I must start by saying that giving a Christmas present should not be based on receiving one in return, least of all one of equal value.
Having said that there are limits. My wife always spends a lot of time, effort and money choosing gifts for her friends and their families.
This year, she gave one friend a present, one for her husband and one each for their two children.
In return she received three cheap pairs of socks and an empty glass/bottle and nothing for her husband (me) or two children.
Another friend received a gift, one for her husband and one each for her three children.
In return my wife received a small box of chocolates and a strange hair-care product, the sort that would be a personal purchase, ie., a heat styling agent for dry or very dry hair – my wife does not have dry or very dry hair.
Another friend sent two gifts for our teenage boys. One received some shower gel and eau de toilette for men.
The other, our 16-year-old, received perfume for women. Not only that, the box had been opened.
It was very dog-eared and looked like a return. No thought whatsoever.
I would rather no present at all than one that says, ‘I don’t care about you’. After all isn’t it ‘the thought that counts’?