|Inslee By Design|
Q: My friends and I have been exchanging holiday gifts for the past few years, but it's getting expensive. How can I break the gift-giving cycle?
A: This is a common dilemma- you're not alone! This year, try suggesting that you celebrate the season with a fancy dinner together, combine your gift-giving budgets and make a donation to a cause you care about, or perhaps try an ornament exchange. Reigning in spendy friends can be tricky, but if your ideas don't go over well, there's no obligation to buy a gift! Consider a DIY item or a nice card and simply mention that you're cutting back on gifts this year because you're all so fortunate already. Nobody needs more 'stuff' laying around!
Q: I'll be with my boyfriend's parents over the holidays- do I have to give them each a gift?
A: You should never feel obligated to give a gift, but it is nice to acknowledge the season with a little something. I suggest a joint gift for your first few holidays together. As you get to know the parents, you'll learn more about their individual interests, but in the beginning, consider a nice bottle of wine, a beautiful ornament for the tree, or something fun they can do together. I love the idea of gifting a cooking class, tickets to the symphony, or a movie gift basket full of everything they need to cozy up on the couch with their favorite flick.
Q: I want to acknowledge the holidays at work, but is it appropriate to give small gifts to coworkers?
A: The answer to this question will depend on your unique office environment. Typically, I avoid giving gifts to coworkers and instead opt for something that we'll do together. Adopting a family and buying their holiday gifts can be a fun and charitable co-worker activity, and it will get you all in the holiday spirit as you play Santa. As an alternative, try brining in breakfast or lunch for your coworkers, or tempt them with some homemade toffee or peppermint bark. You don't have to go overboard to make the season merry!