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Where Do You Stand: Buying Gifts For Friends

Once you reach a certain age, like around the time you're too old for pool parties, slumber parties, and a day at the rollerskating rink, gift giving for friends becomes slightly more complicated. Buying a $20 or $50 gift every time another friend’s birthday rolls around can get very expensive, and I, for one, am not a fan of the generic gift; it seems even less thoughtful than not getting anything at all.

Though of course it’s important to acknowledge the significance of a friend’s special day, I can’t say that buying a gift always seems necessary past a certain age. But what about you, where do you stand when it comes to giving gifts to friends? Is it a must in your book, or does a chummy “happy birthday” email suffice?


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ESPNgirl ESPNgirl 9 years
With the friends I have spent my lifetime with, I always try to get them something, whether it be big or small...I only have 2 of those friends, so it's not that big of a deal. :) The other friends that I have I often get something small - we often just treat each other to dinner or a movie. Sometimes we try and see who can get each other the better gift off the street since we live in NYC, which is a fun game - bargaining in the city is always hilariously fun. Now parents, boyfriends and siblings are a whole 'nother story...
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I bring my friend a gift if I'm going to see them on or around my birthday. It's just the nice thing to do and I'd want them to do it for me, or at least think about doing it if they couldn't afford to. It doesn't have to be anything big but it's nice to get something to show they were thinking about you. I'm an awesome gift giver so I actually love doing it.
emalove emalove 9 years
My best friends and I always exchange b-day gifts, but we each draw a name for Christmas. We rarely spend over $50 on one another either, so it doesn't get out of control or anything.
designerel designerel 9 years
i think the older we get, the less we expect people to buy us presents. nowadays i will buy a drink or dinner. i only give presents to those i'm really close to. recently i bought a birthday gift for the bf's mom (the bf and i have been seeing each other not that long-- 2+ months) but i just wanted to make a good impression lol.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
I usually don't buy birthday presents unless I'm going to a party. But regardless of the occasion...if I see something that I know a friend would love I will buy it for them.
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I don't mind buying something for a friend. It doesn't have to be their birthday.
ellenmarie ellenmarie 9 years
We usually just buy each other a drink when we go out for our birthdays.
Leene Leene 9 years
I have a group of six friends, all them equal what comes to gifts. So it makes five gifts per year for me (of course I buy presents for family-members also!). It is not usually a problem, I tend to buy presents costing around 10-20 euros. But one of friends just recently had her birthday and the others decided to buy one big gift to her together. I panicked a bit when I heard my share of cost. It wasn't that expensive, but I would not have wanted to put so much on it and on the other hand it would have been odd had I bought separated present.
miriah15 miriah15 9 years
I LOVE buying/making gifts for my friends. Even if it's a non-occasion.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
Most of my friends live in different states that are thousands of miles away. So, we don't really exchange gifts or even get to go out for dinner. I buy my mom and my step-dad presents because my mom requires it (I usually give gift cards because my mom's picky), and on special occasions (birthday, Christmas, anniversary), I shower my boyfriend with gifts. Like, I might buy him an outfit, a gift card for DVDs, a game, and/or book a trip for us. When I used to have friends live nearby, I would spend hours picking out their gifts and writing a book telling them how much I appreciate them. Now, I don't do any of that sappy stuff except for my boyfriend.
radmama27 radmama27 9 years
Only if there is a party, which usually we just go to a bar for the evening, so a round of shots is good. But if I see something that is so *them* I will def get it!
Maggirat Maggirat 9 years
I'm likely to do an "event gift" -- drinks, dinner, a movie or show. Something we can do or share together. Impossible to regift.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I'm similar to many posters here. I give gifts to good friends and immediate family. When it comes to casual friends, I would only give a gift if I was invited to a birthday celebration. I would bring something nice and casual. I also enjoy gift giving. I get a lot of joy giving something to someone I care about.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Usually it's just facebook and a phone call. If we're together, and celebrating then I'll pick up some wine or champagne, or buy the friend dinner. I just think it really isn't expected anymore!
KWM KWM 9 years
I send cards if I am not going to see them, something small and thoughtful if I am seeing them on or around their bday. Works out ok since a lot of my friends are long distance!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
I get gifts for all my close friends. Acquaintances usually get cards and my guy friends get nothing usually. Because of course, they seem to not really care. haha
jillerin457 jillerin457 9 years
I also just get my friends gifts if/when I find something good. For birthdays, we're more likely to buy each other drinks or dinner, and post a "happy birthday" on Faceboook!
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I prefer getting gifts for people when you find something that they would really like, even if it is before or after birthdays or holidays
secretallstar secretallstar 9 years
I have one friend I exchange birthday gifts with, but I've known her for more than half my life. My other friends and I will buy dinner or drinks to celebrate.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I have a few friends I exchange gifts with for birthdays. Sometimes I'll take a friend out to lunch or something along those lines.
lauriegilbert lauriegilbert 9 years
I like the gift giving if people put thought into it, but I'm also perfectly happy if they have me over and make me dinner or we go out for coffee. For me its more about spending time with the person.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i am much more likely to pick something up when i see something that reminds me of someone and give it to them randomly than make a production of getting a generic present because it's their birthday either that, or really personalize it...the day before my birthday last year i bought a car, and for my birthday, my best friends and i went away for the weekend, which, to me, is present enough - time together! but anyway, they were so thoughtful and got me stuff for my car (mostly joke stuff) like a mini disco ball, funny air fresheners, a funny key chain, some gum and stuff like that...they really put thought into something and personalized it for my situation and i appreciated that....but i never expected presents and wouldn't be the least bit disapointed if i didnt get anything from them
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i agree, only if there's a party do i buy presents, and even then, i try not to get something just for the sake of it (ie: something i randomly picked out because i felt obligated that they may never use)...i would rather buy wine and a big bouquet of helium balloons to show i care, to show i am there for them, to celebrate their special feels more personal than just running off and buy some random candle at the mall
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I have several friends that i give gifts to. I don't expect any of them to give anything to me, but I love the gift of giving. It is something special to be able to make someone else happy. As jopperma said, I love buying the perfect gift for someone.
Sporky Sporky 9 years
I get gifts for my circle of very close friends, and also siblings, everyone else I buy them a drink. My bf's a musician and I've become friends with a lot of his friends so there's almost ALWAYS a birthday when he's playing a gig, but most love to get their drink on so a pint of beer is usually perfect.
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