I was just thinking about this.
My BFF called me yesterday afternoon wanting to know what I thought was an appropriate price range for a bottle of champagne for a gift. She had asked around and been surprised at the answers she got. One friend told her 150 dollars!
My BFF wanted to know if I thought 70 dollars was sufficient. I was bowled over by the question, first, really nice champagne costs in the 30, 40ish dollar range, maybe a little more, second the recipient of the gift is a friend, a good friend but a friend. (And maybe this isn't relevant but it is to me, the girl receiving the champagne will just chug it without really tasting it so in my opinion good champagne is totally wasted on her.
On the other hand, she will be insulted if she receives anything other than top label.
) Apparently gifts of 30, 40, 50 dollars and more are standard in our circle for gifts for friends. (Many of us did go to a tony and expensive private school and lived in a swanky town when we were younger.) My family has never been loaded, I certainly am not, and I don't think I've ever spent 50 dollars or the equivalent on a gift for anyone, my parents included (I don't have a SO).
These are people about my age, early twenties, no more than a couple years out of school. Champagne girl has a lot of money, comes from a rich family, has a rich boyfriend who pays her a huge amount for 'working' at his company. BFF works part time (is sort of in school the rest of the time) but gets most of her money from her parents. Some of our circle do make tons of money but I don't think all or even most do. Especially given rent in expensive cities, associated expenses, etc. I work full time now, freelance, and do well for myself but I'm not rolling in dough and I have student loans to pay (I doubt any of the others do.)
My BFF ended up having a long talk about how absurd the spending of our circle is, on holiday presents specifically but in general as well. Normally I'm infuriated with her because she just does not understand the value of money. But even she can see the excessiveness in this situation. I was just floored that anyone would tell her to spend a minimum 150 dollars on a gift, so that now she feels guilty and stingy for setting a limit of 70 dollars for the gift. I weep for my generation.