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ROXYCARIN SparkPoints: (95,965)
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Posts: 3,996
12/24/13 1:25 A

Doesn't seem very balanced to me, I would just tell her that you can't accept it if the gift is too much.

JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (587,812)
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12/23/13 11:57 P

Just be honest with her!!!! That is really the best thing to do. Tell her that her friendship means more to you than any gift ever will!!! Good luck!!!!!

BLUENOSE63 SparkPoints: (108,021)
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12/23/13 7:39 P

I agree with everyone that you should sit her down and talk to her in the New Year. Perhaps you guys could take that money and pick a needy family, or you could buy a goat for a village in Africa type thing (we did both this year and the goat was about $75). Whatever amount you want to set just turn it into something you can do for someone else.

LOUIE-LILY Posts: 5,714
12/23/13 2:07 P

Talk to her after Christmas and blame it on your own budgeting issues. I agree with the suggestions to put a $$ limit. If she says it's not enough, you don't need to spend more just because she wants to. Also, take her for coffee for her birthday, get her a card and leave it at that.

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
12/23/13 12:32 P

I wouldn't spend more than you are comfortable with no matter what she spends.

I think you'll just have to take a chance and speak with her about it. I would tell her that you need to scale back your spending. I would tell her that you feel bad if she spends more than you and would be happier if you both agreed to a spending limit on gifts.
You could suggest exchanging homemade gifts instead of store bought. That might be fun and bring the cost down.
You could suggest exchanging cards, books, ornaments, or food items.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (200,016)
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12/23/13 11:19 A


I'm sure your friend must be one of those folks who enjoys shopping for the perfect gift for their friends/family regardless of the price. I know many people do go into debt at the holidays because they want the time to be special. However, considering that many people are struggling to pay bills, I too would suggest a spending limit on gifts. If you've been friends for a very long time, she'll understand.

Next Christmas, tell her that no one spends more than $20-$25 on a gift. If she says that's not enough to buy something nice, assure her that it's not the cost of the gift that matters, it was the thought. And there are lots of nice things that can be bought for around $20.

And you might also suggest that you stop exchanging gifts for birthdays too. It's a nice gesture, but not necessary. If she wants to do something, suggest going out to lunch together.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (251,933)
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12/23/13 11:17 A

I agree - discuss it after Christmas. Maybe say that you are putting yourself on a strict budget as a resolution.

If she is a true friend, spending time together at lunch or having a 'girl's night' will mean more than any dollar amount.

EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
12/23/13 10:31 A

I don't see the need to reciprocate, which is something I say from experience, having been in that situation.

Maybe she keeps raising the ante because you are reciprocating and that makes her feel she has to spend more.

I'd start now just being sincerely grateful for what she gives but giving something small that you can afford and maybe adding in some homemade cookies.

I personally wouldn't talk to her about it after Christmas or ever, just start ratcheting it down.

12/23/13 7:56 A

Well, you ARE going to have to talk with her about the problem no matter what. I'd tell her just what you told us -- that your budget is limited and that you think she spends way too much on you, and that, besides tightening your budget, you would feel very uncomfortable if you couldn't reciprocate with the same type of gifts. I like the idea of taking each other out to lunch, but even that can get expensive. Maybe you could just make an agreement to exchange birthday cards without the gift.

I have a related problem -- I have asked for years that part of my family would stop buying and sending gifts our way at Christmas because I cannot afford to keep reciprocating to their very large and growing families, yet every year I get hit with gifts from them. Now I've resorted to giving family gifts like a ton of edibles that they can split up, but it is still costing at least $100 each year. This year, since we've been busy with my FIL's health problems, I did not have time to go shopping for them. Maybe this will be the year that will break the trend. I sure hope so. I know what you mean about sensitive people, and I hope that my family all understands my situation too, and don't get offended.

Good luck.


NIRERIN Posts: 14,297
12/23/13 7:08 A

after christmas sit down with her and discuss it. mention that you're needing to cut back, and while you don't want to stop the exchange of gifts you do need to put a cost ceiling on them. you can definitely leave out the part about her not having any other friends or assuming things about her budget.
i have to say that our office christmas exchange is set up so that we aren't allowed to buy anything, we just bring something from home to exchange. it's fun to see what everyone brings up and it's really an entertaining part of the christmas party. while it wouldn't really work with just two people, the idea of a very low [or no] budget makes you get creative. depending on how she eats you could even try and set a sweet treat valentine exchange where you make something for less than $5 and exchange it. and you could do little stuff like this for the holidays as a gesture of wanting to do stuff with her, not just dumping money you don't have on her.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,484
12/23/13 5:59 A

Not sure you can do that this year but I would sit down with her and make an agreement to set a $ limit on the gift, or even agree not to do the gift and instead go to a nice restaurant after work (dutch) and celebrate that way.

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 12/23/2013 (06:00)
LISALOOPNER Posts: 1,177
12/23/13 4:25 A

I have a work associate that I exchange birthday & Christmas gifts with and over the years the gift giving has gotten out of hand. I feel the need to reciprocate so I am over sending on her as well. For example for my birthday she had to have spent at least 150-200 dollars on me. She is not really in the position to spend this kind of money and for that reason and the fact I don't think she has many friends I feel I need to reciprocate.

How do I break this overspending without hurting her feelings? She offends VERY easily and I have to work closely with this person everyday, what to do?

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