In the past week I've had a couple odd experiences with gift giving. First off I broke a cardinal rule and bought my wife a household appliance for Christmas. Actually, I'm not even sure you can consider these appliances anymore as I can't think of too many things around our house that have actually been subjected to it's purpose. I bought her a sewing machine. Yup, I still have my balls fully attached too, thankyouverymuch. Actually, it was a good purchase considering how much she's gotten into sewing and crafting over the past year or two and her old machine was a hand-me-down from her aunt that left her in fits more often than not.
The etiquette part comes in how I gave it to her. I had it delivered to my work so I could surprise her with it. Well, after a few more late night rants against her old machine, I could tell she really could use it sooner rather than later. So, I brought it home while she was out late one night and left it with a bow on it setting on her sewing table. She is/was very appreciative, but said that she'd have rather me given it to her in person rather than leaving it for her to find. Hmm, maybe I missed out on a BJ of gratitude or something?! Ahh well, I figure it was best to give it to her when I could since it would be several days before I could have wrapped it up and personally gifted it. Did I commit a present faux-pas by just leaving it for her?
The second etiquette question I had came over the weekend. The boys at Rassy's have treated me well this year and I want to show a bit of appreciation (not mention replenish some stock) so I bought a case of 12 oz happiness and dropped it off in the shop fridge with a bow on it. That was a pretty simple decision. Now comes the question. While buying said case o beverage, I was/still am contemplating buying a couple 6ers for some certain friends. I know times are a bit tough right now for a number of people though so while I know the brews would always be appreciated, I worry about people feeling they need to give a reciprocal gift. So there's the conundrum, do you give a gift and hope the person doesn't feel the need to reciprocate or do you just avoid gifting all together?
We have a similar issue with our parents. A couple years back, Miranda and I decided it was getting a bit silly to try to get gifts for all of our family members and friends. So, we told all family that gifts were to be limited to just the kids and we wouldn't be exchanging with them unless they wanted to do a dinner or some other event to just enjoy the season together. Well, that worked fine for us, but we still receive gifts from our parents and while we greatly appreciate the gifts and thoughtfulness, we realize that it has to put them out financially to give the gifts they do. Kind of puts a damper on the spirit, but should it?
So there you go. What is the gifting etiquette? Should you just say screw it and buy/receive gifts without looking at anything beyond face value of the joy of giving or should you give it some introspection and possibly alter your gift giving habits?