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Gift Giving Among a Circle of Friends

This article was written by in Consumer. 5 comments.

I have a group of ten or so friends that comprise the “usual crowd.” We get together for people’s birthdays, movie nights, game nights, that sort of thing. At some point, we’re supposed to get together for Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. There seems to be an avoidance of what to do about the gift-giving arrangement. In the past, everything was simple: each person bought presents for everyone else in the group, for the most part.

Do other people in their 20s and 30s do this? It seems to me that if groups of friends do anything, it’s usually a “Secret Santa” type of arrangement. This way individuals, some who have less expendible income than others, don’t feel bad about scrimping money together to get everyone something off their Amazon.com wish list.

What do you do with your friends for the holidays, if anything? Speaking of the holidays, “Black Friday” is nigh. For all the talk about it, the day is not the biggest for holiday shoppers.

Published or updated November 23, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar Neo

With regards to our group of friends, we finally decided not get anyone any items but there is unfortunately always one person that insists on getting everyone something. It makes things a bit uncomfortable but it is how it is. As with family, we have an unspoken agreement that gifts aren’t purchased for the adults but we of course get items for the kids.


avatar jim

My group of friends do Secret Santa out of almost necessity because the general group is around 20 people, it’s prohibitively expensive to buy everyone a gift unless it’s a small one. Part of the fun in Secret Santa are the gag gifts and watching reactions…

avatar maribeth

My grad school friends host a potluck in conjunction with a white elephant gift exchange. Loads of fun and very little stress for all.

As for family, I buy gifts for my parents and siblings, and get something small for any extended family members under 18. We used to trade gifts among all the aunts and cousins and whatnot, but decided to chip in $20 each to go to a charity instead.

avatar Dave

My wife does the Secret Santa with all her old friends, but that’s it. Every year the guys joke about doing it, but we think it’s kind of lame to get a <$20 gift for a random person.

avatar Paco

Our group consists of 8 people in their 20′s and 30′s. For a few years, we all bought gifts for each other, but that just about broke the bank (and stressed all of us out from all the shopping involved). One year we did a Secret Santa, but no one followed the rules and we ended up with as many gifts as the year before.

Last year each of us contributed money to buy a water buffalo at Heifer.com. No one missed the gift exchange, no one exceeded their budgets, and it really simplified Christmas for all of us. Best of all, we were able to give to those less fortunate. We’ve decided to make charitible giving a Christmas tradition.