Christmas gift protocol

When you’re single, Christmas can pose a couple of problems when it comes to buying gifts. It can also get pretty expensive.

A good friend from school got married a few months ago. Usually I’d just buy her a gift, but now I feel I should get her husband one too. Or something between them for their home? But wouldn’t that undermine my relationship with her a little? It’s easy for them – they buy me one gift (on their dual incomes…) as per usual.

What to do? I’ve ended up getting them a joint present, plus baked some of my ‘oh wow, these are amazing’ chocolate brownies which I know they love too, and got her a tiny little gift of her own.

My main group of friends solves the gift problem with a ‘Secret Santa’ party. DV organises this – usually a picnic – every year and it’s always a really fun day. We get told what the gift budget is (usually pretty small) and then have to get creative about finding an interesting gift. Some years we are allocated a person to buy for; this year the brief was generic and we played a game where you could either ‘steal’ the gift the people before you picked or choose a new one from the pile.

The next question is what to do about gifts for couples with children. I can’t afford to buy for both parents plus two or more kids. I know I won’t be getting four gifts from them 🙂 It’s not about tit for tat, but in this situation I think it’s a little easier: I buy just for the kids.

I am also hosting Christmas lunch this year and there will be 10 adults, two kids and my baby nephew. Three of the adults and the two kids are from my sister-in-law’s family and I don’t know them very well. Am I expected to get them all a gift? Brownies to the rescue yet again! I spent yesterday baking, dusting them in edible gold dust and packaging them beautifully in waxed paper with lovely striped grosgrain ribbons, tied with a sea shell.

I just love Christmas and if – no, when! – I am a gazillionaire, I would love to shower everyone I know with goregous presents. But for now, it’s immediate family and close friends only; everyone else gets brownies 🙂