You would think that giving and receiving gifts is a pretty simple and harmless task, but believe me, it actually takes more than just handing the gift over and saying “thank you” when you receive one, especially if it’s to or from someone that you’re not particularly close to. And as it is Christmas Eve and there will be plenty of gift exchanging today and tomorrow, I have taken the liberty of listing some pointers on gift giving, and receiving, etiquette.
1. Wrap your gifts properly and nicely.
I understand that not all of us are talented like our mothers who seem to have these magical gift wrapping powers and always make presents look like they belong in some decorative store display, but do at least put some effort into making your gift look presentable. If it looks sloppy or like it was done last minute, you may insult the one receiving the gift. They might think that you didn’t put much time or thought into their gift. Even if they’re your best friend for life and they know that you’re not terribly crafty, it’s still nice to receive a well-wrapped present.
2. Do NOT re-gift…unless the situation calls for it.
Okay, I will admit this rule can be taken loosely. If you happened to really busy and couldn’t get to the store on time to get a hostess gift, or you happened to forget one coworker or acquaintance for your gift exchange, it’s okay to wrap up something you’ve had sitting in the back of your storage closet. But that’s only if it’s unopened and completely free of dents/tears/etc., and if it’ll be an appropriate gift for whatever you are wrapping it for. But definitely do not, under any circumstance, re-gift something to your close friend. Because they probably saw it before and will know you re-gifted it to them. Plus, that’s just tacky and thoughtless. However, it’s sort of okay to re-gift it if you know your friend has been enviously eying that item, and you’re close enough to them that they won’t mind the thought of you re-gifting it. But just in case, slip in another small gift with it too.
3. Do put thought into your gift, but do not overspend on it.
I know that it’s very easy to ignore prices during the holiday season because you don’t want to feel cheap when giving gifts, but it’s okay to give yourself a budget. It is not required for you to spend a lot of money on a gift. As long as you put thought into it and you know it’s something your friend will appreciate, it’s okay if the price tag isn’t absurdly high. And especially don’t shell out a lot of money on a gift for a not-so-close acquaintance. Again, I know you don’t want to feel cheap, but in all honestly, if they are not particularly close to you, you are not obligated to spend money you don’t have on them. A simple, inexpensive gift basket or a chocolate variety box should be just fine.
4. Always smile and thank someone for the gift and never show your disappointment.
So you received a gift that you don’t particularly like or it’s something you totally abhor and you’re already regretting the fabulous gift you picked out for them in exchange. If you receive a bad gift, just smile and thank them anyway and do not let the disappointment show. Often, that bad gift was a result of you not being clear enough in what you wanted (i.e. “What do you want for Christmas?” “Oh, nothing really, anything’s fine.”). If you’ve got your eye on something in particular and it’s not terribly difficult for that person to get for you, it’s okay to mention it. Even if they’re not able to get it in the end, it will give them an idea of what you like so the gift picking process will be easier for them.
5. This rule is especially for guys: NEVER GET YOUR GIRLFRIEND ANY BEAUTY PRODUCTS.
Unless you’re 100% sure that it is EXACTLY what they want and they definitely would not mind receiving it, it is a definite no-no to give your girlfriend any beauty products. Giving them a beauty product seems to imply that you don’t like them the way they are and that they need to fix themselves up with what you purchased for them. No girlfriend ever wants their boyfriend to say that about them. So if you’re a guy and you’re totally lost as to what to get your girlfriend, a gift card to her favorite store is a safe alternative. She’ll love the extra spending money (especially with the after-Christmas sales coming up) and it shows that you pay attention to what she likes, which a brownie point for you.
Just keep all these in mind, and the holidays and worries about gifts should be just fine. Happy holidays everyone!
Photo courtesy of asenat29 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).