I tend to spend a lot of money at Christmastime. In addition to my family, I buy gifts for coworkers and my circle of friends. I’m always on the lookout for the perfect gift, and I rarely consider price. I mean, I’m not going to go crazy and buy things that I can’t afford, but I’ve been known to be a little extravagant if I see just the right thing, or for someone who’s been going through a rough time, or is super important to me. Cost comparison has never crossed my mind, especially since I have more discretionary income than a lot of my friends (largely because most of them have kids).
So I was surprised the other day when a dear friend apologized for not being able to “match” the gift I had given her (we had exchanged gifts early). It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder if I was inadvertently making people feel bad when I splurged on their presents. I was glad she brought it up, because it gave us a chance to talk about it, and for me to reassure her that I buy gifts for the joy of giving, and I don’t care about the cost of what I receive in return.
That prompted me to have a conversation with several other people to see if any of them felt the same way. Most completely understood where I was coming from (and one happily proclaimed that I can splurge on his presents whenever I want), and a few requested a spending limit to avoid the possibility of feeling awkward.
In the end, I’m happy to have had this brought to my attention, and for the chance to prevent causing unintended guilt.
What do you think about “overgifting”? Is it something you’ve encountered (as a giver or receiver)?