Buy something cheap and cheerful, go cheeky if you're brave enough, don't go over the budget and don't reveal who you've got.
But one mum has broken all the rules by not only investigating who got her Christmas gift, but also Googling the cost – and then demanding another present.
In the bizarre message chain, which was sent on Saturday and then shared on Reddit, the woman even brazenly asks for a £95 ($120) Samsung TABLET to make up for the 'stinginess' of the original gift.
The middle-aged, American mum started by thanking her colleague for his gift, which was chocolates and a "super comfortable" blanket.
But she then changed her tune, cheekily saying: "I know this is kinda awkward..but the spending limit was $50 (£40) and I looked online and it seems that the blanket and chocolates only add up to about $40 (£24).
"do you think it's possible you could get me something else? My kids have been spending me up the wazoo! LOL".
Her colleague kindly offered to give her the £16 difference to make up for it, adding: "That way you could get yourself and your kids something nice for the holidays!"
But the mum wasn't done with her cheeky demands yet, asking for a £95 Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
"You think it's possible you could get me this?" she asked. "my kids would love it, thanks!"
Her colleague said it was "a bit over the spending limit", but the mum wasn't bothered.
She quipped back: "I know..It's just that my kids have been spending me up the wazoo! and it would make their day if mommy gave them something nice like this! thanks i appreciate it.
"And. i don't mean to be abrasive or anything, but you're an engineer so you make quite a bit more than I do! LOL.
"I'd also just take $120 (£95) cash if that makes it easier on you!"
The engineer unsurprisingly refused and said he would only give her £16 cash or something worth £16, adding that £95 "for a co-worker is a bit out of my budget".
But the mum was outraged, replying: "yout kidding me right? you don't even have kids…what else would you spend your money on?"
Just three minutes later, she added: "Now you're gonna ignore me..REALY nice of you! During the holidays!
"Honestly don't know how you live with yourself. disgusting!"
Just two minutes later, she then said she'd take the £16 cash, but her colleague wasn't prepared to give her anything anymore.
He wrote: "Lol forget it. thanks for the karma."
The post, which is titled "Honestly didn't believe people like this actually existed", has racked up 2,700 comments – and people are horrified.
One person wrote: "She already crossed the line looking up how much the gifts cost. that would have been the end of the convo for me".
While a second said: "Yeah op (original poster) went above and beyond by offering to make up the difference imo (in my opinion). $50 limit NOT minimum wtf".
And a third added: "Am I the only one curious about how much she likely 'undercut' the spending limit for her gift?"
If you're after a last minute Secret Santa present, you can get your stocking fillers cheap with these top tips.
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