Uncomfortable holiday getting

Filed under: Day Care & Education

I know the holidays are about giving and not getting. I know that when you give a present, you shouldn't do it with the expectation that you're going to get something back.

But honestly, tell me: do you not feel mildly frantic, frizzy, and wildly inadequate when a random friend or relative surprises you with an awesome, thoughtful, expensive gift and you have...a limp form letter and a card to give back?

My Auntie Jane* sends Nolan and I presents for our birthdays and Christmas. They're usually gorgeous, expensive clothes, the kind that I can't afford. Striped sweaters that read "aeroplane" for Nolan, saucy wee trousers for him and luxe jackets for me. I appreciate the sentiment a lot: 90% of Nolan's jaunty wardrobe comes from Auntie Jane and it's true that expensive clothes are more durable, as a rule. I'm sure that Auntie expects nothing in return. I send her cards at holidays and thank you notes, of course, but I've never actually gone out and bought her a present. Really, I don't buy presents for too many people outside my immediate family.

But I can't help but think if she sits at home wondering why I never buy her anything back. I could buy her a small token: perhaps a handmade bracelet or a pretty hair clip, but then I would sit and wonder if that's cheesy compared to her generosity, whether she might think I just did it because she did it. Perhaps I over think every freaking situation on this planet, for the love of all things holy. It's fairly probably that I do, in fact.

But I need to know anyway: do you buy a gift back for someone who gives you a gift? Or is that negating the whole spirit of the holiday?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.