant or polite.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Fleur-de-Lis on June 17, 2010, 12:02:22 PM
I believe giving everybody the same gift is fine.  When I was a bridesmaid, the bride gave us each a CD of music in a genre we both share; I received a classical CD; another bridesmaid received a rock CD, etc.  We also received bracelets. 

I have given "identical" gifts several times - and will again.  One year, everybody received a "Picnic at the office" kit - a small cutting board, a sharp knife, and a pretty napkin.  Another year, everybody received jewelry pouches I had made in "their" colors. 

Emma
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Kaypeep on June 17, 2010, 01:37:03 PM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift.  It's a gift.  You don't have to love it but you should accept it gracefully and move on.

I don't think anyone is saying otherwise. You accept it and give your thank you, but that doesn't mean the gift isn't thoughtless. Note that I say thoughtless and not rude. If you (general) give me something that clearly has little thought behind it, then I will take that as a possible indication of the level of our friendship is not what I thought (assuming I thought I was very close to someone and I got something really generic from them). I don't expect to get the perfect gift, but I do expect that a close friend would pick something for me.

This is where I disagree.  There are thoughtless gifts (bacon of the month club given to a vegetarian, for example) but also well intentioned gifts that are just off the mark.  It troubles me that some people find fault with these types of gifts and read into them in such a way as to re-evaluate the depth of the relationship.  My best friend used to give me the worst holiday gifts.  It reached a point where I just said "can we save money and skip holiday gifts, let's just do dinner together instead."  I never judged his bad gifts as a reflection of his feelings for me, he was just terrible at buying gifts.   Being my friend is gift enough.  It saddens me that some people put so much emphasis on gifts, be it cost or meaning.  And it saddens me more that a lot of gift givers seem to question themselves now (like the OP) when their heart is so obviously in the right place. 
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: rashea on June 17, 2010, 02:01:35 PM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift.  It's a gift.  You don't have to love it but you should accept it gracefully and move on.

I don't think anyone is saying otherwise. You accept it and give your thank you, but that doesn't mean the gift isn't thoughtless. Note that I say thoughtless and not rude. If you (general) give me something that clearly has little thought behind it, then I will take that as a possible indication of the level of our friendship is not what I thought (assuming I thought I was very close to someone and I got something really generic from them). I don't expect to get the perfect gift, but I do expect that a close friend would pick something for me.
This is where I disagree.  There are thoughtless gifts (bacon of the month club given to a vegetarian, for example) but also well intentioned gifts that are just off the mark.  It troubles me that some people find fault with these types of gifts and read into them in such a way as to re-evaluate the depth of the rel@tionship.  My best friend used to give me the worst holiday gifts.  It reached a point where I just said "can we save money and skip holiday gifts, let's just do dinner together instead."  I never judged his bad gifts as a reflection of his feelings for me, he was just terrible at buying gifts.   Being my friend is gift enough.  It saddens me that some people put so much emphasis on gifts, be it cost or meaning.  And it saddens me more that a lot of gift givers seem to question themselves now (like the OP) when their heart is so obviously in the right place. 

Being bad at picking gifts and not thinking of the person when you pick are different. And I can usually tell the person who tried, but missed the mark. And to me, that's fine. It's when it seems clear that the person didn't try. Trying and failing to pick a good gift works, picking up the first thing you saw at the store doesn't.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: PeasNCues on June 17, 2010, 02:18:27 PM
How do you know the person didn't think of you?

For me, getting a general gift often involves the thought of "will everyone like this?"

If the answer is "yes," then I get the gift.

It may not be personalized, but gosh darn if I didn't think of everyone for whom I purchased something.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Yarnie on June 17, 2010, 02:31:58 PM
Well, because, if you are thinking of everyone, you aren't thinking of me in particular.  

Let's say that everyone likes kittens.  Cause, honestly, who doesn't like kittens.

You come into my office and say "Hey, have this kitten in a basket.  I also threw in a can of kitten food, and a brush!"

Now, i'd say "Thanks!  I love kittens!"  

