In the situation above, likely your natural first instinct is to ask what the expectation is – and that’s not wrong no matter who your roommates are. I think what makes everyone nervous about holiday gifting is not asking and then just waiting for the other shoe to drop. To GIFT! To…NOT GIFT!
If you haven’t already talked about gifts, I actually suggest bypassing it all together at this point in the holiday season.Instead, try to find something nice you and your roommates can do for your apartment. Do you need a new island for the kitchen? New dishes or brrr! an electric tea kettle? Pooling money is an easy, non-awkward way to get around the gift question entirely.
Depending on whether you and your roommates are at least friendly, you could also suggest that the 2-5 of you go out for a nice dinner. That way you’re still doing something special, but there’s zero-chance of awkwardness. My good friends and I have done this in the past and it’s always a pleasure. The benefit of hanging out with roommates is that you can start the party at your place and then move on to the restaurant/bar/holiday event.
Another food-friendly idea is to bake/bring home a holiday pie. Always festive AND delicious!
Finally, if you have at least 3 roommates you can do a name-in–the hat gig. Everyone picks just one person and you set a dollar amount. That way it’s a one-stop fix for all. I also love this plan because then you’re not stuck spending close to $50 on random gifts.
Whatever you decide to do, Happy Holidays from My First Apartment!