Author Topic: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.  (Read 4756 times)

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MorgnsGrl

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When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« on: November 30, 2012, 09:09:50 AM »
DH's brother has been estranged from the family for a number of years, but is now back in touch and will be joining ILs here at our house for Christmas lunch. He has said very firmly that he doesn't "do" gifts. He won't be giving any and he doesn't want to receive any. Usually I make a bunch of cookies and candy and give a little bag of each to the adults (my brother and his wife, SILs and BILs) because we don't otherwise exchange gifts between us. My instinct is to include him in this, but I think he really meant it when he said NO GIFTS. But it feels so awkward.

I guess I need reassurance that it is okay to find this awkward and still heed his wishes. :P

Hmmmmm

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 09:14:20 AM »
I would go ahead and make a bag for him and hand it to him as he is leaving but tell him he is welcome to decline if he'd rather not take it. 

lowspark

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 09:22:12 AM »
I'm one who doesn't really "do" gifts (although there are a very few specific exceptions to this) in that I would rather people didn't buy me stuff and I don't want to buy other people stuff.

The main reason for this is that I buy what I want and most of what other people end up buying me is stuff I just don't want. So it's easier all around if they save their money. In addition to this, I'm terrible at figuring out what other people want and end up agonizing over and spending too much for stuff they probably don't want either!*

However, if I was at a gathering where the gifts being exchanged were homemade cookies & such, I'd love to receive that as it's consumable. I'd go ahead and include him since you're handing them out to everyone. Even if he said "no gifts" it might make him feel left out if he didn't get a package of cookies like everyone else.

If he grumbles or makes any comment about his no gifts policy, just chalk it up to experience and don't bother with him next year. Either way, though, you'll have done the right thing.

*I know this makes me sort of scroogy but it's a result of years of giving and receiving gifts that just didn't work and at this point, I'd rather just go out to lunch together or something like that instead.

faithlessone

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 09:39:33 AM »
I think this is one of those situations where you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

If you do give him a parcel, he might be offended and reject it.

If you don't, he might be offended, and feel bad that everyone else got something and he didn't.

If it were me, I'd make one up for him. It's easier to take back/redistribute an unwanted package than it is to magic one up out of thin air if he does seem disappointed.

Deetee

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 09:54:33 AM »
In this case where you have a lovely handmade gift of yumminess and you do not expect reciprocity I think you should err on the side of kindness and give him the cookies. But if he declines you can send them to me.

Lynn2000

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 11:01:11 AM »
Could you make up the right number of bags, but not put people's names on them, and rather than literally handing them to people, just set them out and tell people to help themselves? That way he has the option to take one if he wants, or not, without being put on the spot.
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Allyson

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 11:33:19 AM »
I'm pretty much the same as you, lowspark. I don't do gifts except for a couple of people (my best friend and I have a tradition of exchanging small, fun items and as we collect them year round it's not difficult!)

Here's the thing for me, though. If I tell someone 'I don't do gifts' and then they get me something because *they really want to*, I will accept it graciously and enjoy it. Especially if it's food! So long as that person truly doesn't expect reciprocity and isn't going to feel slighted or secretly bitter that their giving me a gift didn't make me break my 'no gifts' policy for them.

The reason I don't do gifts is that I find it very stressful, and often in the past, when I've picked out a gift for someone I've thought was pretty cool, I've seen that look of disappointment in their eyes, or accidentally hit on an issue I didn't even know was there. I'm just no good at finding things that work.

So if I were this person I would be completely fine with receiving something from you in the spirit with which it was intended! But, that's me, and obviously I can't speak for all the no-gift people.

TootsNYC

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 11:38:18 AM »
I think if I were the OP, I'd decide this wasn't a "gift" so much as a "party favor" sort of thing.

Venus193

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2012, 11:39:34 AM »
Could you make up the right number of bags, but not put people's names on them, and rather than literally handing them to people, just set them out and tell people to help themselves? That way he has the option to take one if he wants, or not, without being put on the spot.

I think if I were the OP, I'd decide this wasn't a "gift" so much as a "party favor" sort of thing.

Agree with both of the above.

wolfie

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2012, 11:40:35 AM »
Since this brother is coming from an estrangement the entire Christmas party is going to be strained and awkward as people try hard not to do anything to restart whatever causes the separation to start with I would tread very lightly.

Do you have direct contact with him? If so I would send him a quick note saying that you usually give out Christmas cookies - would he like some? Then take his answer at face value.

If you don't have contact I would make the bags as you usually do and take some extras with you. Don't give him one but put the extras out so he can help himself.

He said no gifts - I wouldn't want to make him feel like his wishes aren't being respected and that reestablishing contact was a bad idea over some Christmas cookies.

WillyNilly

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2012, 11:46:22 AM »
I think if I were the OP, I'd decide this wasn't a "gift" so much as a "party favor" sort of thing.

I was actually thinking cookies aren't really a "gift" in the modern, common sense.  They are more of a way to share in holiday cheer.  Yes its an item you are given, but its different then the average "gift" when everyone is getting a bag of cookies; cookies are more like an embodiment and continuation of the holiday as whole.

MindsEye

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2012, 12:07:40 PM »
I was going to suggest that you not give him anything, since it said "no gifts" and it actually seems kind of PA to me to give someone a gift (or bag of cookies or whatever) after they have explicitly said that they do not want anything.

However, I like this suggestion a lot.

Could you make up the right number of bags, but not put people's names on them, and rather than literally handing them to people, just set them out and tell people to help themselves? That way he has the option to take one if he wants, or not, without being put on the spot.

Except... I would add the suggestion to make up more bags than you need... maybe an extra 4-5.  That way if he doesn't take "his" it isn't so obvious and won't hurt your feelings or make him feel put on the spot anyway. 

Then once everyone has had a first go at the bags, you can cheerfully announce that there are still a few more available because you felt like doing extra baking this year, and to please help themselves to extra if they want.

CakeBeret

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 12:22:59 PM »
Could you make up the right number of bags, but not put people's names on them, and rather than literally handing them to people, just set them out and tell people to help themselves? That way he has the option to take one if he wants, or not, without being put on the spot.

Except... I would add the suggestion to make up more bags than you need... maybe an extra 4-5.  That way if he doesn't take "his" it isn't so obvious and won't hurt your feelings or make him feel put on the spot anyway. 

Then once everyone has had a first go at the bags, you can cheerfully announce that there are still a few more available because you felt like doing extra baking this year, and to please help themselves to extra if they want.


I like this a lot. I dislike gifts in general and it's often a source of much discomfort. I wouldn't be perturbed by a bag of cookies, but I can see how some might. This is a good way to hand out cookies without any 'pressure'.
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DaDancingPsych

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2012, 02:53:09 PM »
I would probably not refer to the cookies as a gift. I might say something like, "Just wanted to share some cookies with everyone." Or "We always make too many, so I hope you can find a home for these extras." Rather than thinking and giving as a gift, share the cookies as a treat.

magicdomino

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Re: When someone doesn't "do" gifts.
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 03:06:54 PM »
Another gift-hater here (Didn't know there were so many of us lurking in the woodwork, did you?   :) )  I could live with a small bag of cookies, although I like the idea of making up a bunch of anonymous little bags and distributing them like favors.  If the gentleman still doesn't want cookies, he can pass his on to someone else without feeling like he is rejecting Extra Special Chosen-Just-For-Him cookies.