But then I notice that you have a cart of kittens in baskets.  and you are giving them to everyone.  Sure, we all love kittens.  But its not very personal.

now, if you say "Hey, here's a kitten in a basket!  I tested this kitten with yarn, since I know you knit, and it didn't attack it at all!  Plus, its a calico, and I know you love calico kittens."

Now, I feel like that although you've just given everyone a kitten in a basket, you did think of me in particular.  I feel warm and fuzzy, and like you cared enough to think of me.

Oh, and the reason why I have kittens on the brain is because we just got Hilde:

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4708635377_381be98bae.jpg)
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: PeasNCues on June 17, 2010, 02:34:28 PM
But I did think of you in particular because I thought specifically of you when deciding if this was a gift that would be liked and valued by all.

Just because I didn't ONLY think of you doesn't make it a thoughtless gift.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: RainhaDoTexugo on June 17, 2010, 02:56:35 PM
Yarnie, how do I get on the kitten list?  ;D

I think it really depends on the rel@tionship.  For some people, there's really an expectation that the gift should require some serious thought.  It varies from person to person, but in my life, that would be DF, a few very close friends that we spend a lot of time with, and close family like my mom, brother, and SIL.  I'd be very uncomfortable giving any of those people a generic box of chocolates, or the same bath set everybody else was getting, unless it was in addition to the "real" gift.

There is, however, a second tier.  In my life, the second tier is all the people we see on Christmas that aren't in the first tier.  In our family, that usually amounts to some small token gift, and it's often the same thing, or nearly the same thing, for everybody.  If my cousin buys everyone an ornament, it fits the group gifting dynamic, and I'm going to be happy she went to the trouble of buying me that ornament, and I'm going to put it on my tree every year and think about my cousin.  I'm more likely to make some small thing than buy it, because I'm crafty, but I know my family has been happy with a homemade ornament, or a jar of jam I made (in fact, one of my cousins asked me if I'd make her more ornaments for next year, several years after I first gave them, because she likes them so much and gets compliments on them!  That made my day!).  If my brother gave out ornaments and nothing else, and that's all I got, I'd be hurt and wonder what I did wrong, and I'd expect him to wonder the same thing if all I gave him was the general small gift I got everyone else.

And then there are people like my mom, who's the reason we switched from everyone gifting everyone, to drawing names with optional small extras like ornaments or homemade jam.  She'd go out every year, and buy whatever bright orange or yellow fleece hoodie came in enough sizes to buy one for everybody (from my adult cousins to their 8 year old kids to her sister in her 60s) for under $5 each.  Same story every year, with slightly different clothing.  Nobody liked them, and it was also a waste of my mom's time and money.  She'd have been better off thinking "is my niece going to want a bright yellow fleece hoodie?" instead of "oooh, what's on the clearance rack?" but it was clear she wasn't thinking that (you'll have to trust me, since you guys don't know my mom).  Nobody held it against her, because they knew that's just how she is, but I still think it was clearly pretty thoughtless to give everybody the same gift with no indication that any of them would like it.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 17, 2010, 03:07:49 PM
I don't see anything wrong with giving everyone the same gift, especially when it sounds like you personalize them a bit for each recipient.

My mom had a group of friends and family that she like to give something to at Christmas.  So they'd get a bag with a bottle of maple syrup, a bag of wild rice and a jar of her homemade red pepper jelly.  She would get individual gifts for immediate family.

When a friend of mine got married, she gave each of us one of those charm bracelets that were popular a few years ago.  But each one was personalized with three different charms - one with our initial, one with an animal we liked and one with something we liked to do.  I thought it was a sweet idea.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Coruscation on June 17, 2010, 09:02:42 PM
I should start out saying that my love language is definitely gifts.  I spend a lot of time trying to think up the exact right gift for people.  And I love getting presents.

But, honestly, I'd rather have someone give me something not to my taste, but was picked out special for me, than to get a generic gift that I happened to like. 

For example, if Great Aunt Mildred gave me a pair of pink overalls with tomatoes on the butt, and said "I know how you love to garden and you love your tomatoes, and the second I saw them, I thought of you!", that would mean more to me than if she gave me a nice variety of chocolate that everyone else got.  And I hate pink.  And I'd look terrible in overalls.

