Monday, December 12, 2011

Ask a Bougie Chick: Do I have to buy (him/her) a gift?

You all are killing me with the "Gift Etiquette in Relationship" emails, especially the fellas. The number of "Hey Chele, do I really have to buy a Christmas gift for this chick?" questions are legion. Let me give you all a peak at the emails I'm getting:
a. From a 28 y.o. man in DC:
Hey Chele, just started dating this girl in early November. Not sure if it's serious yet, do I have to buy a gift?
b. From a 32 y.o woman in Detriot:
OneChele, what's the rule on buying Christmas gifts for the cuddle boo? 
c. From a 30 y.o. man in Las Vegas:
Is it cliche to propose at Christmas? And if it's not, the ring is enough of a gift, right? 
d. From a 26 y.o. man in Phoenix:
Okay, third date is next Friday. Christmas is the week after that. Too early for a gift but some sort of acknowledgment. Any ideas?
Good people, I know the mainstream media has you twisted up in the game but the truth of the matter is that Christmas gift exchanging is not a requirement, it's a suggestion or a tradition or an option. Here are my rules when it comes to gift exchange:

1. Give without expectation of getting - You may the sort of person who loves to give gifts. God bless you. Not everyone feels that way. If you're only giving with the expectation of receiving, skip it.

2. Give only what you feel is appropriate - Think on this. Ladies, if you all aren't serious like that - don't break off the Xbox/HD Package. Unless you're applying to be his sugar mama. Yes, this actually happened. Girl had been dating guy for less than a month and bought him a Xbox, TV and home theater system. No. Ma'am.

3. Give only what you can afford to give - Christmas is one day, a year has 364 others to think about. Don't go broke trying to impress folks. Debt is not the reason for the season. Sometimes a heartfelt card, a candy cane and picnic in front of the fireplace are gift enough.

4. Think about what your gift is going to mean to the person getting it - Dude, if you just started dating girlie and you break off jewelry or lingerie... that says something. Be sure that's what you meant to say.

5. Think about what may happen if a) you don't buy that special person a gift or b) you buy the wrong darn gift. Okay, now you know if you're booed up and your s.o. is expecting something - do the right thing. I'm saying this because I know of a gent who made the massive mistake of buying his wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas when she was expecting jewelry. So what if it was a $400 Dyson - you don't buy a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. I mean it. Oh and ladies, do better than drawers and socks.

Now that we have that established - Can you answer the questions from our four emails above? Any Christmas gift rules to share? The floor is yours.


taut_7 said...

so you're saying i shouldn't buy the woman i met on the subway this morning a Christmas gift? gotcha.

Jubi The Great said...

I'm side-eying all the grown folks who needed some help on this one. Everything you wrote was common sense to me. Some folks make things (like Christmas gifts) into a much bigger deal than they really are.

Paul on Ice said...

This is easy
a. No
b. No gifts for the cuddle boo
c. yes but who cares. The ring is plenty
d. Mistletoe?

thinklikeRiley said...

I buy gifts for fam. That's it. If there's a serious contender for Mrs. Riley - I'll think about it.

Jasmin said...

I agree Jubi, but I think for some people *ahem*, what they're really looking for is a "let's kick it thru Christmas but not past MLK Day" gift. Shopping is a lot easier when you want the person to stick around.

motown_skater said...

a. simple question, do you feel obligated?  if they answer is yes, don't get anything.  if the answer is no,  set a price point and get something that falls within that.

b. if want to go for it, but expect nothing more than a thank you in return. 

c.  ring is enough; she won't remember anything past that anyway.

d. nope! 

blackprofessor said...

If you want to buy something for that "unconfirmed" special person, do it! The dollar store has great gift ideas that won't send the wrong message so start there and put a cute bow on it, preferably red, lol!!  

Grace said...

How about when someone you're not really even seeing buys you an expensive gift (diamond bracelet). Can you say #awkward? I had to return it because it was creepy and stalkery.

bashowell said...

Had a new boo a couple of Christmases (is that a word?  anyway...) ago and he was all excited about gifting.  So I bought him "21 Nights" since he was a self-proclaimed Prince fan (and I wanted it for my damn self, but I digress).  We get to the night we planned to exchange gifts and I give him mine.  And he gives me "Oh!  We're doing gifts?  I guess I'd better get you something."  Needless to say, the only people that now get gifts are my immediate family (including the cats), my roommate, and her mini-human.

