Should I spend more on a Christmas gift, now that I have more money than I used to?

My brother and I exchange christmas gifts each year. For the past few years, it has become usually an exchange of gift cards in the amount of $50. I am fairly confident that I’ll receive either a $50 gift card from him this year, or possibly a different gift with a $50 value.

Now, I have been out of school a few years, am working full time and finally have some extra cash. I’m thinking I can afford a bit more on him now, and am considering something more in the $100 price range.

He, on the other hand, is still in school and I’m sure he doesn’t have a lot of extra money. $50 to him is probably worth more than $100 is to me. I’d feel bad if he spent more than that on me, and even the $50 bucks is probably alot for him. I’d rather have him hang onto his money, than spend any extra on me.

So, I’m perfictly fine giving him a more pricey gift than I’ll probably be receiving. I don’t look at this as a competiton, and I don’t expect him to give me equal value in return. The only reason for the increase in denomination this year would be the fact that I have extra cash.

But, I’m concerned that if I give him more than he gives me, he might feel bad. Maybe he’ll even think I’m trying to “show him up” (which I am definitley not trying to do). Would it be OK for me to give him more than I think he’ll be giving me, or considering I am confident he’ll be giving me something in the $50 range, should I just stick with that?

I wouldn’t change the value of the present just yet. If you want to bump up the gifting, take him to dinner a couple of times, or buy him a $50 Arbor Day present or something. If you’ve set a value for Christmas presents, it shouldn’t be changed without both of you agreeing to it.

Go for it. If he looks embarrassed, make a joke about expecting the same when he gets a real job, and then say, “Seriously, I’ve been fortunate this year, so I’m sharing the wealth.”

I recently landed a new job and a significant pay raise, so we’re spending more this Christmas than we used to. My folks gave me an “either A or B” list of suggestions, and we bought both A and B. I’m buying most of the food for my (relatively less-well-off) MIL’s New Year’s Day brunch. And I grabbed a handful of ornaments off the office giving tree.

And for my brother, who’s a grad student living in a tiny apartment in NYC, I got $50 cards to a store he likes and iTunes. I get to be generous, and he gets to avoid having to haul a bunch of crap back on the plane.

As an alternative, get him another gift(s) but either sneak them under the tree or leave them in a stocking near where he sleeps, “From Santa”, and then disclaim all knowledge.

If you give $100, he’ll probably either feel bad or feel obligated to up the ante next year. If you’re feeling generous, I’d either take Oakminster’s advice or wait until after the holidays and then send him a second gift card “just because.”

I send my niece (my godchild) gift cards throughout the year that say, “I was thinking about you” or “I was a poor college student once.” She’s thrilled to get them and there’s no mistaking the fact that I don’t expect anything in return.

for a present, spend a fortune. He will appreciate it. For a gift card, that might put pressure on him. Stick to the usual.

It depends on your brother; and you know him better than we do. I would not increase the amount if you think there’s the least chance that he’d think you were trying to one-up him, or that he’d think you’d be disappointed by not receiving as much as you gave.

If you do decide to increase the gift, maybe say something like, “I had a good year this year, and I just want to share my good fortune.” Or, I kinda like some of the other suggestions in this thread.

My brother has worked hard and makes very nice money. He has gifted my children several times with “bonus” stuff out of the blue. I admit that initially it made me a bit uncomfortable because I know I’ll never be able to reciprocate on that level, but he quietly pulled me aside and asked me what was the point of him having lots of money if he couldn’t share it with the people he loved most? It really helped me understand how much he enjoys giving it.

My suggestion is to make it a separate occasion of giving rather than in with Christmas.

Whether you give a more expensive Christmas gift or give him more gifts throughout the year, I think the key is telling your brother you want to do it because you have more money. That you have given each other items worth the same dollar value says that a sense of equivalence is important, and if you want to unbalance the situation, tell him. Let him decide if he’s ok with it. He doesn’t have to reciprocate, but I think he at least deserves the chance to veto the idea if he’s not comfortable with it.

Agreed; if it’s tied to Christmas, it may be that he’ll feel a need to reciprocate. If it’s a gift card (or cash, or a book or whatever) sent out of the blue, there’s no need for him to try to “match” you. And I remember when I was in school – getting a card with some money in it for no reason at all would make my day.

I appreciate the replies, they helped me decide to get him the usual $50 gift card plus an extra smaller gift to go along with it. I figure that way I can stick to the $50 price tag, and still throw him something else without looking like I’m one-upping him or putting pressure on him to match it next year.

Thanks for the advice.