Author Topic: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?  (Read 3234 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« on: December 10, 2015, 09:09:20 AM »
We stopped giving birthday gifts to the adults in our lives a year ago. Everyone we know is old enough and wealthy enough to buy whatever they want. The young children in our family will receive something small, like a book. We don’t even buy birthday gifts for each other, but we will celebrate by going out to eat or making a special meal and cake. We always remember our family members’ birthdays and are sure to send a card or call. Our siblings and parents however, still buy birthday gifts for everyone. Normally this difference isn’t an issue because we are rarely together for our birthdays.

This year, we had 2 instances where we were around for a parent’s birthday, and our siblings gave them gifts. While we stand by our decision, it is a little awkward when we are the only ones not giving anything. I can’t help but wonder if our lack of a gift makes it seem like we forgot or didn’t care. They know we aren’t big gift givers and don’t do gifts outside of Christmas, but it still felt odd.

Anyone else run into similar problems? I can see this becoming a larger issue for us as our daughter grows up and starts receiving invites to countless kid birthdays as well. I just don't see the point of giving things to people who already have everything.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 09:11:03 AM by little_brown_dog »


  • Bristles
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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2015, 09:14:47 AM »
There are a few exceptions, but I don't normally give gifts other than at Christmas and even then, it's generally something small. The wife and I get each other a "gift" that we need around the house and have been procrastinating buying anyway for our birthdays. We generally get everybody in the immediate family something under $10 each for Christmas and I will occasionally give my parents something I made myself on top of their annual card for their birthdays.
I know they appreciate me taking the time to spend with them more than they would me spending money and not being able to be there because of work, so I don't normally feel too guilty. I am slowly breaking them of the habit of buying my wife and I Christmas and birthday gifts. We're in our early 20s and much of the family still views us as part of the "kids" group.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 09:16:56 AM »
I run into this a bit where my family stopped giving gifts years ago my GF's family keeps doing so and has included me on it. I don't totally dig it. I've compromised with my GF that the gifts from her are from us and I just chip in on those. She's a better gift giver than I am anyway. I prefer making some food or somesuch for the ones I'm close to rather than go crazy w/ gifts.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2015, 09:45:26 AM »
We don't give gifts for adults either.  If we will not see people on their special occasion, we send cards.  If we are going to see them or attend a party, etc., I bake something I know they like.   For example, my Mom loves my banana bread, and it's something she doesn't make herself.  So she is pretty pleased if I show up with a loaf or two for her.  Ditto my friends - I actually get requests to bring this. 

iris lily

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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2015, 09:49:38 AM »
Sure I feel weird sometimes, just less and  less often.

I have two friends who are hugely into the Giant piles of presents mindset, so I will grudgingly give them one small thing, usually consumable, when attending a birthday do.

But for everyone else, and  when invited to a party, I put the event on my calendar, plan my dog care and meal prep for that day, make sure I have clean and presentable clothes to attend, and in general treat the party as the main event.

And completely forget that I am supposed to at least buy a card. I've walked out our front door many times without even a card in my hand. I am just so NOT oriented to buying crap for adult birthdays.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2015, 09:59:17 AM »
I don't give adult gifts except for my parents!  And that's when I visit them once a year - not focused around Birthday or Christmas.  My siblings and I don't give gifts to each other.  Not to psycho analyze but are you feeling awkward because they are your parents?  Do you feel awkward when you don't give a gift to friends and everyone else has?  I'm thinking probably not. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Do you ever feel weird for not giving a gift?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 10:00:13 AM »
I'm used to it so much that it doesn't seem weird to me not to bring a gift. Growing up my family wasn't focused on giving gifts except at Christmas. Parent would buy birthday gifts for kids iirc. We never gave gifts for mother's day, father's day, etc. but spent time with each other. Now we don't do Christmas gifts for adults, except my mom gives something small. She says she doesn't want a gift in return, she just would love if I am there for the holiday (I'm usually not, but will be this year).

As for my friends I have never even considered bringing a gift for a birthday party, but depending on the party I might bring food. I don't think I'm the odd one out in my group of friends (at least in the case of gift policies). One exception was giving a friend and basement suite tenant a Christmas gift in part because they got my mail, watered the plants, shoveled the snow, and watched the house while I was away from home for 6 months one winter.

I'd so much rather spend quality time with people than give or receive a gift.