Poll

If you are New Girlfriend and you are going to Boyfriend's pseudo-family Xmas dinner and gift exchange to meet everyone for the first time, which scenario is the least bad?

You get unexpected group gift from pseudo-family
10 (15.2%)
You are tipped off about said group gift, and go shopping to get gifts for people you have never met
13 (19.7%)
You have no gift to open during gift exchange
6 (9.1%)
You are given token inexpensive gift to open during gift exchange
37 (56.1%)

Total Members Voted: 43

Voting closed: December 17, 2006, 04:43:23 PM

Author Topic: Which is the least of all evils?  (Read 6122 times)

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liz5037

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Which is the least of all evils?
« on: December 12, 2006, 04:43:23 PM »
Please help.  We of Pseudo-Family are trying not to mess this up and make New Girlfriend uncomfortable, we just can't agree on how to do that.  :-\  The gift exchange is all group gifts, so everyone has only one gift to open, so it doesn't last very long, if that makes a difference.  Also, the $$$ adds up, and no-one seems to be comfortable with getting her a big group gift, in case of scenarios A and B.

MDefarge

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2006, 04:55:17 PM »
I voted for inexpensive token gift. That way she has something to open, but shouldn't feel badly about not having brought a gift.  Although there is always the chance that she *will* bring a hostess gift, which would make things less awkward as well. 

graceh9

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2006, 06:14:51 PM »
I think it is always boorish to have any sort of gift event that leaves someone out -- no visiting girlfriend expects an Ipod -- but it is awkward to sit there like a toad -- so a book or some other token gift preferably one that seems to take her taste into account is the way to go IMHO -- it could even be a slightly gaggish gift if it is a fun toy or something

Ehelldame

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2006, 06:24:00 PM »
I voted "token, inexpensive gift".  I remember going to my best friend's extended family dinner and gift opening waaaaaay back when we were single.   I hadn't brought any gifts nor did I expect any.  I was just happy to be invited somewhere for the holidays.  I was surprised when best friend's grandmother handed me a gift.  I can still remember what it was even 25 years later...it was just an inexpensive, plastic terrarium type thing but I was so touched by the thought of not being left out that the thoughtfulness has stayed with me much longer than the gift ever did. 

Lunadiana75

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006, 06:48:26 PM »
I vote for token inexpensive gift.  Perhaps some nice bubble bath or chocolates, check with her bf for diet restrictions, allergies or skin sensitivity first of course.

liz5037

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2006, 12:08:40 PM »
Thanks for everyone's responses.  There is a faction of pseudo-family that feels that an inexpensive token gift would come across as "Here is an impersonal thing for you to open because we all think you will sulk like a 5 year old if you are left out"  but no-one here seems to feel that way.  Maybe, just maybe, we are totally over-thinking this. :)

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2006, 12:17:17 PM »
definitely an inexpensive gift.  I would agree with your family if it were a $10 gift and everyone was receiving $200-$300 gifts - not that she should get a $200 gift, but as a guest, she should receive something thoughtful (ask the BF for tastes), rather than an obvious 'we had to get you a gift, so here's a cartoon magnet', you know?

The etiquette is not to make the guest uncomfortable and I would think that no gift, or an obvious token gift would make her uncomfortable.  On the other hand, a small/inexpensive gift, but one that shows you clearly asked her boyfriend/someone that had met her about her tastes would be appropriate, since it's the thought that counts about a gift, not the gift itself.   
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kingsrings

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006, 12:18:03 PM »
I've been in this situation several times, and never received a gift and didn't give any kind of gift other than the hostess gift as a thank you for having me over. It never really bothered me to be in 'the middle of things', so to speak. I enjoyed watching people open their gifts and seeing what they received. The only time I had a problem with it was a bf's very excessive gift-giving family, because I hate seeing over-materialism like that. But it wasn't hurting me, and it was their thing. At that time though, I was thinking that if we did get married, what in the world was I going to do because I am strictly only into giving small, one-to-a-person gifts to people and not countless, expensive ones like they were doing. I never felt uncomfortable or left out at all because this was strictly a family thing, and I was not a member of those families. And most importantly, I had just met them, so to be participating in a gift giving thing is what I would find very awkward and uncomfortable.

melodrama

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006, 12:46:37 PM »
I vote for tipping her off about the gift exchange.  She can always be coached by BF as to what an appropriate gift is.

