Three ways to 'gift' your friends without the headache
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
The holidays should be a festive time, but the stress of the dreaded “Gift List” can make things super complicated. What do you do if you’re on a budget? What if you’re only picking two of your friends to gift?
Relax and find peace in knowing you have options.
Gift Option 1: “One and Done”
Go simple with a good old-fashioned Secret Santa.
How it works: Everyone randomly selects another woman in the group to gift.
Why it works: This works best for large groups of ladies who all know each other. The benefits of this strategy : cost-effective (you’re only buying one gift), pressure-free (you only have to hunt for the “perfect gift” for one friend as opposed to many), and it feels celebratory (whether you have one set time to exchange anonymously OR if you decide to deliver the gifts anonymously throughout the week, the mystery generates a buzz that can make the entire gifting process more exciting).
Gift Option 2: “Even Stevens”
Zoom in on only one gift idea, and share it with everyone equally.
How it works: Buy or create several of the same gift to give your friends. For example, if you purchase a nice frame and insert a cute download (there are several on here), then you’ve created a nice token of love for each of the special women in your life.
Why it works: This eliminates the speculation and comparison traps “She gave her a purse but gave me a gift card?” “Why did she go all out for her other friends but only give me another candle?” If everyone gets the same gift, you don’t have to worry about friends guessing their rank on your friendship totem pole. It shows everyone you care in a way that is simple and equal.
Gift Option #3: “Close Friends Only”
Only gift the women you’re closest to.
How it works: If you have a large group of women you hang out with but only feel close with two or three, then those are the only women who you should concern yourself with. Select a meaningful gift for them, and do so confidently—without apology to others you don’t gift.
Why it works: Not everyone can have equal access to your time, energy, and money—and that’s okay. The benefit of this gifting method is that you can really invest your attention into shopping for those you’re more emotionally involved with, and it allows you to give without distraction.
A few notes:
If you choose to go this route, exercise discretion along the way. Perhaps you don’t shoot an entire Instagram story about how you’re selecting the perfect gift for your friend. Perhaps you don’t present your gift to your BFF in front of others. Maybe you don’t talk about the trinket you gave her in front of other people afterwards. Be mindful that while you don’t owe anyone everything, the holidays can be a tricky time, stirring up all kinds of emotions and expectations.
Another thing to mindful of is a healthy balance of genuineness and firmness. Do not, and I repeat, do not feel compelled to buy someone something just because they did it for you. This often looks likes saying, “I’m only buying gifts for my two best friends,” and then adding more names to the list once you discover other women plan to gift you.
And guess what? This is bound to happen. Why? A 2016 study reveals that only 50% of friendships are reciprocated. This means that half of the women you consider friends don't consider you to be theirs. It also means that there are women out there who consider you a close friend who you, too, do not share intimate feelings with. This means there are bound to be "gift gaps", and that's okay.
Remember, by definition a gift does not have to be reciprocated. It should be just that—a strings-free offering. If someone does happen to give you something but you don’t have anything for her, then try this:
“Wow, thank you, Angela. This is very thoughtful. I really appreciate you.”
Cue hug and smile.
Try to avoid apologizing, looking embarrassed, or running out the next morning to reciprocate the gesture. That’s not what Christmas is about. Accept it graciously, and move on.
The holidays can feel less stressful once you realize all of your options. The key is to note how many choices you have when gifting your friends, and then doing so with confidence and intention.
And if it gets too hard to handle, spend the money on a ticket out of town and skip the whole thing altogether. (Too far?)
Holidays with friends can be tough.
But we’re here to get you through it.
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Danielle Jackson, Friendship Speaker
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