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If you stop and look at your list of people to buy for this holiday season, it can start to look ridiculous. You find yourself questioning your own list.
I don’t remember this guy. She and I haven’t talked in years. Who is that person?
For the sake of your budget—not to mention your sanity—we’ll go ahead and tell you that you must draw a line in the sand. If you can barely pick a person out of a crowd, don’t feel obligated to spend money and get something for them.
The key to determining if you should purchase a gift is to gauge how well you know the recipient. You should have meaningful (and somewhat frequent) interaction with them. If the extent of your daily interaction with a co-worker amounts to you saying “Hi” to them at the water cooler, that doesn’t justify or necessitate a present.
Lots of people play the “If we, then we . . .” game. They say if we buy a gift for this person, then we should probably buy for that one and for them and those people over there. It snowballs from there. We end up purchasing a present for someone we otherwise never would have, but because they are related to someone who knows a person who is friends with blah blah blah, we cave and put them on the list.
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Don’t do that. Stick with a direct connection between yourself and the person. If you’re not close, you’re not buying.
And don’t use Facebook as a gauge for how well you know a person. You may leave comments on each other’s statuses a lot, but that’s not the same as hanging out with them or being invited to their kids’ birthday parties. If they are an old friend from high school or college that you keep in touch with, that’s one thing. But if it boils down to comments and “likes,” that’s another.
This philosophy also holds true for long-lost family members. The uncle who lives eight states away and you last saw at that family reunion when George W. Bush was in office may not even know the name on the return address of a package you send him, so don’t bother.
Keep in mind that you aren’t being a Scrooge by doing this. You are being reasonable. The holiday season is about love, relationships and giving. Gifts are not an obligation; you choose who you give to.
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