Author Topic: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day  (Read 2825 times)

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purple

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No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« on: December 25, 2013, 07:29:57 PM »
May I please ask for your opinion on how to handle this situation.

B/G
Chrissy is Mr Purple's cousin, Bree is her 19 year old daughter.  We don't see them often, just weddings, funerals, sometimes at Easter and Christmas.    They are closer with the other side of their family, so usually spend the holidays with that other side and maybe pop in to 'our' family gathering after that.  There's no bad blood or anything like that - it's just the way the relationships have panned out.

So, usually at Easter and Christmas I take a small gift for them, just in case they show up at 'our' family gathering.  The last 2 years, they haven't popped in.  The year before last, I left their gift with another cousin who was planning to see them a couple of days after and she took the gifts to them.  I received a thank you email (but no gift, not that it was expected) from Chrissy.  All good.  Last year, I ended up taking their Christmas gift back home with me and they never did get it because they didn't pop in and nobody was intending to see them, at least for the near future.  I actually ended up gifting the items to somebody else on Boxing Day.  All good.

This year, I did not take a gift for them....you know where this is going, don't you?...yes, they popped in and to make it even worse, they arrived just as the gift exchange was starting!  Normally the gift exchange would have happened a few hours ago, however, we were waiting for a cousin whose flight from the UK had been delayed by 3 hours due to the storms in London, so the gift exchange started very late and the 'lunch' didn't start until 4.30pm!  So, I'm not saying that they came intentionally at gift exchange time or anything like that.  At the time they arrived, normally we'd all be recovering from eating far too much lunch and playing with new toys etc.  They would be just nicely in time for a coffee and piece of cake with us  :).  They weren't to know of the flight delay, so it was just a case of bad timing.

They gifted Mr Purple and I but I had nothing to give them in return.  It wasn't a big deal in the moment, because there were gifts being given and received left, right and centre.  However, by the end of the gift exchange and certainly by the end of the day, they would've noticed that they gave something to us and received nothing in return.  I feel awful.

I'm thinking about just being honest with them and either emailing (with an online gift voucher attached) or mailing them a card (with a gift included) that just says 'hey, sorry we didn't have a gift for you on the day, but nobody told us you were coming so we weren't prepared'.  Obviously I'll have to find some nicer words to express that.  Would it be ok to do that? To just be honest? Chrissy is a really relaxed and easygoing type of person and I don't think she'd take offense, but...?

I really don't want to make up some obvious lie, like 'oh, we totally forgot to give you this yesterday' because she would know that's a lie!

What do you think? What would you do?

Ceallach

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2013, 07:36:10 PM »
I think sending a gift voucher or something now makes it feel very monetary - you weren't going to give them anything, so it feels as though you are paying for their gift if you do that now.   Not saying you shouldn't reciprocate, but you already do - it's not a one way relationship, if anything you have invested more in the past.  You're even. 

As long as you thanked them profusely for the gift I think you're in the clear.  I wouldn't over think it, their happiness in life is probably not defined by whether their cousin who they rarely see happened to have a gift ready for them even though they weren't expected!   
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PastryGoddess

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2013, 07:38:56 PM »
sometimes stuff happens and this is one of those times.  Unless Chrissy and Bree are the type of people who expect gifts in return, I think you were fine.  Don't apologize for not having a gift for them that day. 

I gave gifts to all of my aunts today, none of them had a gift for me in return.  I didn't expect a gift in return at all. The matriarch of the family felt bad and so she went to her purse to pull out money.  I stopped her and said that I didn't expect anything from her and to please spend that money on herself and not me. 

SamiHami

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2013, 07:44:16 PM »
I think you are fine; no reason to worry about sending a gift after the fact. Gifting between you hase been a very casual, hit and miss thing all along. I doubt if they expected a gift from you nor was one obligatory. After all, they didn't race out and buy you something after you gifted them in years past, right? As long as you pr operly thanked them I see no reason to feel badly that you didn't have a gift for them.

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Luci

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2013, 08:05:29 PM »
I think you are fine; no reason to worry about sending a gift after the fact. Gifting between you hase been a very casual, hit and miss thing all along. I doubt if they expected a gift from you nor was one obligatory. After all, they didn't race out and buy you something after you gifted them in years past, right? As long as you pr operly thanked them I see no reason to feel badly that you didn't have a gift for them.

Agree.

kudeebee

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2013, 02:11:50 AM »
I think you are fine; no reason to worry about sending a gift after the fact. Gifting between you hase been a very casual, hit and miss thing all along. I doubt if they expected a gift from you nor was one obligatory. After all, they didn't race out and buy you something after you gifted them in years past, right? As long as you pr operly thanked them I see no reason to feel badly that you didn't have a gift for them.

