gift giving
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when shopping for holiday gifts. Most of us have a set of rules about gift giving that determines what is bought, how much is spent and who will be the recipient. These rules are subject to interpretation and it’s common to find friends and family with different opinions. If your gift giving rules are not in focus, it’s time to re-evaluate and be clear.

Start by remembering why you choose to give to others. Define this and you will avoid those midnight runs to the store, overspending and the pressure that comes during the holidays. The spirit of giving is more important than the gift itself.

Gift for Gift
Every year it’s likely to encounter someone who buys you an unexpected gift and feel like it needs to be reciprocated. Truth is you don’t have to, but if you believe the opposite, have a few “just in case” gifts on hand. A heartfelt thank you note would also go a long way.

Gifts of Equal Value
The belief that gift exchanges must be of equal value can lead to conflict since everyone assesses value differently. Feeling obligated to buy a gift of certain value or the need to buy more to make up the difference takes the joy out of giving. Remember to value the reason why you give. That’s more important than how much was spent or what was received in return.

Family Traditions
When the family was smaller, it was fun to exchange gifts with your brother’s kids, but now that they’re in their 30s and have kids of their own, does the tradition continue? If you believe it should, check to see if the other parties involved share the same view. Chances are they may not, so it may be time to start a new tradition.

In lieu of presents, some families will exchange ornaments, toys for their pets, conduct a White Elephant exchange or take a trip together.

It’s custom to give a tip (or gift) to those who provide year-round services. From the mail carrier to a personal trainer, pet groomer and housekeeper, holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you. Before you start giving every service provider cash, here are some things to consider:

  • Budget
  • The quality and frequency of service
  • Your relationship
  • Length of service


Don’t believe that if you don’t tip you won’t get good service. If you think you are having poor service for this reason, consider changing companies or speak to a manager.

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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