JP Fairfield said...

I would love a book or a $5 gift card to a bookstore if a guy I have dated recently wanted to give me a gift.    In fact, he would get major points cause I wouldn't be expecting anything.  Anyway, my answers to the questions.

a.  No, yall just start dating.  

b. It depends.. are you expecting something?  Like Chele says "give without expectation"  Only give if you really want to or you & your boo agreed to exchange gifts

c. Ring is enough... you might have to check for breathing...

d. Maybe a card or chocolate but only if you WANT to give her a gift and not expecting anything in return.

Chele's advice is on point

SingLikeSassy said...

A. You never HAVE to buy a gift. If you aren't feeling it, don't do it. It would polite to give her a small something -- perfume, a gift certificate for a spa or something like that, but not necessary, IMO.

B. There is no "rule." If you want him to have something, buy it.

C. It may be cliche, but who cares, if that's what you feel moved to do on Christmas, do it. I would say the ring is enough of a gift, but maybe you stuff a stocking or something.

D. A spa gift certificate is always a good neutral gift, IMO. It's not an iTunes card, but it's not jewelry, lingerie or anything promising more than what you want to at this time.

MsJamie14 said...

Great rules. I concur.

I'm the chick that *hates* gift giving. I'm no good at it, and receiving them just makes me uncomfortable. Since by birthday also falls in December, we definitely have "the talk" about gifts. Dont' buy me one. Instead let's do something. If were dating, whether it's a new relationship or established, we'll have to see each other, so let's just keep it that way.

Save for a Tiffany bracelet I once got, I never remember gifts. I do remember the ice skating trip, the intimate dinners, the pottery night etc we did instead.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

Yea, I'd get that out of my house fast too.

SingLikeSassy said...

HA! I'm doing a blog post about this right now. I'm definitely more an "experiences" girl than a "things" girl.

TrulyPC said...

Oh the torture.  I remember getting caught up in the protocol during  high school when you have a boyfriend and then it is expected for gifts to be exchanged on birthdays, Christmas and the dreaded Valentine's Day.   If you didn't get anything then people are all caught up in that. *Ugh* 

I abhor the dilemma and stress of feeling that there is a certain protocol to follow.   If you feel it then do it (within reason) without expectation.  I am a person that appreciates thoughtfulness, attentiveness, time and acknowledgement and it does not have to come in a commercialized form on a commercialized day.

invectiva said...

I love getting gifts and I love giving gifts, but I am often strapped for time, and I dislike having a designated date that gifts are due. Holidays seem like a lot of pressure to me to get Perfect Stuff For Everyone In My Life, so I try to limit who gets gifts from me so I don't implode. Urgh.

What I really like the best is finding that perfect thing for someone and giving it to them whenever I've found it, no matter the date or time of year.  With new relationships, I think CDs/DVDs/books/high quality chocolates are well within the realm of acceptable gift-giving, holidays or not. After 6 months together, maybe concert/game tickets. I'm never super romantic about presents, though. I *am* the one woman in the world who would love getting a Dyson or some other piece of pricey hardware as a gift. :)  I got a swiss army knife from a lover at Christmas many years ago, and I was overjoyed. I adore useful stuff.

TrulyPC said...

Oh, also.  One of the most memorable Christmas season gifts I received was when a guy that wanted to date me brought mistletoe to school and just simply said for me to have a Merry Christmas and asked if it was okay for him to kiss me.  I said yes and he kissed me sweetly on the cheek.  I remember him and every facet of that moment until this day.

nylse said...

so one year, my brother was dating this young lady and i guess she was a serious contender for the title - Mrs.  Now my family is big - 3 girls, 5 boys and the parents.  That christmas she bought all of us gifts and they were really nice! but nothing ever came of the relationship.  I was always amused by this - almost felt like she was trying to buy us in to her good graces. 
moral of the story - a gift is not an obligation.

GuessImJay said...

Who are these people that write in with these questions? What's wrong with asking the person you're actually in the relationship with "So what do you want for Christmas?" and then following it up with what you can/cannot will/will not do. That discussion squashes so much drama.

MsJamie14 said...

My mother repeatedly ignores my "no gifts" request. So I give her a list to shut her up. I've requested a drill, a shark steam mop, etc. So I feel you. I'd love a Dyson too!!!

Jeannette said...

I agree.  It makes you wonder what type of person you are in a relationship with if they can't come straight out and communicate directly with their partner.

Lady Ngo said...

I get the feeling that A and D just don't wanna buy anything but don't wanna seem like a dbag so they want someone to co-sign their thoughts instead of having to ask and then be put on the spot about buying a gift when they really didn't want to (longest sentence ever in life). Personally, unless i'm doing a holiday gift exchange at work or something like that, the only people i buy gifts for are my fam and my closest friends (and the boo thang if there is one). Everyone else gets a card and/or a merry christmas text. But to answer the emails:

a) By Christmas, it'd be a month and half since you started dating that young lady, the least you can do is get homegirl a nice card (and a evening out if you plan on seeing each other)!
b) who buys cuddle buddies presents?!? lol
c) go for it. The proposal is all the gift thats gonna matter im sure (unless part 2 was gonna be a tropical vacation or something)
d) happy holidays text if you don't plan on seeing each other, a nice card if you do

Mykeia said...

"Debt is not the reason for the season."<-----CO-SIGN ALL DAY LONG.
I don't have anything else for this post except for good luck with whatever the writers may choose.

Foxy Brown said...

i love giving gifts! gifts is my love language. i never expect a gift in return. seeing a person enjoy my gift is gift enough for me (sounds corny and cliche, but true).  i bake cookies for the mail carrier.  i give giftcards to my mechanic (and this year, the tow truck guy).  since i don't have kids and i am away from family, my dog will be spoiled this year.

a, b, d--if you have to ask, don't buy a gift.

c--yes, it's cliche, but who cares.  i'm sure she won't.  good luck.

tishatweets said...

I'm a big gift (as in, I'm big ON gifts, not that I *always* give a BIG gift) giver. As a matter of fact, I'm subject to mess it up because I am so excited to see that look of joy on someone's face. I have to regulate myself. LOL.

All that said, I think you gave some pretty sage advice. For all of the situations presented above (save the guy (I hope it's a guy) that's intending to propose (I think he should still get her a small little something), I don't think there should be any pressure to go all out. A nice card, maybe a book or some music you know they've been wanting or a gift certificate for somewhere nice should suffice, IMO. said...

I for one appreciate some draws and socks, personally. Unless you know my interests intimately enough to get me specific things that I enjoy, then stick to being practical, as I am a practical fella.

Marioned said...

Perfect timing on this subject.  I am 8 months in and am getting him something from his Alma mater since the school is top ranked in football and he is big fan.  I am not looking for anything too lavish and that is OK because he has given so much over the last 8 months.    Now next  year......  lol

rozb said...

I always give to friends and fam because I simply love it. As long as I don't get a ratched-assed Chia Head or one of those porcelein dolls with the "watch you everywhere in the room" eyes, I am cool.

A cuddle boo? A little something cuddle-appropriate - if he is just playin' get him a Snuggie or something from those TV infomercials that if you act now you get 2 for the price of 1 and free shipping. Like the Ove-Glove or that boiled egg peeler.

Something more serious? Tickets to a favorite sporting event, or gift cards for his favorite hobby or store.

CaliGirlED said...

You are a nut! LOL

CaliGirlED said...

a) Not sure if it's serious yet? Well hell if you don't know, then who does?...Don't get her a gift, then you'll both know it's not serious!

b) Gift for cuddle boo? If you have to ask, you're cuddling with the wrong boo!

c) Do you know who you're marrying? Who expects a gift on top of being proposed to??? Are you dating Kim K?

d) 3rd date? Have you been listening to her at all??? What does she like?

Sorry y'all it's been a rough few days! Gonna pray and meditate, I'll be nicer tomorrow, I promise.

Rubie said...

I haven't had to buy a ninja a gift in over 10yrs I wouldn't know where to begin 

GammasWorld said...

Unless your spouse/partner is a chef in training or just enjoys the hell out of cooking, skip the pots and pans.   It's been a long damn time but all I know is ex-hubby got a Canon AE1 and a zoom lens ... I got pots and pans.  That was was one of many signs that let me know our Christmases as husband and wife were going to be few.  

Monica said...

If you have to ask, leave it alone. Usually those who are asking are looking for a way to not get the gift anyway.

I usually try to get the hubby something he needs but just wouldn't buy himself.


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