Gifting….changing the rules…

Who do you give gifts to? What are the rules??gift

My family is so large….typically about 22 at Christmas dinner… that 20 years ago we decided that among the adult generation–the five of us plus spouses–we would draw a name and get one nice gift. That worked….for a while.  My ex-husband was deemed “difficult” to buy for and it didn’t help that I was also responsible for executing his gift. Also the pool was small. You couldn’t draw your own spouse, or yourself. Price limits were respected only in the breach.

A few years in Ariel wanted to be included in the exchange. She loves to make nice gifts and having one recipient made that easier. (One time she sewed Winston an apron to go with a bbq cookbook.) She’s the second oldest grandchild, and protocol evolved. Before that, the “kids” all got gifts, but as they asked to be included in the drawing they would be receive fewer gifts. And the adults among us might forget. Is Devin in the drawing?? Is Quinton?

Kids are…well, kids. When they are little there’s general excitement over everything, the bows, the ripping and tearing, the orgy of getting, with little appreciation for giving. But as they mature the giving aspect develops nicely. I love the beautiful artistic bowl Cullen got me a few years ago.

And now….things are shaking up all over again.

“How about if we do a white elephant exchange instead?” said Jessamyn at Thanksgiving. “It’ll be more interesting. Different. Everyone brings a gift, we draw numbers. First person takes a gift. Second person either steals the first gift or picks a new one. And so on.”

Sabrina, Jessamyn, and I all have friend groups who do some variation on this so it feels comfortable. “But what about Danny and Linda in Michigan?” asks Sabrina. “We don’t want to leave them out.”

As with many things, technology is the solution. We will Facetime them in.

And then it’s on to the “rules.” Price limit? Real gift? Or gag gift??

“Doesn’t seem right that one person brings a pretzel sculpture and someone else brings a cashmere scarf,” said Quinton.

So there we are….a nice gift. For $50. Everyone participates.

How many times can a gift get stolen? Is collusion allowed?

Some things will have to be worked out on the fly.

Like life in general.


About Karen Ray

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