Dear EllaJac,

I have a problem. I am experiencing some guilt over some Christmas gifting this year. I try to be fairly careful with money, and our budget is kind of tight in the area of “extras.” Moreso this year than the last few, and we have more kids than ever before also. We do buy some gifts for our children, and each other, but other than that we mostly make gifts for extended family members and friends. Baking, sometimes sewing or other crafts, things like that. Some of my out-of-town relatives were around for Christmas, and they went shopping for our kids, buying each of them an outfit. They also gave my husband and I each a gift card.

We gave them some of our homemade goodies, but certainly nothing remotely worth the gift cards they gave us. Their child seems to have everything she could need, and we didn’t really give child-specific gifts this year anyway.

I feel like we should have done more, though I’m not sure what, and I’m uncomfortable being in this place. What should I do?

A Concerned Recipient

Dear Concerned,

Christmas gifts are – or should be – just that… Gifts. While we may all like to reciprocate and bless others as we are blessed, it’s certainly not obligatory. Maybe your relatives are in a different financial situation, or just wanted to make an extra gesture towards your family. Either way, you can (and should) show gratitude without feeling burdened to spend the same amount of dollars. Your homemade offerings may well include significant time spent in their making, perhaps creating something of a design or quality that isn’t even available to purchase. Don’t beat yourself up for giving something markedly different than you received. The giver chooses to give (and what to give). Don’t sully that generosity with expectations or guilt.

EllaJac

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Advice. I can dish it out. Why can’t I take it?

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