Who Should I Give Gifts to This Christmas?

Christmas gifts are a fun and sentimental way to show your appreciation to those you care about over the holidays. Unfortunately, they bring up some complicated questions about etiquette. One of those questions is who you should and shouldn’t buy a gift for at Christmas.

People have created unspoken rules about gift giving; however, most of these rules have come from guilt or false obligation. You don’t have to follow every unspoken rule about giving! So, now that we have that out of the way… Who are you supposed to buy gifts for?

Who You Should and Shouldn’t Give Gifts to:

1. People That You Want to Give to

The most obvious people to give to on Christmas are those that you actually WANT to give a holiday gift to. You should never feel like you’re obligated to give gifts, because all gifts should be given out of genuine care and not through expectation. If you want to give someone a gift, then do it. If you don’t want to give a gift (even if you’ve been giving that person a gift every year for a while), don’t give a gift.

2. Your Friend’s Children

There is no need to give gifts to the children of your friends, especially not individual gifts. If you want, you can get a group gift that might be enjoyed by all of them. Once the kids start getting older, there is no need to give them gifts at all unless you have a strong bond with any of them. As a rule of thumb, it’s not wise to get one child a gift without getting something for the others. It’s better to not get gifts for your friend’s kid than to give selectively.

3. Significant Other

This is a person you really care about. Maybe your significant other is your spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend, but you should almost always get them a gift. Married couples have more freedom in this than most dating or engaged couples. You can talk with your spouse about gift-giving and see what you both would like to do. Maybe it’s better to do something together than to spend money on each other every year (as a married couple, your money usually comes from the same bank account anyway!).

Dating couples should usually get gifts for each other, even if it’s just something small. New relationships are always a bit awkward near the holidays, but just remember that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars when you’ve only been dating for a few months.

4. Hosting Gifts

If you’ll be attending a holiday party for a few hours, it’s a good idea to bring a host gift. Parties where there will be food also deserve a host gift in most cases. If you won’t be staying for long and are just dropping by briefly, don’t worry about getting a gift for the host.

5. Immediate Family

When you still live with your immediate family members, it’s a good idea to get them gifts if you can. Those that don’t live in the home, but do live nearby might also go on your list. If you have immediate family that’s far away and you won’t be seeing them around Christmas time, you don’t have to get them a gift because of shipping charges and inconvenience. Sometimes a nice Christmas card can be just as good.

6.Other Relatives

Unless you are going to be visiting certain relatives or you are close to a few specific relatives, you don’t need to get gifts for those who aren’t your immediate family. If they live in the same home as you or if they will be visiting your home over Christmas than you should get them a gift, even if it’s a small gift.

7. Nannies and Babysitters

While you’re not required to give a Christmas bonus gift to nannies or babysitters, it does make a kind gesture that is greatly appreciated. If you want to give them a gift, it’s usually nice to double their normal check for a day or week or work as a way to say thanks.

8. Close Friends

Even if you are close friends with someone, you shouldn’t buy them a gift unless you want to. If you will be visiting them or they will be visiting you on Christmas day, you might consider getting them something they would like. If not, then you shouldn’t feel obliged to get anything unless you really want to. If they are married or in a live-in relationship, it’s a nice gesture to get a couple’s gift instead of individual gifts.

9. Co-Workers

If you’re friendly with your co-workers, it is a nice idea to bring some sort of gift for them. This can be in the form of bringing in cookies or snacks to work near the holidays, participating in a Secret Santa gift exchange, or getting small token gifts for each person if you work in a smaller group.

10. Your Boss

As a general rule, you should never buy your boss a Christmas gift. Sometimes this can give a bad impression and won’t be taken the right way. If you want to show appreciation, it is acceptable to give a Christmas card or to chip in with other co-workers to get a gift, as long as it’s not too expensive or personal.

11. Employees or Hired Help

If you are the boss, you might use some of the excess budget to give a holiday party for your employees. If you’re someone who hires people to help around the house with gardening, cleaning, or anything else than you should consider giving a week’s worth of pay extra to that person. This extends to regular hairdressers and other professionals as well.

12. School Teachers

Parents with children in school can get a teacher a gift, but it isn’t a problem if they don’t. Your child has a lot of teachers; you don’t have to buy gifts for them all! Sometimes if a teacher has given your child a lot of help that year or shown themselves to be a great teacher then it’s a nice way to repay them for their service to your child. A small gift card is always an acceptable gift.


Hopefully we have covered all the usual bases with this list. The best rule to remember is that if you genuinely don’t want to give someone a gift then you don’t have to do it. Maybe you can talk with that person if you know they want to exchange gifts, so that they’re aware of your intentions. However, you are NOT REQUIRED to give anyone a gift at Christmas unless you actually want to give it!

Can you think of anyone else I might have missed on this list? Do you have more people you’re curious about? Feel free to leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: