What Do You Do if Someone Out-Gifts You?
I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine yesterday. When she called I was finishing up some last minute Christmas gifts and seeking one specifically for my best friend.
When I mentioned this, the friend on the phone said, “How do you know how much to spend on her?”
I hadn’t really thought of this before, so I told her I didn’t set a specific price; instead, I thought of gifts each year I felt would have meaning, even if they were silly trinkets or something only she and I would understand. (We do, after all, have pretty warped senses of humor!) This year: a shirt and bumper sticker that have a specific saying on them about running, which always makes my best friend laugh.
Then the friend on the phone told me this:
She has a friend who always out-gifts her each Christmas, by at least twice the price. This ‘friend of my friend’ (let’s call her FOMF for short) always spends at least twice as much on the gift she gives my friend as my friend spends on the one she gives in return.
The difference in price unnerves my friend, but as my friend notes, she doesn’t have the kind of money to give a gift equal in price in return. When she brought this up to FOMF, FOMF said not to worry about price differences; she didn’t care about this.
But my friend does.
I’ve been in this position a few times in life and I always feel odd, whether I’ve been the one giving the more expensive or less expensive gift. I don’t feel Christmas should find you tallying up who spent what on whom, but, at the same time, if I believe someone went way over what I spent on their gift, I always feel uncomfortable. Do I need to make it up next time around even if, financially, I can’t? Do I mention the difference? To me, this anxiety about gift giving defeats the joy of Christmas giving and receiving. I feel gifts should be meaningful; something that, when you see it, screams, “That’s my friend!” It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it should be a reflection of the friendship.
What do you think? If someone constantly out-gifted you, how would you handle it (or have you already dealt with this in the past?) Would you talk to the friend? Ignore it and continue on? Suggest next year, instead of gift giving, you have coffee together?