Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


Friends Christmas presents

17 replies

Crazymaisienumber9 · 27/12/2019 01:59

I feel a bit mean.asking this but it does bother me and I dont know whether I'm being unreasonable or not.
I have 2 friends. We know each other reasonably well. We are all in our 50s, single, no kids and never been married. We are all in full time employment and although I'm paid less I have less overheads as such. Each time its someones birthday we eat out together and the other 2 pay for the birthday persons meal and get a gift either individually or a combined gift. At Christmas again it's usually a meal and swapping gifts. Every time I rack my brains to think of something a little different as we've gone through the obvious jewellery, bags, scarves etc options over the I moved into pedicures, manicures, and buying pyjamas as gift options. In my head I aim for around £30 which is
not unreasonable I dont think ??? Sometimes a little over or under depending on the gift. One of my friends gives the same type of gift each christmas , it is hand soap and lotion...but molton brown usually. My other friend is giving me gifts of 10 pds and under, I have found this out by accident. Eg a scarf she gave me someone else I knew had it and mentioned the price in conversation. She also appears to go out of her way to give me gifts that are so not me. We have very similar tastes and I know for example she wouldn't wear the scarf in a fit. If it had been once or twice I would just not make any notice of it but it is a regular thing now. I have carried on giving out the same gifts I normally would to both eg vouchers for a store I know they like things in. In fact I have done this with each one, at the others suggestion as a combined thing to optimize the gift worth (as such) on occasion. Both ladies have expensive tastes eg good quality clothes handbags and perfumes and drive expensive cars etc so it isnt that they lack money but I do feel a bit insulted when I get an 8 pound scarf or the same present each year (that I also know was bought in a discount shop). It isnt the amount of money but the fact I feel they put such little thought/effort into it. When I have given a combined gift to the other it has been for 20 to 25 pounds each. This year both of them gave me creams and lotions. Honestly I have so much creams and lotions I could open my own shop !! I always acknowledge the gifts on christmas day and say thanks but I'm frustrated by it all now. AIBU ?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

zebra22 · 27/12/2019 02:11

Sounds like it’s time for a frank discussion or suggest that you stop gifts and just go out instead


tikitent · 27/12/2019 02:12

Just tell an effort to cut down on waste why don't you all stop buying for each other. Or just start buying them.similar what you get.


Rachelfromfriends1 · 27/12/2019 02:16

Time for you to cut down on the gifts too


Livingoncake · 27/12/2019 02:19

Why are you letting this get to you? Lower your expectations and stop putting so much money and effort into their gifts when it’s not reciprocated. It would seem that gifts are important to you, but not to them - neither side is right or wrong, people are just different. You could try talking to them, but I don’t know how you’d do so without seeming ungrateful and grabby. Sorry.

Oh, and you say it’s not that they lack money, but be careful of this attitude. How do you know they’re not up to their eyeballs in debt? You are not privy to their personal finances, nor should you be. Outward appearances don’t always match the deeper reality. Don’t assume that you know. And even if they’re as rich as Rockefellers, it doesn’t mean they owe you an expensive gift.


Stompythedinosaur · 27/12/2019 07:23

Neither of you are wrong, you just want to give presents differently. My experience is that presents between friends are more often a small token than an expensive present like you are giving. You can't really ask them to spend more, but you can dial back your efforts and expense so things are more even.


RhymingRabbit3 · 27/12/2019 07:29

I would suggest stopping gifts and just eating out together for birthdays.

Maybe you're harder to buy for than you think and they're not as into gift giving as you are.

Do you always say "thanks I love this stuff" when you are given hand cream? Maybe they genuinely do think you like it, so it's a safe and easy gift option for them.

I think if is about the money as you've mentioned it a lot. If you continue to do gifts, lower your budget. I think £30 is actually quite a bit for a friend, especially if you also pay for their meal.


