Author Topic: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?  (Read 3931 times)

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Ceallach

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Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« on: December 20, 2012, 05:51:08 AM »
DH and I are hosting xmas at our house this year.  Note that our families are scattered all over the world so there is no 1 "family xmas", people just group together wherever they are.  This is our first time hosting as we've just moved into a large enough house.  We're a little torn on who we should give gifts to as there is no real precedent set as this particular "group" has never celebrated xmas together before.    (Yes I know gift giving isn't obligatory, but there is still etiquette around how it's handled!)

The guests are:

My brother & his wife - I know they are giving us gifts because they mentioned to me what they are getting my DH.

My stepbrother and his wife - last year we exchanged gifts because our parents were visiting and insisted we all exchange gifts.  We've actually joked about it since then, as honestly neither they nor us would have usually bothered (we are close but we just don't see it as necessary).

My young female cousin - her and I exchange occasional birthday gifts etc (small things) but nothing regular or consistent.  We've never exchanged xmas gifts.

My older married cousins - we have never exchanged gifts, but have enjoyed their hospitality on many occasions, including xmas eve dinners and similar.

Their 2 young children - they have 2 small kids who we are very fond of.  We don't give the kids birthday gifts anymore as they have a ridiculous amount of stuff, it just got out of control.  Usually we give something small and token gesture.  Never given them xmas gifts. 

The children's nanny & her boyfriend - the live-in nanny has nowhere else to go for xmas so is joining us.  I barely know her as she's new.  I've never met the boyfriend. 


Who would you give gifts to?  Or would you get small gifts for everybody?   I'm leaning towards getting gifts for my immediate family members, and then smaller consumable gifts for others I don't know as well e.g. cookies etc.    DH is concerned that getting people gifts who don't give us gifts will make them feel uncomfortable.  I'm concerned that people will bring us gifts and we won't have anything for them!!  The other option is to try to give my immediate family their gifts on another day, but logistically that's harder plus it's more fun to give them on xmas day.  I also don't want to do a big formal gift exchange and make a fuss, I'd rather keep it casual although I have no idea how to do that - do I give gifts on arrival?  On departure? Thoughts?   

What is the etiquette on who to give gifts to - as the hosts should it be all or nothing? 
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ClaireC79

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 05:53:54 AM »
If they are coming to you on the day I'd get something for everyone - may only be a box of biscuits or selection boxes for the kids.

I'd shove the presents under the tree and then tell the kids there's a little present for everyone under the tree, they can play santa and distribute the biscuits to the grownups

Margo

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 08:52:46 AM »
I'd get something small for everyone.

sparksals

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 08:58:16 AM »
Agreed.  You can't only buy for some and not all. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 11:07:30 AM »
I would do something little for everyone. I'm a baker so everyone would get a little container of cookies, if it were me.  I would have something small and fun for the kids, or maybe a board game for them that everyone could play.  Your brother and his wife are the only sticky ones.  Could you talk to them beforehand and ask to exchange gifts either before or after everyone else is there?
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mstigerlily

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 12:18:07 PM »
I'd do something small for everyone (like on line with a hostess present). For example, this year I'm making chocolate-covered pretzels for those kinds of guests- it's so easy, takes maybe ten minutes tops, and pretty much everyone likes them. Chocolate-covered anything works pretty well actually. A friend of mine likes to give homemade mixes (a pretty bottle of homemade cocoa mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, etc).

For your brother and his wife, maybe get a little bit more or an "actual" present but give it to them separately, like in the evening?

JenJay

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 12:29:30 PM »
I actually wouldn't purchase gifts for anyone you wouldn't normally gift because, if I showed up at Christmas dinner and my host had a gift for me when I didn't have anything for them, I'd feel terrible. Maybe you could have some baked things or boxes of goodies on hand just in case they give you something and you want to reciprocate but I wouldn't buy and wrap anything.

DH and I used to host a Christmas Eve family get-together. We didn't gift everyone who came, hosting the party was our gift (we provided everything). With people we do normally exchange with (our parents, our nephews, etc.) they'd show up early and we'd do the exchange before everyone else showed up and then we'd put our gifts away and they'd put theirs in the car.

Luci45

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 12:58:48 PM »
Everyone.

Deetee

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 05:35:25 PM »
I think your idea of gifts and family gifts of cookies is great.

And yes, I would gift everyone (or at least each family)

Ceallach

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 05:39:38 PM »
Thanks all, you're very helpful!