From your post:

I received a thank you email (but no gift, not that it was expected) from Chrissy.  All good.

I totally agree with the above post. Your gift giving with these cousins is very hit and miss, you aren't close to them.  Also, read the line I quoted from your post--you didn't worry about not getting a gift from them in years past.  So, don't worry about not having one for them this year.  Just accept the gift and enjoy it being sure to send a thank you email or note.

TurtleDove

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2013, 02:26:45 AM »
Do not give a gift now - it would make a situation that is currently just fine....awkward.

veryfluffy

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2013, 06:36:25 AM »
OP, I couldn't help noticing that this is your MrPurple's cousin, yet all the way through you are speaking as if it is your sole responsibility to manage the gifts (ie you speak in the first person singular throughout).  If these are his relations, how does he feel about any of this, and why is he not involved?
   

Runningstar

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2013, 08:22:20 AM »
I give gifts to one SIL every year and usually don't get anything back.  It doesn't bother me (and hopefully doesn't bother her).  I'd stop, but since it would mean that she was the only SIL that is excluded I just don't want to.  We exchange on Christmas eve at a big family party.  I wouldn't worry about it at all OP and just send a little note of thanks and how nice it was to see them.

Bijou

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2013, 11:17:29 AM »
I think you are fine; no reason to worry about sending a gift after the fact. Gifting between you hase been a very casual, hit and miss thing all along. I doubt if they expected a gift from you nor was one obligatory. After all, they didn't race out and buy you something after you gifted them in years past, right? As long as you pr operly thanked them I see no reason to feel badly that you didn't have a gift for them.

From your post:

I received a thank you email (but no gift, not that it was expected) from Chrissy.  All good.

I totally agree with the above post. Your gift giving with these cousins is very hit and miss, you aren't close to them.  Also, read the line I quoted from your post--you didn't worry about not getting a gift from them in years past.  So, don't worry about not having one for them this year.  Just accept the gift and enjoy it being sure to send a thank you email or note.
Exactly my thought.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Hmmmmm

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2013, 11:34:55 AM »
I think you are fine; no reason to worry about sending a gift after the fact. Gifting between you hase been a very casual, hit and miss thing all along. I doubt if they expected a gift from you nor was one obligatory. After all, they didn't race out and buy you something after you gifted them in years past, right? As long as you pr operly thanked them I see no reason to feel badly that you didn't have a gift for them.

From your post:

I received a thank you email (but no gift, not that it was expected) from Chrissy.  All good.

I totally agree with the above post. Your gift giving with these cousins is very hit and miss, you aren't close to them.  Also, read the line I quoted from your post--you didn't worry about not getting a gift from them in years past.  So, don't worry about not having one for them this year.  Just accept the gift and enjoy it being sure to send a thank you email or note.

I agree with this. I don't think you need to do anything except maybe send a thank you note but even that would not be mandatory as I'm sure you thanked them in person.

purple

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 09:45:51 PM »
OP, I couldn't help noticing that this is your MrPurple's cousin, yet all the way through you are speaking as if it is your sole responsibility to manage the gifts (ie you speak in the first person singular throughout).  If these are his relations, how does he feel about any of this, and why is he not involved?

I tend to take care of all the shopping and gift giving for Christmas, Easter, birthdays and any other gift giving occasions that pop up during the year because I really enjoy it.  I don't mind at all.  I do discuss my gift ideas with Mr Purple and he is interested and I'm certain that he would assist me or do it all himself if I asked him to.

bopper

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2013, 12:33:18 PM »
So you have given gifts to them in the past, but no reciprocal gift.
This time they gave you a gift, but you didn't have one.

Seems to even out in the long run.

Lynn2000

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Re: No reciprocal gift for Christmas Day
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 10:41:38 AM »
So you have given gifts to them in the past, but no reciprocal gift.
This time they gave you a gift, but you didn't have one.

Seems to even out in the long run.

POD to this. I wouldn't worry about it further. It was awkward because they were right there during the gift exchange, but that wasn't anyone's fault. In the past you've given them gifts and gotten no gift in return and you were cool with that; I think it would be polite to assume the same feelings on their part this time.

In the future, maybe switch to a nice greeting card only, or if you want to keep gifting them, have things mailed/emailed to them directly. That would eliminate the hit-and-miss aspect of the gift giving. Some people are fine with hit-and-miss gift giving, but it seems like it's started to give you stress, so I would eliminate either the gift-giving part or the hit-and-miss part for the future.
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