Sure, I LIKE the chocolate better, but the fact that she put no thought into what I'd like doesn't make for a very nice gift for me.

Whereas as another pink hating non overall wearing chocoholic/tomatoaholic, I'd be thinking. "Does this woman not know how much I hate pink, and overalls? And since when does liking to eat or grow something mean you like to have a picture of it, anywhere but especially on your butt. If I got the chocolates, I'd have thought, this woman knows me so well.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: rashea on June 18, 2010, 07:12:03 AM
Yarnie, how do I get on the kitten list?  ;D

I think it really depends on the rel@tionship.  For some people, there's really an expectation that the gift should require some serious thought.  It varies from person to person, but in my life, that would be DF, a few very close friends that we spend a lot of time with, and close family like my mom, brother, and SIL.  I'd be very uncomfortable giving any of those people a generic box of chocolates, or the same bath set everybody else was getting, unless it was in addition to the "real" gift.

There is, however, a second tier.  In my life, the second tier is all the people we see on Christmas that aren't in the first tier.  In our family, that usually amounts to some small token gift, and it's often the same thing, or nearly the same thing, for everybody.  If my cousin buys everyone an ornament, it fits the group gifting dynamic, and I'm going to be happy she went to the trouble of buying me that ornament, and I'm going to put it on my tree every year and think about my cousin.  I'm more likely to make some small thing than buy it, because I'm crafty, but I know my family has been happy with a homemade ornament, or a jar of jam I made (in fact, one of my cousins asked me if I'd make her more ornaments for next year, several years after I first gave them, because she likes them so much and gets compliments on them!  That made my day!).  If my brother gave out ornaments and nothing else, and that's all I got, I'd be hurt and wonder what I did wrong, and I'd expect him to wonder the same thing if all I gave him was the general small gift I got everyone else.

And then there are people like my mom, who's the reason we switched from everyone gifting everyone, to drawing names with optional small extras like ornaments or homemade jam.  She'd go out every year, and buy whatever bright orange or yellow fleece hoodie came in enough sizes to buy one for everybody (from my adult cousins to their 8 year old kids to her sister in her 60s) for under $5 each.  Same story every year, with slightly different clothing.  Nobody liked them, and it was also a waste of my mom's time and money.  She'd have been better off thinking "is my niece going to want a bright yellow fleece hoodie?" instead of "oooh, what's on the clearance rack?" but it was clear she wasn't thinking that (you'll have to trust me, since you guys don't know my mom).  Nobody held it against her, because they knew that's just how she is, but I still think it was clearly pretty thoughtless to give everybody the same gift with no indication that any of them would like it.

This, exactly. There are relationships where the "group gift" isn't an issue, and ones where it is.

As for how you can tell. Generally if I'm exchanging gifts with someone directly, there's some discussion on the thought behind it. Or I can look and see that they may have gotten everyone a movie basket, but they remembered that I liked romantic comedies. That's at least a bit of personalization. But if I see that they gave everyone the exact same basket, I'm going to doubt that everyone absolutely loves "Pretty Woman" enough that they all needed a copy.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: WildChild@Heart on June 18, 2010, 06:43:00 PM
Adorable !

Oh, and the reason why I have kittens on the brain is because we just got Hilde:

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4708635377_381be98bae.jpg)
[/quote]
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Kimblee on June 18, 2010, 07:09:31 PM
Well, because, if you are thinking of everyone, you aren't thinking of me in particular.  

Let's say that everyone likes kittens.  Cause, honestly, who doesn't like kittens.

You come into my office and say "Hey, have this kitten in a basket.  I also threw in a can of kitten food, and a brush!"

Now, i'd say "Thanks!  I love kittens!"  

But then I notice that you have a cart of kittens in baskets.  and you are giving them to everyone.  Sure, we all love kittens.  But its not very personal.

now, if you say "Hey, here's a kitten in a basket!  I tested this kitten with yarn, since I know you knit, and it didn't attack it at all!  Plus, its a calico, and I know you love calico kittens."

