Every year, my extended family has done some sort of gift exchange. Some years, we do a fancy version of a white elephant. Other years, we draw names from a hat. With a large extended family in the Bay Area, it’s a nice way to still feel the spirit of Christmas without breaking the bank trying to buy something for the nearly 20 of us. This year I’m trying to decide if Groupon has a place in the extended family exchange.
When it’s a year of the white elephant style gift, I keep it simple… I buy something I know I like. Selfish maybe, but I like to think that I have some universal tastes. Considering we’ve never gone home with our own gift, I know that buying something I like means that someone else in my family will like it too. But this year we are doing a gift exchange from drawing names out of hat. Which inevitably means that I have to shop for both the person I get and the one my spouse gets because the unlucky person that gets stuck getting a gift from my spouse probably doesn’t want a tool from Sears.
I loathe the gift exchange. Not because I don’t want to buy something personal for a family member, but rather because I now have the pressure to buy something personal for a family member. I hate asking a person what they want for Christmas. I want to be able to find them something that I think they’ll love which usually takes some extra work, but makes me happy.
Enter my current dilemma. The perfect gift I found is a part of a Groupon deal. The price is right on Groupon; out of my reach if I contacted the company directly and paid full price. It’s something that I think my “gift exchangee” will love. But can I really give a Groupon for Christmas? Sure it’s like giving a gift card (something I only do for a couple of “it’s better to just let them pick out what they want” types in our family). I like giving a real gift. But I’m afraid that giving a Groupon deal doesn’t say “I found something I think you’d like to do and it just happens to on sale through Groupon,” but rather says “I’m cheap.”
So tell me, before this deal is over and my internal debate is pointless, can you really give a Groupon as a Christmas gift without looking like a long-lost relative of Scrooge?