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My family does not buy Christmas gifts. What do we do about coworkers that get us gifts?

My husband has received several gifts and is now in a position where he feels obligated to reciprocate. I had already told my workmates not to get me gifts because I don’t do Christmas gifts. What is the right thing for my husband to do?
No, we are not Jehovah’s Witness. But that’s beside the point.

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31 Responses to “My family does not buy Christmas gifts. What do we do about coworkers that get us gifts?”

  1. vixxen said:

    He must reciprocate. Sorry, office politics and etiquette…

  2. Kristie S said:

    Why do you not buy gifts? You don’t celebrate Christmas? If you don’t celebrate it, then don’t accept the gifts!!!!
    If you do, then accept it, and you can either buy something small and easy like candy or just accept the gift and be happy!

  3. KatieKat said:

    well, it’s really up to him to decide, but next year maybe you should ask him to tell them “no presents please” and if they choose to give some to him anyway then he won’t be obligated to reciprocate.

  4. Spunko said:

    Send them a thankyou card. It’s good middle ground.

  5. clbowman06 said:

    Tell them that he does not give gifts. Honesty. They shouldnt hold it against him. If they do, they are selfish…

  6. flikapotamus said:

    are you Jehovahs witnesses? get out while you can i was one of those.

  7. dorotheam said:

    Just give a Christmas card! Just because you receive a gift does NOT mean you are obligated to give one back. A thank you and a card should do it. People shouldn’t give gifts with the expectation that they will get something in return.

  8. Derek Z said:

    Buy them presents this year, and tell them not to give presents next year.

  9. The One Who Was said:

    Tell your husband to just say thank you and be cheerful. Also, if you celebrate a traditional holiday to bring in a desert or something so that you pass on your culture to some extent.

    Merry Christmas

  10. EniTsiRhc said:

    He could either buy them Christmas gifts also, or just give his coworkers Christmas cards and/or something small.

  11. starsdelite said:

    i have to agree. he has to recriprocate. but maybe he could give cards instead.

    Thats a tough spot to be in.

  12. Pete B said:

    If he aready has them, keep them, just out of respect, he can tell them how he feels and they wont give him one next year.

  13. gaspardslcky said:

    the right thing to do is to buy them gifts i know that you guys usually don’t but this time esp now it seems like you have to break the rules. because you kow as well as i know those people are looking for gifts to come back to them

  14. Iced Princess said:

    Don’t reciprocate – instead bring food to share. Explain you just don’t exchange and next year they will probably just leave you off the list. Do this all with a genuine smile and thanks for what you have received.

    If you do give a gift this year, the cycle will never stop and you have then set a precedent. Grit your teeth and make the decision this year and next year the others can do whatever they wish.

    Personally, if I give a gift, I never expect one in return. I give for the pleasure of giving.

    I can understand why some people don’t choose to partake of religious festivities, if their beliefs are different than the majority. I would hope that no one would be made to feel uncomfortable for not participating in events.

  15. Farm bred, grain fed, all natural said:

    I would feel as your husband does. I give gifts to a lot of people who don’t reciprocate, but I always reciprocate if given a gift. I just like giving gifts and letting people know I appreciate them.

  16. freezerspider said:

    i guess sometimes you have to make it clear you guys don’t celebrate christmas and you should not be expected to return and buy gifts when that is not what you do.

    sometimes people that celebrate it buy gifts for others just to be nice and not expect any in return.

    just say thank you and stick to what you do…..

  17. Lucy said:

    Graciously accept the gifts. Say, “Thank you very much, that was very thoughtful of you.” Since you have already made it clear that you are not buying gifts yourself, don’t feel any obligation to do so. If those that bought gifts for you are offended, then maybe they need to take a lesson in giving and why we do so. If your friends are truly friends they are giving you gifts because they want to, not because they expect anything in return.

  18. Kyle E said:

    It is rude to receive without giving in return. Instead of buying a gift, you might try making one like writing a poem or baking a pie for them. You could also simply do something nice for them such as volunteering to babysit their kids some time.

  19. Traveller said:

    If it’s business, and he wants to succeed, then he’d better play the game the same way as the big boys, or he’ll be out. And, if he’s making good money and on his way up the ladder, you’ll be “out” too.
    One does what is expected in the work environment, or one loses.

    As far as you, I think you have that pretty well covered. But you asked the question as for what your husband should do, and it doesn’t sound like he agrees with your ideas on Christmas 100%. Don’t control him, let him make his own decisions.

  20. **Jamaica Bound** said:

    I am in the same position. I make sure that my Co-workers know that i do not celebrate Christmas and that sometimes stops them from gift giving. Sometimes they will give them to me in advance or after and because they know my position on the matter, they dont expect anything.