Now, I feel like that although you've just given everyone a kitten in a basket, you did think of me in particular.  I feel warm and fuzzy, and like you cared enough to think of me.

Oh, and the reason why I have kittens on the brain is because we just got Hilde:

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4708635377_381be98bae.jpg)

Hilde looks like my Missy.

xcept Missy has lime green eyes.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: kudeebee on June 19, 2010, 11:26:33 AM
My ILs always gave dh and his brother the same gift and sil and I the same.  So, it became the standing joke amongst the 4 of us to see who got their lists to the ILs first, as that is what they bought.  Dh and I were polite and thanked them, then threw away or donated most of the gifts if we weren't able to use them or they weren't our taste.  We always felt like why do lists if you are not going to use them?   
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: furrcats on June 19, 2010, 05:08:48 PM
Well, because, if you are thinking of everyone, you aren't thinking of me in particular.  

Let's say that everyone likes kittens.  Cause, honestly, who doesn't like kittens.

You come into my office and say "Hey, have this kitten in a basket.  I also threw in a can of kitten food, and a brush!"

Now, i'd say "Thanks!  I love kittens!"  

But then I notice that you have a cart of kittens in baskets.  and you are giving them to everyone.  Sure, we all love kittens.  But its not very personal.


Great post!  ;D








now, if you say "Hey, here's a kitten in a basket!  I tested this kitten with yarn, since I know you knit, and it didn't attack it at all!  Plus, its a calico, and I know you love calico kittens."

Now, I feel like that although you've just given everyone a kitten in a basket, you did think of me in particular.  I feel warm and fuzzy, and like you cared enough to think of me.

Oh, and the reason why I have kittens on the brain is because we just got Hilde:

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4708635377_381be98bae.jpg)
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Brentwood on June 19, 2010, 05:16:02 PM
Am I being rude in doing this? 

No.

My mother does this every year at Christmas with her adult children & their spouses as well as my adult daughter and her husband (that's 12 people!) - this past year all the "girls" got lounging sets (lounge pants & top). We all got a different color set based on our preferences. Mine is purple. The "boys" got flannel lined shirt jackets.

When she's feeling up to making them all, she'll do theme quilts - one year the boys all got sports/hobby themed quilts; the next year the girls all got holiday themed quilts.

With 12 adult children and 12 kid children (11 grandchildren, one great-grandchild) to buy for, I can hardly blame my parents for making things easier on themselves. Maybe the gifts are a bit generic, but they are 71 years old and retired, and shopping for that number of people is undoubtedly overwhelming at times. One year we all got gift cards - Kohl's for the adults and Barnes & Noble for the kids - and Mom actually felt guilty about that! I told her not to.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Brentwood on June 19, 2010, 05:18:31 PM
I should add that I am wearing the lounge set in question right at this moment! :)
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: A.P. Wulfric on June 19, 2010, 07:34:15 PM
I don't see anything wrong with giving everyone the same gift, especially when it sounds like you personalize them a bit for each recipient.
.
When a friend of mine got married, she gave each of us one of those charm bracelets that were popular a few years ago.  But each one was personalized with three different charms - one with our initial, one with an animal we liked and one with something we liked to do.  I thought it was a sweet idea.

Which one of my bridesmaids were you?  Basketball, swimmer, motorcycle or book?
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Myrindyl on June 19, 2010, 10:36:45 PM
So just for curiosity's sake, is it ever acceptable for the thought that counts to be "I love you enough to squeeze you into my tiny budget, here's your [somewhat generic thing that's fairly similar to what I got everyone else]"? Or is it better to just cut people from your gift-giving list because you can't afford a hand-selected gift for everyone?

No snark intended (I'm in a snark-at-the-world mood today, I apologize if it bled through) - this may very well be a decision I'll have to make this Christmas.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 19, 2010, 10:43:06 PM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift.  It's a gift.  You don't have to love it but you should accept it gracefully and move on.

Unless you are giving a gift that is deliberately useless/hurtful/malicious/otherwise innappropriate I can't see why any gift you give would be considered rude. 

