Roommate/Landlord Holiday Gifts?
December 3, 2017 4:49 PM   Subscribe

My landlord is also my roommate. This is my first Christmas in this situation and I don't know what's appropriate when it comes to gift giving.

On New Year's Day 2017 I moved into an amazing room in an awesome house for dirt cheap rent. My landlord and his wife have a master bedroom downstairs and rent out the three upstairs rooms. I am currently the only upstairs tenant.

They have been wonderful roommates, always very welcoming of myself and my significant other who spends many weekends here. We have been included in birthday bbqs and joined them and their family for Thanksgiving.

Would it be appropriate for me to get them gifts? If so, what's an appropriate budget and what kinds of things should I look for? What should I stay away from?

I make handmade holiday cards, so they will at least be getting one of those. I will also be doing a lot of baking over the next couple of weeks, so they will be enjoying fresh cookies and other treats all month.
posted by MuChao to Human Relations (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think consumables are great. Something like a nice bottle of wine and a pair of movie passes, depending on their interests? I would frame this as 'I really enjoy living here, and wanted to give you this,' as opposed to a full on Christmas present, in case they didn't get you anything? I don't think you should spend more than $20-30.
posted by hydra77 at 5:15 PM on December 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Homemade card, homemade cookies, and a nice bottle of plonk (if they drink).
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:51 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cookies and booze sounds just right, in fact!
posted by praemunire at 6:02 PM on December 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Box of chocolates, nice bottle of wine, nice candles. Do they cook? I have given my tenants who I have a similarly great relationship with a box of various fancy spices from Penzeys. Also an assortment of hot sauces.
posted by slateyness at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2017

Appropriate budget = insignificant compared to your rent and utilities, maybe in the 5%rent to $50 range. In the same way that workplace rules say you never "gift up" (i.e. managers can give things to the team, but no gifts employees to manager) I'd never give something to a landlord - but I'd always give something to a roommate, so in this case I'd say yes.

Suggestions of cookies/etc are tricky because it's their kitchen you're baking in and presumably their getting a steady supply of baked goods as they're baked, so I could understand if a gift basket full of things they've already tasted doesn't feel exciting to give. As a roommate, you're in a great position to see things that they're always working around, like the way I'm giving my husband a barista-style stainless pitcher because he's been always making steamed milk in a pyrex measuring cup. Maybe their spatula is melting and needs a refresher. Or maybe there's this one outlet in the kitchen that really needs a multiplexer or a light switch remote.
Another good option is that if you really feel you've connected with these people, give them a little christmas ornament or some kind of keepsake, that some time in the future they'll pull it out while doing decorations and say "Oh, yeah, we've had a lot of tenants over the years, but wasn't MuChao sweet". (any way to adapt your card designs into a custom 3-D ornament?)
And then the default of a consumable - cheese basket, something made by you, nice bottle of something, etc.
I'd end up with a gift set that was 2-3 out of 4 of: something small and practical that's in the under-$20 range, and something fluffy/sweet/sentimental like a Christmas decoration, something made by you, and something edible.
posted by aimedwander at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

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