That was the scenario my first Christmas with the Outlaws (TM someone from the old board--I can't remember who!)  They do a "Secret Santa" and entered my name into it.  I didn't know the uncle I drew at all, but BF recommended a gift card to a certain store, and it went over very well.

HogwartsAlum

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006, 05:12:20 PM »
I voted "token, inexpensive gift".  I remember going to my best friend's extended family dinner and gift opening waaaaaay back when we were single.   I hadn't brought any gifts nor did I expect any.  I was just happy to be invited somewhere for the holidays.  I was surprised when best friend's grandmother handed me a gift.  I can still remember what it was even 25 years later...it was just an inexpensive, plastic terrarium type thing but I was so touched by the thought of not being left out that the thoughtfulness has stayed with me much longer than the gift ever did. 

That's the way I felt the first time I had Christmas with my ex boyfriend's family.  We got all their kids presents and they got me something and I didn't expect it.  It was nothing much, just a plain sweatshirt, but it was nice of them to think of me.  I thanked them profusely. 

sweedetobee

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2006, 06:04:08 PM »
OK, I vote for a hybrid choice - a small, thoughtful yet not token gift.

As far as making her feel comfortable - just by asking this you sound like the kind of people that will make a new person comfortable.

I suggest having your relative/her boyfriend tell her about the gift exchange but that the gifts he's getting will be from both of them (so she's not out shopping or contributing $) if that will make her comfortable or that there is a gift exchange but that she is not expected to bring a gift for the exchange (but maybe for the hosts of the dinner).

thebadchemist

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2006, 06:30:21 PM »
Personally, I'd rather be tipped off and be prepared with some small but generic gifts. BF would be of use as to providing details. Or I'd bake some great cookies or bread and have that be the gift. In the group gift situation, a cool gift basket would work.

I don't know the specific people in your situation, so I'm answering this from the perspective of "Well, if I were the new girlfriend, what would I pick?" I wouldn't expect a gift, being new to the family, but I can see how that would look awkward. I would be pained to find out on the day of that I was receiving a present, but came empty-handed.

It would be between small, thoughtful token gift or tipping her off.

blarg314

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2006, 12:31:14 PM »

I vote for the small but non token gift - nothing too personal, but something she'd like - ask her boyfriend what kinds of drinks she likes and get her some gourmet tea/coffee/hot chocolate/cider mix and a mug, or a book she might like, or a DVD. You could also get them a small joint gift - something like a gift certificate for a nice restauraunt, or the aforementioned DVD - that is obviously intended to be used by the two of them. I'd avoid things like massage oil though, as that's a bit *too* personal.   ;)

I also vote for tipping off the boyfriend so he can tip her off so she isn't surprised, and can get her own small hostess gift so she doesn't feel awkward.

fklwmn

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2006, 12:40:24 PM »
Okay, this happens a lot in our family b/c we have a HUGE family gathering so there is frequently someone new being brought to the gathering as a result of a new but deepening relationship.

I would personally be HORRIFIED (as a host) to leave out a guest while we were all exchanging gifts. I would not want the person to feel awkward or excluded.

As the guest, even a TOKEN gift would be VERY appreciated.  It's not the point of actually GETTING something, as it is that the people hosting thought enough of me to make an effort. I would not expect people I don't know to be able to put a lot fo thought into what I would personlly like, but the fact that they made an effort to make me feel included int heir celebration, including the gift-exchange, would touch me and make me feel very welcome.

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Which is the least of all evils?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2006, 01:56:16 PM »
When I was confronted with getting my sister's boyfriend of a month a birthday gift, I opted for a Dunkin Donuts gift card.  I've since found out he's a Starbucks guy and loaded up one of those as part of his Christmas present.  The Starbucks gift card slogan this year is "No one will say you shouldn't have!"  The gift card would work well if there is luggage limitations.  I also highly recommend a box of nice stationary with a book of stamps. (All the better for writing the thank you note!)

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