StegosaurusRex · 27/12/2019 07:31

Do you know what they get for each other? If it's similar to what they give you, there is less to feel bad about, but definitely suggest stopping it anyway. If they put more thought and effort into the other gift, then you need to re-evaluate your friendships


cobwebsoncornices · 27/12/2019 07:47

Is she just re-gifting you stuff she's received? That could explain why she's giving you stuff which isn't to your joint taste.
Why don't you just stop the gifts? It's very difficult to buy presents on a regular at that sort of price point for those who are relatively affluent as they can just buy it all themselves. Is receiving a candle really making such a difference to their birthday? Or is it the effort you have made to meet up with them that counts? I have really cut back on presents in situations like this recently as I felt as though my friends and I were keeping L'Occitane and the White Company in business and no one (other than those companies) was really gaining from it.


Ragwort · 27/12/2019 07:50

Just agree to stop exchanging gifts, I am a similar age, none of us want or need anything, we have all agreed to go out for a nice meal, afternoon tea, theatre or similar - much more enjoyable.


rainbowstardrops · 27/12/2019 08:30

I totally get that it's baffling.
I work closely with two colleagues and we just buy each other a token gesture present, so around £5- £10. This is birthdays and Christmas.
I always try to buy things that I think they'll actually like and use but EVERY year they buy me a little miniature bottle of rose wine and chocolates (think the sort of set you can get in a supermarket).
Whenever we go out to work get togethers, I NEVER drink rose wine!!!!! And they know I have a savoury tooth and not a sweet one!
I get a bit Hmm with the lack of effort but I'm grateful that they bother at all so I never say anything and my presents aren't amazing to them, it's just that I try to buy something different that I think they'll use!
You either need to say something, join their club or suck it up I suppose.


DisplayPurposesOnly · 27/12/2019 08:37

Either stop, as others have said, or pre-empt - "If you're stuck for ideas this year, I'd really like [vouchers towards...]".


BooksAreMyOnlyFriends · 27/12/2019 08:40

Stop the gifts. It's pointless. We did this with family a few years ago and it is such a relief to be free of it. Just carry on with the meals together.


BasiliskStare · 27/12/2019 08:48

I think the answer is start thinking more £8 - £ 10 pounds - which may take more thinking but just do it. A relative of mine used to send us lots of presents but I know they have a whole load of expense last / this /next year so I said we will do little presents . & I stuck to it and it seems to have worked.

@rainbowstardrops - I do get your point - I have had presents from these relatives & I just look at them and think " do you actually know me " - it isn't the cost for me - rather the thought.
One of the best Christmas presents I have ever had was from my DH & it was a wire bird feeder ( we have a garden smaller than a lot of people's kitchen tables ) but it is delightful - I love watching the birds coming to get their breakfast and lunch and dinner and elevenses and supper. It was £8. Honestly one of the best presents I have ever had.


NomNomNomNom · 27/12/2019 09:09

Save the lotion pack and regift it back to one of them on their birthday. Use the money you would have spent to get a pedicure yourself. They haven't made an effort so it's crazy to make an effort for them.


Chocolatemouse84 · 27/12/2019 09:17

I think yabu. You know that they gift the same thing kind of things each year so either lower your expectations of what their gift will be or suggest you no longer buy gifts for each other.


Crazymaisienumber9 · 27/12/2019 10:02

Thanks for all the perspectives. I have thought it is wasteful for all concerned and have toyed with the idea of suggesting we donate to a charity instead but I dont want to offend them either. In this day and age i feel icky talking about this as i know lots of people have very little and honestly if they said to me go and buy 30 pds worth of groceries for the food bank I'd be happy doing that. (I do this anyway).

I do always thank them for the gifts, as we all do, but dont go overboard on specifics so I dont encourage the same gift as such.

Really I think it bothers me because I know that the lady who gifted me the scarf is alot more thoughtful when it comes to the other person eg we clubbed together to buy a charm for a bracelet she is collecting. So it seems she is making different choices for each of us.

I think I needed to voice it to someone so I could get it clear in my head. Yes it is an expensive birthday outing and frankly when I retire it will be more difficult for me to keep up.

I think I will start to downsize my gifting. I didnt want to appear mean or petty but no point being a door mat either. Thanks so much for all the viewpoints.

OP posts:

Spied · 27/12/2019 10:10

Remove yourself from the gifting.
If they still want to buy for each other then up to them. I'd just say that that's your intention and leave it at that. If pressed just say you all have more than enough.
I'd be happy with just the Birthday and Christmas celebration of meals out.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?