How many relationships do you have in your life? Include them all: family, friends, acquaintances…coworkers, the clerk at the grocery store…
Sociologists’ findings differ, but in general, they tell us the normal person (whom you are I’m sure) can maintain somewhere between 150-219 stable social relationships in their lives. Just think about that. If you bought a gift for every relationship you maintain…well, you would go broke…go back to the title of this blog, so…..
You need a gift-giving plan, and that plan should start with an informal (ok…you compulsive ones can break out Excel if you’d like) categorization of your relationships into 4 tiers: close (immediate family/closest friends), near (intermediate family/friends), far (distant family/acquaintances), and wildcard (those that don’t really fit anywhere else). You can call these tiers Hot, Warm, Cold…A, B, C…it doesn’t matter what you call them. The point is you are being intentional with deciding who you can actually give gifts to. Those in the closest tier are the ones you should concentrate on giving gifts to. the next tier maybe get less expensive gifts, or baked goods, or home made items. Those in the third tier maybe get card, but maybe they get nothing. The wildcards… weird Uncle Louie, or the neighbor across the street with the plastic flamingos in the yard, may have to be considered on a per capita basis.
Listen, none of us want to hurt feelings, but the fact of the matter is we can’t give to everyone we know. So don’t feel guilty. Spend the entire year investing within your circle of influence. Make it your mission to add value to others, and that’s the best gift you can give anyone….and that doesn’t just have to happen just once a year.