The holiday season is filled with love, laughter and shopping.
As time goes by, our list gets longer and longer. Gift purchasing becomes a long, expensive endeavour.
There are the obvious ones like parents, siblings and significant others.
But in the age of social media keeping us connected to so many people who would otherwise be casual acquaintances at best, the dreaded "she bought me a gift but I didn't get her one" situation becomes a more likely reality.
So how do you know who you should and should not buy presents for?
Nobody wants that awkward experience, and while it's not ever totally avoidable, there are ways to help you decide
1. Strike up a Christmasy convo.
The most casual and undetectable way to find out if you should be adding someone to the shopping list is to mention the holidays in conversation.
Asking about holiday plans or transitions is a great way to not only get to know someone better, but to also see if he or she will offer any gift-giving info.
2. Talk about shopping.
Perhaps the mention of Christmas alone isn't enough to spark the discussion you're looking to have.
Casually state that you'll be shopping for gifts soon, ask if they've started their shopping or ask where they like to do their shopping.
Odds are, they'll say, "You're going to love your gift!" or something along those lines.
3. Reason it out.
How well do you know this person?
How much time do you spend together?
If you don't know enough about them to even know what would make a nice, personal gift, chances are you aren't in the position to get them one.
Odds are, if you don't know them, they don't know you and neither of you intend to exchange gifts. Go with your gut.
4. Plan B.
Back up gifts.
It's a little crazy and really impersonal, but it works.
Buy a few gift cards to generic places like restaurants or shops and then if someone gives you a gift that you weren't expecting, you have something to give in exchange.
If you don't use the cards you can save them for another occasion so it's a win-win.
5. Secret Santa suggestion.
If your problem is specifically not knowing what to expect from coworkers or a group of friends, suggest a fun game of Secret Santa. That way you know what to expect and everyone will give and receive gifts.
No one is left out or left wondering.
6. Just do whatever you want.
People are people.
It's understandable that you may not have anticipated a gift.
If you don't think you need to give someone a gift, don't buy one.
If they happen to have gotten you one, it's okay.
Be honest about not expecting to receive a gift from them, and offer to take them to lunch or coffee to say thank you.
7. Be a giver.
It's better to give than to receive.
The easiest way to solve your problems is to just not worry about what another person's shopping plan is. If you feel compelled to give a gift, just do it. Who cares if you get something in return?
'Tis the season!
Number seven is absolutely my favorite suggestion in the list.
Whether someone is or isn't getting you a gift is really the last thing you need to be concerned with when it comes to deciding who to share a holiday tradition with.
The holidays aren't about expectations or "payback."
It's about showing people you care.
You don't have to worry about breaking the bank.
Meaningful gifts don't have to cost you a lot of money, they just have to come from the heart.
It may sound "cheesy" but it's about the love.