Gift Etiquette 

Dear Minerva,

What is the appropriate protocol for gift giving during the holidays? Do I have to get a gift for everyone who might give me a gift, even if I wasn't expecting it or I hardly know them? How do I determine if someone is close enough to get them gifts? I'm not great at this kind of stuff and some guidance would be appreciated!

—Ho-Ho-Hopeless in Boise

Dear Ho,

This can be tricky. We all know people who have a lot of spirit and the means to spread it to all. It isn't always as easy for everyone else. The best policy is to get gifts for those with whom you've made agreements. Definitely thank anyone who gives you a gift. You aren't obligated to return the favor if you weren't expecting it. Once the holidays feel like an obligation, then they cease to be enjoyable. If you have the means, one thing you can do is keep a supply of ready-to-go gifts on hand. Things like pre-wrapped boxes of candy or nuts, wine or spirits make it easy to exchange a gift without having to plan ahead or guess who might surprise you. I personally feel the greatest gift a person can give someone else is their time. I would rather spend time with the ones I love. This removes the feelings of obligation and also allows people who might not be feeling the holiday spirit to participate in a way that makes them comfortable.

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