Do you spend a lot of effort on picking out the perfect gift, or do you tend to try give "standard" gifts (all women like chocolate right??) or do you try to avoid the whole thing altogether?
If I can, I give something I've created myself. From a piece of woodwork to a poem or song, from a badly drawn but perfectly worded cartoon in a frame that makes them laugh every time they look at it for years, I'd rather do anything like this than simply buy something. Anyone can buy something.
What price range do you tend to shop in? Does this change with how "close" a person is to you?
If I absolutely have to buy something, I go around the £20 mark. Under that, and you're obviously penny pinching. Over that, and you're undermining/embarrassing others who can't afford to spend as much and possibly embarrassing the recipient, who will feel obliged to spend similar on you, come your day. If I can't afford to spend that much, I get nothing at all - just a card with a very well thought-out message that will strike them more than a gift could've.
Do you feel anxious about gift giving and what people might be expecting from your gift? Do you think that people judge you on your "gift giving ability"?
If I do think a person is like that, I don't give them a gift at all and I'm unlikely to even be at their occasion/event. So no, I don't ever feel anxious about it.
Do you feel obliged to give gifts during certain holidays? (ie: Christmas, Valentines Day, Birthdays)
No, I never feel obliged really at all. That's why when I do, people know it's sincere. The only reason I ever give a gift is because I want to.
What kind of gifts do you appreciate the most?
People's time and thoughts. I've already got everything I need; I'm not a hoarder and don't want "stuff". But if they really MUST get me something, I prefer something practical and useful, particularly if they've made it themselves or have some personal connection to its manufacture.
Do you judge a person by what kind of gifts they give you?
Usually, the kind of gift a person gives me is exactly the kind I expect from them in any case (including when they give me nothing!)... so I don't judge them by their gift as such - their gift is usually confirmation that I judged (ie. estimated/assessed) our relationship correctly in the first place.
Do you expect different things from people who have different relationships to you?
I don't really expect anything at all. From children, I don't expect or want anything, but especially not anything that costs money. I don't really do "expect", generally...
Do you get disappointed or feel guilty when in a gift exchange, there is a marked difference in price?
If I even notice it, then no. If I see that the other person notices it, I make a joke about it and shrug it off. *I* give a gift because I want to, and it's about them. If they give because they want to impress/show off, and it's about them and what they expect, then that's their look out.
Do you ever feel "caught off guard" from receiving a gift, or are you generally happy and accepting of every and all gifts?
Not sure what the "or" is doing in that sentence...? Why would being caught off guard mean you weren't happy accepting it? Are there people truly that averse to a surprise??
Any other thoughts?
As a Franciscan, I have the motto: ask for nothing; refuse nothing. If something's given to me that I don't want, accept it anyway. I can give it to someone who does want it. And if the person who gave me it expects to see it in my house and remarks on its absense when they visit, I just say "Ah, it was a nice vase (or whatever), but I didn't really have much use for it. Jean saw it and loved it, so I let her have it. I'd rather such a lovely thing was put to good use than wasted on me." Then that person, if they feel they must get me something in future, has a better chance of hitting the mark with something I'll actually want/like.
Up to the 1970's, most etiquette books focused on how to behave in certain circumstances. How to be considerate, clean, polite and dignified in your speech, dress and conduct. Modern ones focus obsessively on gift-giving and other "buy" related issues. What does that tell you about our society now?