Making a ‘Gift’ List: Who gets presents, and who doesn’t.

The fact that you’ve seen me more than once a week on this platform merely means that I’m supremely inspired or merely have nothing to do at work (the latter, in this case). While wracking 60% of my brains  for a topic to write about that would interest you guys, the other 40% of my brain was busy thinking up gift ideas for, well , everyone! [Disclaimer: My brain has already made the transition from ordinary time to Christmas time! hence the excessive Christmas posts, and inordinate amount of cheer. If anyone still has their Grinch on, this is where you stop reading.]

And there in lay my inspiration.

The gift list. Or rather, who do you buy gifts for, and who to banish to the naughty list. (Like a guest list, but for gifts)

Why do you need gift list you say? Well, for starters, we’re not all blessed with a ‘Ambani’ surname. Also, when you have 364 days between every Christmas day, you tend to pick up a lot of new friends (and even family) along the way. And unfortunately, sometimes, people we used to be close to, become a little less closer to use. So come holiday season, our Christmas lists could do with a little dusting and revisions. (tip: A Christmas card is a nice (and cheap) way of telling everyone that they are not forgotten!)

Now, getting started we’ll divide this list into a definitely and maybe list ok


Parents: they created you. You owe them any and every kind of gift

Grandparents: Duh!

Siblings: Whether you have a love, hate or love/hate relationship with them, they will always belong to you. So buy them something.

Partners: If you don’t want to give your partner something (unless you’ll have discussed not getting each other anything), then there’s something wrong with your relationship.

Children: By children I mean your own ok. And one of the biggest ‘events’ of Christmas is children opening their Christmas present.

House guests: If you’ve got guests staying at your place for Christmas, then it might be nice to gift them something. It’s just courtesy. And a little giving goes a long away.

House hosts: On the other hand, if you’re staying with someone else for Christmas, you should consider getting your host a gift. It doesn’t have to be fancy or one gift for each member of the house too. Maybe just a bottle of wine or some sweets.

The person you picked for your office secret Santa: Buying a gift for them is the whole point of secret Santa!


Friends: Friends with me is always a grey area because I can never decide who to gift and who to leave out (because of my very limited budget) So unless you have a long standing tradition of exchanging gifts with a friend, or organize a planned gift exchange at a Christmas party, or you just know for sure that you want to gift a particular friend/s (for whatever reason) something this year- avoid it.  Instead, you could distribute some home-made Christmas sweets and cards. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Office colleagues: You may or may not be very close to the people you work with. On the other hand, you really cannot give a few people gifts without the rest of the office hearing about it (office vine alert!) So instead of a gift, just take a cake/cupcakes to work. It keeps everyone happy and spreads the cheer. Also, if you do want to cupcakes to like a select few, then the best way to do it would be just share it at the lunch table or where every one generally socialize with them. (ummm not the loo maybe!)

House help/Employees: This is a completely optional section, though, in the spirit of the season, someone less fortunate that you will appreciate a gift more that your peers, or someone who can actually afford it.

Relatives: If you’re one of those with a really really small extended family, then buying gifts for everyone is ok. But if you a part of the big fat Indian family, then I don’t see how you could buy gifts for everyone without breaking the bank. If you do have a custom of exchanging gifts with every relative then maybe you can subtly suggest a new tradition like an in house secret Santa. My suggestion? Distribute Christmas sweets/cake. Its home made and its sweet.

Children (others): If a relative or friend has a new baby, I know that you’ll be so tempted to gift them something for Christmas. If you really want to give baby something, then of course, go ahead! Buying them a gift once can easily turn into an (expensive) tradition, so tread carefully.

In the end, it’s good to remember that while gifts are great, this holiday season is so much more than just a commercial festival of spending. I can’t really remember all the gifts I’ve gotten for past Christmases. But memories of shared meals, family get-togethers and even the Santa treasure hunt that my parents organized stick out more clearly than final ‘presant’.

At the end of the day, it’s not about ‘how much’ you spend, but ‘how’ you spend Christmas : )


The reluctant writer.


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