Gift Obligations

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I am newly married, and we are going to my husband’s side of the family for Christmas. He has a large family, and my mother-in-law has given me a list of what gifts I need to give each family member. I work full-time and do not have time to do all of the shopping. Also, we are young and have pretty good jobs, but we definitely do not make enough money to buy everyone a gift. My husband told this to his mother, but she is ignoring him and keeps on calling me to check on my “shopping status.” My mother-in-law is very into etiquette, so I assume there is an etiquette rule that you have to buy everyone you spend Christmas with a gift? They all gave us really nice wedding gifts, so I will feel bad not coming up with something valuable in return. Please help with any suggestions for the situation.

Dear Anonymous,
You do not have an obligation to buy anyone a gift at Christmas. I understand that you would like to get everyone something nice, but you are not at the point in your life that this is realistic, and your husband’s family should understand that. If you do want to give everyone something, I suggest giving gifts for each family, instead of each individual. People always appreciate baked goods at the holidays, which is something inexpensive. If you are not good at baking, then flowers or a plant are always appreciated. Another idea is if you can track down any pictures taken by wedding guests of your husband’s family enjoying themselves at your wedding, you could them print out, frame them, and give to family members as a gift. Do not feel obligated to give people what your mother-in-law tells you. Do what you can, and everyone will appreciate your thoughtfulness.