When should I start shopping? How much should I spend? How important is presentation? These are commonly asked questions that form the foundation of gift giving. Yet, the art of gift giving is far more complex; it’s a year-round endeavor, not just a holiday season topic. There are birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, even dinner parties. More importantly, there are less-frequently addressed topics that can make you a more well-rounded gifter! Today, we will tackle 4 specific topics of gift giving etiquette that will make you better on both ends of the gift giving spectrum: gifter and receiver.
The Recipient Reigns
When you’re out shopping, it’s hard not to point at various gadgets and products and exclaim, “Woah, that’s really cool!” If you’re getting yourself an early birthday present, then you’re in the right mindset. But, it’s vital in gift giving to always consider the recipient, and not even a smidgen of yourself. After all, you’re searching for a gift that he or she will enjoy, something that aligns with his or her interests. Your goal is to disregard your own personal likes, even if the end gift is something you have no interest in or perhaps you are outright opposed to. For example, you may walk by a MOVA Globe, take a quick glance, and continue onward without hesitation (yeah, right!). Your friend that you’re shopping for, though, may be an avid world traveler, and in this case, a unique rotating globe would be the perfect gift.
Often you might receive the same gift more than once. It’s bound to happen at some point, so you should be prepared. What to do next? A common resolution is to re-gift the extra item to someone else. When you re-gift an item to another, first and foremost make sure the recipient is not associated with the original gifter, otherwise the latter may feel that you didn’t appreciate the gift. Secondly, revert back to the tip above: remember the recipient. Even if this new item was not your original purchase, you’re still giving it to another and thus the gift must still fit the recipient. Lastly, ensure that the item is in good condition, as you may have opened and used it a few times before deciding on re-gifting. If it’s got some wear and tear or if you have the slightest doubt, try donating or finding a way to make use of it.
A Simple Coincidence: Double-Gifting
Your sister’s birthday is on the same day as Christmas? You might think there’s need for only one “combined gift.” Unfortunately, that thought should never cross your mind. Whether her birthday and Christmas are 1 day apart or 100 days apart, you should be buying a gift for each occasion. A helpful course of action would be to buy a birthday present, erase your memory, start over and buy a Christmas gift. Easier said than done, but ultimately double-gifting is simply a happy coincidence. The two gifts can be completely unrelated in terms of price or type. The thought behind each, however, should be equal.
Do Not Hesitate to Communicate
Communication is essential in all aspects of life, but it’s a more uncharted subject when it comes to gift giving. For most, it’s difficult if not downright daunting, to tell someone that you don’t like or have no need for the gift you received. Yet, there are several situations in which communication is the best option. If you don’t like a gift you received earlier, switch the focus for the next gift giving occasion by dropping hints about things you’ve come to like or will have a need for. This is an option if it’s too difficult to tell your gifter directly that a gift was not cared for.
How about when you unexpectedly receive small gifts as you hosted a dinner party? There may not be time right then and there to individually offer thank yous, but it does not hurt to send thank you cards later on as a sign of appreciation. It’s not mandatory, but in general thank you notes are common courtesy whether you actually like the gifts or not.
Finally, the unclear topic of asking for receipts, especially for tech-oriented items or expensive items – when is it okay to ask the gifter for a receipt, if at all? There is no right answer to this. In short, consider your relationship with the gifter and consider the reason for asking; are you simply exchanging for a different color or style? Has the item broken down but you still really like it and just need to replace it? Consider the options other than directly asking and if all else fails, be genuine and appreciative no matter what.
We hope that we have brought to your attention useful tips that will make you a better gifter. The etiquette of gift giving is not written in stone, but focusing on these less frequently talked about topics will be very useful when your next gift giving opportunity presents itself.
How do you approach gift giving? Are there any tips not here that you’d like to share? Let us know on our Facebook Page.