Author Topic: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?  (Read 8002 times)

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Samgirl2

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Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:31:29 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?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 10:21:16 AM by Samgirl2 »

Sharnita

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 08:58:54 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.

Sterling

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 09:09:28 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.
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jmarvellous

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 10:02:32 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.

Yvaine

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 10:12:49 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

Shoo

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 10:13:03 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.

MindsEye

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 10:44:42 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.


KenveeB

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 11:07:04 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.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 12:44:14 PM »
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.

snowdragon

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 01:23:01 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. 
 

ilrag

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 02:59:24 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. 

camlan

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 03:20:40 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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bonyk

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 04:42:46 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.

KenveeB

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 08:53:25 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.

lady_disdain

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Re: Gifts between singles and couples - how do you do it?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 09:39:31 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?).