Family Christmas gifts-fair, not equal?

posted 2 years ago in Holidays
Post # 2
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

It sounds “fair” to budget an even amount per person, but I have honestly never done that.  I spend more on those who I have a closer relationship with.  I would base my budget off of that and not what the other party spends on you.  And that is not always the case.  For example, sometimes I find the perfect gift for someone that I was planning to spend $75 on, but the item was only $50.  I will usually just stick to that item. 

Darling Husband and I do not buy a lot of gifts for family and friends and base our budget on the individual.  We spend $50-$100 on my mom (our only living parent).  We are not terribly close with her and she lives on the other side of the country, but we do have a decent relationship.  We only see DH’s brother once every one to two years because he lives in Brazil, so we do all the gift giving at once and spend $200-$250, but this cover multiple Christmas’s and Birthdays.  Most friends get gifts that are worth about $20. 

If we bought gifts for more people we would likely have 2-3 tiers of spending: $20 range, $50 range and $100 range.  

Post # 3
47197 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I will preface my remarks by saying, obviously you give what you can afford. Someone is sure to jump on any comment implying that you have to match anything in financial terms.

I don’t think the dollar amount needs to match for anyone. I would much rather have a thoughtful gift chosen for me personally, than some expensive gift that doesn’t interest me in the least.

I  don’t think you need to spend the same on both sides of the family. One family may want to do hand crafted gifts to keep the cost down because they are in a tough place financially. It would be rude to ignore that and send them a new XBox.

I also don’t think anyone should feel obliged to match what their parents spend on them. Often our parents are in much better financial situation, especially when we are young and just starting out.


Post # 5
873 posts
Busy bee

We give based on our relationship to them, although we set a limit of $50 for all the kids. I have a prior no gifting policy with some friends and my sister. Our birthdays are close to Christmas so we do birthday gifts in lue of Christmas gifts. Setting a limit across the board doesn’t work. You don’t want to embarrass someone by giving them a $100 dollar gift when they have given you a $5 gift and you don’t want to embarrass your self by giving a $5 gift to someone who gave you a $100 gift.

Post # 6
5121 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

DH’s family is pretty poor and usually doesn’t gift us anything. We usually just give them something as a family (his parents and two of his siblings that still live at home), like Omaha Steaks or similar. I wouldn’t want to make them feel bad and buy them all a bunch of expensive gifts when they can’t give us anything. We usually do a little more with my parents and give them each a gift individually, as they usually give us each multiple gifts. 

Post # 7
657 posts
Busy bee

bee123456789 :  If your husband wants to set an equal budget, I don’t see the problem?  You shouldn’t gift hoping for reciprocity.  

We spend roughly the same amount on all of our parents and siblings which is $75-100/person.  Some people give us $10 gifts while others spend $250 and that’s okay. 

Post # 9
6346 posts
Bee Keeper

I would kind of split it down the middle – ex if you have $200 to spend for xmas gifts for family, give your H $100 for his fam and you get $100 for your fam. Since you have less people to buy for, your family will still end up with a “nicer” gift, but you’ll have still spent the same per family.

My husbands family doesnt really even celebrate xmas, but they like to throw a family get together every year. They don’t give out presents, so we don’t really give them presents. If they were to give something, it would be small, and we would give something small in return. 

my family goes much more all out. My family also spends much more on us than we spend in return. But we still spend more on my family vs his. 

Post # 10
657 posts
Busy bee

bee123456789 :  I look at it a lot differently in that I try to be most generous with those in our family who have the least because it actually impacts their life in a tangible way vs our parents who can buy whatever they want let alone need.  If your husband’s family is poor to the point of needing a grocery gift card, I would consider being more vs less generous even though your relationship isn’t as close.  

Post # 11
713 posts
Busy bee

I give based on how good/bad the relationship is. My family has always been much more generous that Fiance family, so we give them “better” gifts because of that. His family has no idea what we give my family so it’s not like there’s hurt feelings. Also, I decided I’m not going to be sending a Christmas gift to FI’s nephew (he’s a baby) and that might cause some drama, but I sent them a gift for the shower and a gift for the birth and never recieved a thank you. I can look past one forgotten thank you but not two. 

Post # 12
1152 posts
Bumble bee

It’s okay to spend more based on your relationship. You wouldn’t give an acquaintance the same gift you’d give a best friend.

Post # 13
2398 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

litttlemisslamb :  this is how I determine gifts for my family, as well. My parents don’t have much and therefore I really want to get them things that they might need, for Christmas. Usually I buy them clothes or new shoes or a winter coat. My husband’s parents are more financially stable, so they get more fun gifts that are likely cheaper than the ones I buy my parents.

Post # 14
1161 posts
Bumble bee

We do adult secret Santa and the budgets are different for his family and my family because that’s what people on either side are comfortable with giving/receiving. one side is £25 limit and the other is £70. It might not be ‘fair’ but it would be worse to either go under for the higher side or massively over the agreed budget on the other side. Families are all different. It’s more important to give a gift that someone will apreciate and will fit within the culture of that family than to make sure all sides are equal 

Post # 15
1278 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

My only family is my mom, dad, and sister so I spoil them a little more. I spend $50-100 (out of my account) on each and sign the gifts as from both of us.

My Fiance has many more family members. He spends what he wants for them (and sign both of our names). He’s generous with his mom and spends about $30 on his other family members (dad, step mom, half sisters, grandparents, cousins, etc). I help him choose presents for the women in the family.

It’s worked out well for us.

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