Jenjay expressed exactly what my concern was - which is suddenly giving gifts to people who would not be expecting them and where they might then feel the need to reciprocate.   (Plus we're fully hosting the day too - normally in our family people bring part of the meal, and they've all offered, but DH felt it would be easier just to do it all ourselves as otherwise it's tricky to plan quantities etc, so we've told them all not to bring a thing, e.g. we're doing the mains, sides and desserts for the whole crowd... and when I say "we", mostly it's DH as I'm 8 months pregnant and fairly immobile!  ;D ).  I don't want to make anybody feel uncomfortable by making them feel beholden. 

However I'm just not comfortable giving some people gifts in front of other people!!    And with the timing I don't think there's any way to have my immediate family come earlier than the non-immediate family guests.    So I'm going with little token gesture gifts such as nicely wrapped cookies etc for the other guests, so there's *something* for everybody.   I won't make a big fanfare of it, just make it casual and friendly.    (I also forgot to add that there are gifts under my tree for my siblings as well, which my parents sent over.  So doing no gifts is also not an option - gifts are definitely happening).    But this way everybody will at least get something with their name on it.   :)     
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NestHolder

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 12:07:30 PM »
I think it would be easier not to give gifts to anyone - with the possible exceptions of the children.  It's quite possible some of your guests will bring gifts for you, but as you are the hosts, it isn't necessary for you to reciprocate.  Think of them as 'hostess gifts via Santa', or something.

If you have in-house gifts, it might be prudent to either open them before the guests arrive, or hide them away until after they've gone.

Ceallach

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 06:43:36 PM »
I think it would be easier not to give gifts to anyone - with the possible exceptions of the children.  It's quite possible some of your guests will bring gifts for you, but as you are the hosts, it isn't necessary for you to reciprocate.  Think of them as 'hostess gifts via Santa', or something.

If you have in-house gifts, it might be prudent to either open them before the guests arrive, or hide them away until after they've gone.

The issue there is that we already have gifts for my siblings, so we'd have to somehow sneakily give those anyway.   There's no chance prior to xmas, and it seems a shame to have to hide away the gifts and arrange to meet up on a different day after xmas to give the xmas gifts.     I could try to encourage them to come earlier but I just don't think it's likely that they will make it before the other guests.   

I could also count on them staying later than the others but again no guarantee!
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TootsNYC

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2012, 11:19:37 AM »
If I were the nanny's boyfriend, I wouldn't expect a present from people I don't know. I would find a way to enjoy being part of the gathering while people opened presents, and it wouldn't bother me that you were giving a present to people you know better than me.

I'd be touched and feel welcomed and "hospitalitied-to" if you had a small gift for me.

So if I were you, I'd give whatever seemed appropriate to my relationship with the person. (Which means for the nanny and the boyfriend, something small and fun--a little Legos kit probably, since everybody deserves a toy for Christmas.) For family I don't normally gift, I'd get perhaps a non-token gift since they'll be at my house.

(And for the nanny, I'd assume the family will be giving her presents at that time as well--you might discuss this with that family)

bopper

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 01:37:59 PM »
Can you invite the people you would exchange gifts with a little earlier so you can do a gift exchange first?

Ceallach

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Re: Which of our Xmas guests get gifts?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 06:34:19 PM »
Can you invite the people you would exchange gifts with a little earlier so you can do a gift exchange first?

Well Christmas was well over a week ago now, so unless you know of a good time machine, probably not!    ;D


I did address that option in the below post: 
And with the timing I don't think there's any way to have my immediate family come earlier than the non-immediate family guests.

The problem with that was my immediate family are adults and separate groups, I knew one groups was likely to sleep in, and the other had a prior engagement with the other side of their family therefore couldn't arrive any earlier.  The non-immediate family had small children etc and (as expected) they showed up right on time.   As it happened, the non-immediate family guests were all there a good hour or so before anybody else.

It all went well.  I did the gift handing out super fast so that it wasn't too obvious who gave to who and who didn't.   (My immediate family gave to each other, some gave to other people they knew some not).  But everybody got *something*.    The next day DH commented to me "By the way, you were right about the presents!".    I think he realised I was right and that it would have been awkward if some people had nothing.  So all's well that ends well.  DH cooked a superb meal, but for the most part it was a fairly informal, relaxed day.   I'm just glad it's over to be honest - for me it's all about January and countdown to my due date at the moment!
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