May I please ask for your opinion on how to handle this situation.
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?