Seasonal gift giving dilemma
December 19, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Did I give her an xmas gift? Should I be giving her a(n another) xmas gift?

We've been dating for a few months, nothing serious, we both have too much going on to commit to a full-time relationship, but over the last little while we have been getting closer. We're just taking it slower.

Two weeks ago, after dinner and a movie, I gave her a small gift, a vintage brass compass from store I frequent in my area, I wrote a small note about how it reminded me of her and included it with the gift. It thought it was a great way to cap the evening.

We had a quick coffee last week, and this week she's back in town before a long trip and said "she'd love to see me and give me my xmas gift" -- and asked when i was free.

What's the harm in getting her another gift? smothering her? She's gotten a little peeved once or twice when I kept paying for dinner, or drinks.

Did she interpret my gift as an xmas gift?

If not, should I be looking for something for her? cause I would've given her the compass later had I known she was going get me something.
posted by mistertoronto to Human Relations (12 answers total)
If you didn't define it as a xmas/holiday/whater gift, and say "merry xmas/holidays/whatever" when you gave it to her, you didn't give her a xmas/holiday/whatever gift...

The question is, should gifts always be reciprocal, if you feel that is the case, they get her another gift, if not, don't worry about it...
posted by HuronBob at 8:57 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

Have a small one and make the decision game time. If it somewthing you can keep in your pocket and use the wait and see approach. Fwiw, I don't think you gave her a xmas gift yet.
posted by AugustWest at 9:08 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]

I would say that it probably was not interpreted as a Christmas gift, as it was a couple of weeks ago in a different context. However, this is not to say that you should necessarily buy her another one, either, although I don't think it hurts to do it, if you find that you would like to.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:20 AM on December 19, 2010

I think small, jokey, cute gifts are always allowed. And always a good idea. I've had a lot of success with them.
posted by prefpara at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2010

You'll be in more trouble if you don't have a gift on you just in case than if you do.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

nthing having a small (as in, concealable) gift ready, as if you'd planned to give it to her all along, but if this second gift is a lame/jokey/novelty item, and she put a lot of thought and effort into getting YOUR xmas gift, she might make a negative association with it being an exchange-of-equal-value, like "I got him a fancy Thingamajig for xmas, but he only got me a lame-ass Doomajigger". I'm sure that she's not that kind of person. :-)

If she says something like, "since you already gave me something, this is for you" then you can opt, at the last moment, to say either

-- "oh, that wasn't an xmas gift, it was just something i wanted you to have. THIS is your xmas gift"

or, simply
-- "thank you"

And an afterthought - could you have the second gift associate with a compass? like make a map, to make the search for the second gift a treasure hunt? that would be adorable.
posted by ChefJoAnna at 10:26 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think if someone lets you know in advance that they want to see you to give you your Christmas gift, they are giving you a heads-up so you won't be caught out without a gift for them. She may be expecting a gift, or she may simply be aware that some people are embarrassed to get a gift when they don't have one to give in return.

I don't think you can go wrong with getting her a small but thoughtful gift. If she seems bothered because she thought the compass was her gift, I really like ChefJoAnna's explanation: "oh, that wasn't an xmas gift, it was just something i wanted you to have. THIS is your xmas gift".
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:53 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would definitely make the gift thoughtful and not ironic/silly. Chances are she's going to give you a thoughtful gift, and I would be turned off to have put a lot of thought into my boyfriend's Christmas present and then get a can of Spam or a Tickle Me Elmo doll or something in return. I mean, maybe if you have the perfect "silly gift" idea in relation to an inside joke the two of you share.
posted by Sara C. at 1:20 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I wonder if she felt awkward about receiving a gift out of nowhere from you two weeks ago, and is now trying to rebalance the situation by giving you an xmas gift. So if you give her yet another gift, you're setting her back to -1!

I would get a something small, concealable, and appropriate for Valentine's Day, if you happen to end up holding on to it that long.
posted by apparently at 1:40 PM on December 19, 2010

Definitely get her a gift, something small and thoughtful. If you gave her the compass two weeks ago, that meant it was three weeks before xmas, and you didn't include an xmas card or mention that it was holiday-related, so I can't imagine she thinks that was her xmas gift.
posted by whitelily at 2:28 PM on December 19, 2010

If she was nice enough to let you know she's getting you a Christmas gift, you should get her one too. It's just what's done, and I don't think it will throw off your "gift balance" - in fact it will balance you out. However I don't think you need to get something as nice and substantial as the compass. Since she's going away, maybe get her something related to your city? Some kind of nice food-related consumable? Or a book?
posted by amethysts at 4:02 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I always think food is a really great gift in cases when you're not sure. In New York we have Dean and Deluca and other places where you can get all kinds of pretty looking packaging for food and also make combinations like fancy mustard/fancy pretzels, special pancake mix/neat syrup in pretty bottle. I think this works well (as long as you know her food preference/allergies etc) because it's not something she'll have to have a "significant" reaction about since it's fairly generic, and also it's not a gift that people feel like they have to display when you're over because it's consumable/perishable.

Lucky you to have a sweetheart for the holidays!
posted by sweetkid at 6:03 PM on December 19, 2010

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