11 Money-Etiquette Issues, Solved
Contributing to Group Gifts
Problem: Some of the other parents want to get an expensive group gift for the class's teacher, and it's more than you want to spend.
Speak up or pay up?
Solution: If one of the moms or dads in your child's class has already purchased the lavish gift and is announcing what each family owes, you can "thank the person for making such a nice choice but tell her, 'We already had another gift in mind, so we won't be able to contribute,'" suggests Robyn Spizman, author of The Giftionary: An A-Z Reference Guide for Solving Your Gift-Giving Dilemmas...
Forever! ($14, amazon.com). "Then go buy something in your own price range." The other option: If the present is still being decided upon and you'd like to make the case for something more modest, send a friendly group e-mail to all the parents. Make a specific suggestion, such as a gift certificate to the teacher's favorite coffee shop, with a suggested per-person contribution. If they all agree, offer to pick up the gift yourself.
Far from boring, this go-to neutral can take any room to new stylish heights.