Holiday Gifts for Neighbors and Friendly Acquaintances

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Should you give Christmas gifts to your neighbors or people you are friendly with? Not your immediate family, but that cousin you only see once a year. Not your close friend, but that thoughtful neighbor who looks after your home when you’re away. What about the dedicated caregiver to your elderly parent? Or someone from your book club, church, the school’s PTA, your Rotary Club, etc. It really depends on the “friendly” and if you want to lock into the cycle of exchanging gifts with them. 

Do you give that friendly acquaintance or neighbor a gift?

A neighbor or friendly acquaintance is someone you interact with on occasion but not someone you would consider a friend. If there is any doubt if someone is a neighbor or a friend, ask yourself this question, “If my car broke down late at night, would I call this person and ask them to pick me up?” If your answer is yes, then that person should be on your “friend” gift list which can be very different from your neighbor gift list.

When deciding whether to gift or not to gift, consider how well you know the individual and how much interaction you have had with them over the past few months. If your interaction is limited to the occasional wave as you drive past their house on the way out of the neighborhood, you don’t need to worry about a gift. However, if you have regular interaction you might want to add them to your gift list. When considering which neighbors, you will give gifts, you should answer the following questions:

  • Has he/she given you a gift in the past?
  • Have you interacted with him/her regularly in the past few months?
  • Is there a tradition of neighbor gift giving in your neighborhood?
  • Would you like to develop a more significant relationship with this person?

If you answered yes to two or more of those questions, consider getting that neighbor a holiday gift.

How much should I spend on a gift for a friendly acquaintance?

While there is no one correct answer to how much you should spend on a gift for a friendly, there are some guidelines you should consider. In addition to how well you know the neighbor, keep in mind that they will want to reciprocate, and you don’t want to place a financial burden on them. You also need to remember that you are starting a gift exchange that will continue into future years, that will be difficult to scale back or discontinue.

As a rule of thumb your neighbor gifts should be inexpensive, somewhere in the $10 to $30 range. There might be circumstances where you want to spend more for an especially generous neighbor, but that should be the exception to the rule.

What gifts are appropriate for a neighbor?

When trying to decide what type of holiday gift to give a “friendly” you don’t know well, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since not everyone drinks you should avoid giving wine or other alcohol gifts unless you know for sure they would be appreciated by that neighbor. Food or snack gifts are appropriate but stay away from some of the more common allergens. Since more and more people are gluten intolerant, include a variety of snacks including gluten-free options. Items such as hot chocolate, pistachios, cookies, chocolates, or homemade goodies make great holiday food gifts for all the friendlies in your life.

Small Christmas décor or other items for the home are also appropriate but your gift should be for the family, not just one person in the home. If you know kids are in the household, consider family board games, DIY gingerbread house kits and cookie dough gifts that will keep the kids busy while they are out of school.

Heart of the Desert offers a variety of snack tins that make great gifts for all the friendlies in your life. They range from $19 to $40 and contain pistachios, brittle, and chocolates. Shop variety tins here.

Happy Shopping!

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.