    Dont feel alone, there are many that dont celebrate xmas whether out of personal choice or religious backgrounds, just explain urself to ur coworkers, the worst thing u could do is compromise ur feelings

  21. Bee said:

    He shouldn’t go out and get gifts for them too because it will make him look like he HAD to and get the guilt off his shoulders. He should write all the people who gave him gifts very nice thank you cards and maybe next year give them Christmas cards or something. But going out to get them gifts I think wouldn’t make him look too good even if you think it is the nice thing to do.

  22. aswkingfish said:

    You and your husband are wrong. I don’t know if your reasons are religious or just because your cheap unloving, and uncaring people. The art of giving gifts is not required, it’s done out of the kindness of your heart. It shows you recognize your friends and family members. You do not need to buy gifts, homemade gifts are often the best kind. If you don’t do gifts because of your religion then you should both be beaten severely like I did to my 30 year old son, whom I disowned. He came around when he started to see what he lost out on. I couldn’t touch his wife, so she didn’t come around until 6 or 7 months after my son. If your just cheap you can change that to.

  23. TKA0427 said:

    He can reciprocate without getting something that has to do with Christmas. Although there are some people out there that just give gifts and don’t expect anything in return. If there is a religious reason behind not celebrating Christmas, I suggest that he make that known. Most people are very understanding about these things. I am actually glad that you have the attitude you do, instead of acting offended that someone gave him gifts. I am sure it was well intended. Good luck.

  24. mauser said:

    Bake up a big batch of 4″ chocolate cookies and wrap a half dozen or so in a cellophane wrapper and tie with a bow as a token of your appreciation.

    If this token of your appreciation (the cookies) isn’t appreciated by the persons who gave your hubby the gifts, trust me..he won’t get one next year.

  25. Darci420 said:

    give them a card

  26. Katie G said:

    Either give a Christmas card, send a thank you card, or you can bake a plate of homemade cookies or desserts to bring up to the office to share as a kind of community gift.

  27. Crazy_Fool said:

    This is tough. I feel in the same boat. I don’t really like to do Christmas presents. It really has become quite ridiculous. It is hard to find a decent gift for 20 bucks. I don’t think we are supposed to go in debt at Christmas. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    If your husband feels he has to reciprocate(just remember, if he does, they will be expecting gifts again next year, if you don’t give gifts, next year they might get the hint)you could always do something different. Google “World Vision”. Take 100-200 bucks(it will save you in the end, cards and wrapping paper and what not)and buy a village some goats, chickens and pigs. You could send out a Christmas card saying that on behalf of your family and friends you have halped a village this Christmas.

    It seems a lot better than spending 500$ on gifts and then you know your gift really did help people.

    If that isn’t your cup of tea. Bake or make homemade chocolates. You would have to buy Christmas containers, and then give homemade goodies away. You definately know that they will get eaten. I might make perogies this year, and buy a cow and chicken.

    The way that Christmas is so commercial, it really has lost some of it’s meaning. If we did gifts like this, we might be able to help the true meaning of Christmas survive.

  28. melouofs said:

    Can’t he just give them a trinket? It’s much better than trying to make a point nobody will care about anyway, and you don’t know how these things can come back to haunt you in the workplace. I brink in homemade chocolates for everyone–this way, I get to both make candy (which I love to do) and give gifts (which I also greatly enjoy), and my coworkers are v happy (they start talking about it in the summer!)–it doesn’t cost much, and I feel happy that I’m spreading the joy!

  29. slimjim172 said:

    Telling people that you “don’t do Christmas gifts” surely leaves many with the feeling that you are either a little odd or else you are very mean. If you have this policy, it would be the decent thing to do to refuse any gifts you are offered. I am in England and – aside from religious reasons – have never heard of anybody with such a way of thinking. Americans are generally thought of in England as being generous and good hearted

  30. drshorty said:

    If your objection is to purchasing gifts, perhaps you could share some nice homemade crafts or treats. If your objection is to gifts of any kind, simply express thanks for their thoughtfulness.

  31. marychristmas said:

    For the last 10 years everyone and i mean every one in my family and we are ages 45 to 86 and grands 20-24. so no kids anymore. WE DONT CELEBRATE with any gifts at all! we dont even do pick a name, NOTHING. WE dont celebrate christmas at all! we had the good ones back in the 1960’s as kids and thats where it was a real meaning. christmas of today is just high priced gifts we dont need and electronics that these kids of today should find a job and get on their own. So me for example single 54, no kids I buy for me. i dont have to buy wrapping paper, get stressed over presents nothing. I am semi retired so i dont have to deal with co-workers. my birthday is dec 23 and I will be in downtown Las Vegas. That to me is Christmas!! ho-ho-ho.


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