To the OP, I don't think you're method of gift giving is rude, but as one of the other posters said, it might not be as appreciated as a gift that the receiver truly wants or needs might be.    But I wouldn't go crazy changing your method, either.  After all, you could scour the earth looking for "the perfect gift" and the recipient can still say "meh".  It's the risk you take with giving gifts.  I think the strategy you have ensures that every recipient knows you put your heart into the gift whether or not they appreciate it as much as you hope they would.

I agree--this sort of pressure is what pretty much destroyed Christmas for several years. And it wasn't even that the people I was giving gifts to ever said anything.

I just put so much pressure on myself. It was awful.

I think there are situations in which "the same gift for everybody" is really all that's appropriate. All the aunts & uncles at Christmas? I think it's fine. It's not like I'm going to be able to give them something specific to them alone each year. I don't have that kind of relationship with them. And to be honest, they're not expecting anything that personal. So I give them all a pair of really nice white taper candles, and everybody's happy. It's a token sort of gift anyway.

Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 19, 2010, 10:45:41 PM
So just for curiosity's sake, is it ever acceptable for the thought that counts to be "I love you enough to squeeze you into my tiny budget, here's your [somewhat generic thing that's fairly similar to what I got everyone else]"? Or is it better to just cut people from your gift-giving list because you can't afford a hand-selected gift for everyone?

No snark intended (I'm in a snark-at-the-world mood today, I apologize if it bled through) - this may very well be a decision I'll have to make this Christmas.

Yes. That *is* one of the components of "the thought that counts."

Of course it's not as powerful as "I really spent time trying to figure out what you'd like."
But it is part of the equation.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: purplemuse on June 21, 2010, 02:23:38 PM
I think there are different "levels" of giving everyone the same gift.

-- giving everyone the same type of gift, but tailoring it to their personalities (e.g. giving everyone a blanket, but picking out fabric geared especially to them)

-- deciding that "everyone likes chocolate" (for example), so every person gets a Whitman's sampler

-- hearing that X really wants a certain movie, and deciding to buy everyone that movie regardless of whether or not they've expressed an interest in it.

I think the first can be kind of neat, and I don't really mind the second, but the third can be hurtful, especially (for me) when X is my more-outgoing sister, and the gift giver is our mother.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: blarg314 on June 22, 2010, 12:22:31 AM

I think it comes down not so much to rude vs polite as to what sort of message the gift gives to the recipient.

Giving identical gifts to people close to you (who know each other) can easily come across as lazy; looking for the quickest or cheapest possible way to get your gift buying down with a minimum of effort. Or it can come across as not really caring if the person likes the gift they get - they're getting what everyone else gets, regardless.

Giving multiple gifts that come out of a hobby or interest of your own can work quite well - if you keep in mind the people you are giving the gifts too. Say you make home-made jewelry. Giving multiple people hand-made jewelry for Christmas in different designs and types could be really nice, a thoughtful and creative gift.  Giving everyone matching bracelets, even the people who absolutely hate wearing jewelry, says more about what you want than about what the recipients might like.



Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 22, 2010, 08:48:45 AM
I don't see anything wrong with giving everyone the same gift, especially when it sounds like you personalize them a bit for each recipient.
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When a friend of mine got married, she gave each of us one of those charm bracelets that were popular a few years ago.  But each one was personalized with three different charms - one with our initial, one with an animal we liked and one with something we liked to do.  I thought it was a sweet idea.

Which one of my bridesmaids were you?  Basketball, swimmer, motorcycle or book?

Cat and knitter.   ;D
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Roe on June 22, 2010, 11:24:19 AM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift. 

I agree.

My grandmother gives all of her 12 grandchildren, 7 spouses of those grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren basically the same gifts every year. 

Kids get gift certificates to their favorite fast food place (which they all canít wait to get even though they know what they are getting) and the female adults get handmade crochet items while the male adults get socks or wallets. 

We donít expect her to give us anything, esp considering the amount of family we have but she does.  And so what if itís the same thingÖso what?  She loves us all and is thinking about us.  Thatís what matters and whatís important. I happen to love my purple scarf and the fact that she made it makes it even more special. 
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: klm75 on June 22, 2010, 12:49:23 PM
I don't understand why people are trying to find fault with receiving a gift. 

I agree.

My grandmother gives all of her 12 grandchildren, 7 spouses of those grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren basically the same gifts every year. 

Kids get gift certificates to their favorite fast food place (which they all canít wait to get even though they know what they are getting) and the female adults get handmade crochet items while the male adults get socks or wallets. 

We donít expect her to give us anything, esp considering the amount of family we have but she does.  And so what if itís the same thingÖso what?  She loves us all and is thinking about us.  Thatís what matters and whatís important. I happen to love my purple scarf and the fact that she made it makes it even more special. 


My Great Grandmother knit mittens and put a $2 bill inside them.  We all remember it foundly, often talking about it at reunions, though she has been gone 9 years now.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Punky B. on June 24, 2010, 05:19:33 PM
My great grandma knitted these things we call "Elf booties" for everyone- they were odd slippers made of yarn.  But we always looked forward to them, and guessing what color they would be was part of the fun!  She passed several years ago, I miss those things.

Sometimes I do the "same gift but personalized" thing- I'd be really hurt if someone complained, but at least I know I wouldn't have to get them anything next year. :P
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: kingsrings on June 25, 2010, 10:24:03 AM
My great grandma knitted these things we call "Elf booties" for everyone- they were odd slippers made of yarn.  But we always looked forward to them, and guessing what color they would be was part of the fun!  She passed several years ago, I miss those things.

Sometimes I do the "same gift but personalized" thing- I'd be really hurt if someone complained, but at least I know I wouldn't have to get them anything next year. :P

ITA. I wouldn't want to bother anymore with anyone who was being so picky and judgemental about the gifts I give them.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: FauxFoodist on July 07, 2010, 07:21:52 PM
I was wondering why so few posters were chiming in on the Favour Etiquette thread.  Now, I see that y'all came over here!

I don't think it's rude to give people the same gift, and I think it's presumptuous to believe that no thought went into the gift-giving because they are identical (now, what the identical gifts actually ARE is a different story, as one PP said something about brightly-colored discount hoodies).  I prefer not to give people the same gift (because then the gift will often have no meaning for me).  However, last year DF and I gave the same gift to his cousin and her family and my sister's kids.  We bought reusable popcorn containers, Netflix gift certificates, microwave popcorn and various theatre-size boxes of candy, and I made movie gift baskets for everyone (one big one for his cousin's family and two little ones for my niece and nephew).  While they weren't as personal as the gift baskets we made for his other two cousins, a lot of thought still went into them (one cousin and his wife got a pet stuff gift basket -- Litter box "basket," big cat toy and big dog toy since they're so into their pets and the other cousin is a vegan so his gift basket was a serving tray with several bags of different dried fruits and nuts).
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: DragonKitty on July 13, 2010, 02:56:17 PM
I'll fess up and admit I am one of those who gives the same/similar gifts at Christmas.  This past year, I gave out various flavored breads (*everyone* wanted the 'orange cranberry' bread!), previous year it was different soaps that I'd made, year before was candles from a variety of molds.  One year everyone was quite happy with the beeswax tapers I'd made.   Because same as one of the PP's, the list is quite extensive on DH's side of the family.

So it does come down to being thriftier to make a large batch of soap or candles (or whatever else I'm making) than to try to find individual gifts for all of them.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: saki on July 14, 2010, 10:57:00 AM
My parents-in-law do the same gift for everyone gift thing at Christmas, I never really minded this, except for last year:  they gave a carefully chosen cookbook to my brother-in-law and his fiancee and a storage box each to everyone else.  I just felt that that was a bit of a slap in the face - I mean, a) it's a storage box, a really strange gift! and b) they'd taken the trouble to select something personally for one child and their partner but not for the other three children and their partners.  If they'd given us all different cookbooks tailored to what we all liked, that would have been fine; if they'd given us all storage boxes, I would have thought that weird but fine; making the effort for one person but no-one else, did slip into rude for me.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: supotco on July 16, 2010, 05:33:13 PM

I dunno, one of my late relatives used to make a habit of giving all the 'kids' (me, my brother, two cousins) a Toblerone bar at Christmas.

I have a nut allergy and therefore regard Toblerone bars warily, as if they might attack. I certainly don't eat them. 

My mother did mention to the elderly relative that I was allergic to nuts and perhaps it would be nice to give me something that I didn't have to give away, but this caused panicked cries of 'But then it wouldn't be the same!' (no, we never did work out why it had to be Toblerone)
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Winterlight on July 28, 2010, 01:37:59 PM
I think if it's "variations on a theme" it's ok. If I decide to give coffee mugs to my office mates and pick one with banjos for the bluegrass musician and a train themed one for the railway addict, that's working with their interests. However, giving everyone a Samoyed mug because I love Sammies and therefore everyone should is not.

In the example given, if you give a Border Collie ornament to Sue because she adores them and an Ultimate Fighting ornament to Kay because she's into MMA, that would be fine in my book.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: dragonflies on July 29, 2010, 01:11:01 PM
I do this.
One year I made hand painted glass ornaments for extended members of the family (sister in laws, aunts etc).  Another year, I gave everyone a bath and body works set (and yes, they all use that stuff).  They had a  sale buy 3 get 3 free - plus I had coupons.  If I knew they love a particular scent I got it but if not I got something that went with their personality.  Another year, I made jewelery.

For my daughter's day car teachers, the younger teachers I gave them lip gloss kits and the older teachers got slippers (with gift receipts).  She has 6 teachers.
This year, I hope I can afford to give them gift cards.

To me, they are little token gifts.  I wouldn't give my husband the same gift I give my father in law.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: LadyR on August 21, 2010, 02:22:05 AM
I don't know if it's rude, but... I have a cousin the same age as I am (our birthdays are one month apart) and growing up our aunts and uncles would get us exactly the same gift, just in different colours. This was every single Christmas and birthday. Even our mothers would do a version of this (buy their daughter several outfits and then get an extra one for niece or something similar). We had very different interets and personalities so this got annoying fast and I think contributed to an occasionally-contentious relationship between the two of us (I think we both resented always being grouped together as one person).

However, if you're not doing it constantly and you're giving some thought to the person's likes and dislikes, then I don't see the problem with it. I got my BMs mostly matching gifts, but added something personalized for all of them. Last Christmas I bought my two bffs the same poetry book (but I knew they'd both like it), but I wouldn't buy the same gift for everyone on my list without making sure that they'd all like it.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Evil Duckie on August 24, 2010, 09:07:13 PM
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Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: RedWolf on August 25, 2010, 02:01:19 PM
I do this sometimes, too. A year ago I made blankets for all the nieces and nephews - and if they'd complained, I would have been pretty insulted, considering how much time AND money went into those things!

A bit further back, I got several large bottles of lotion in various scents and divided it into smaller bottles - this was a "bonus" gift with the more personal, main gift for all the women in the family, but I selected scents based on what each woman liked.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Lysistrata on August 26, 2010, 12:20:24 AM
I sure hope it isn't rude! I'm planning on making little "gift baskets" for my mom and sister, possibly also my aunt and DH's sisters. The idea is to fill them with things like soaps, bubble bath, and other scented goodies but tailor each one to the person who will be receiving it. I know these women like scented frou-frou products, so I'm thinking of it as a kind of "make-your-own-spa-day" gift.
Title: Re: Rude to give people the same gift?
Post by: Nuku on September 17, 2010, 11:07:18 AM
I think handmade gifts can be a little different, because you know that work and effort went into them. I come from a family with a lot of creative people, and I'm used to getting something that might be in general the same item my sister got, but inidividualized for me. And a lot of time and effort often goes into these items.

I do give my co-workers "matching" gifts. Generally, it's a selection of homemade cookies and candies based on what I know they all like. And I think for those kinds of gifts, something similar is OK - I know I don't expect more than that.

For bridesmaids' gifts, I'm very used to the idea that those gifts are often the jewelry that the women are expected to wear with their dresses. Since that takes away an extra expense, I'm fine with that, too.