Gift Giving Etiquette

Every year all of us have the occasion to give someone a gift. By the very definition of the word, it’s not something that’s mandatory but a token of your affection for a person, appreciation of an occasion and is something you do from your heart. Never go into debt to keep up appearances because it’s not about what you spend but that you care. Cost should never been an excuse for not giving a gift at all. Even a small gift is better than none. Another alternative is pool your resources with another guest and combine your funds to buy a larger gift. But one rule of thumb of gift giving to remember is: “no go, no gift”. If you don’t attend a particular function you are not obligated to send a gift.

Re-gifting. Rather than to store or discard gifts that you can never use, spread the sunshine by giving them to someone who can enjoy and appreciate them. Once a gift is given to you, it belongs to you, it is yours to do with as you please. Caution: do not give the gift to someone even remotely connected to the person who originally gave it to you.

Giving cash. Cash is the usual ‘go to’ when you just can’t think of anything else. It’s a safe bet for teenagers who have very definite tastes and would like to do their own shopping and the elderly who may need the extra spending cash. It’s generally not appropriate to ask for cash as a gift for yourself. A way to make it seem more appealing to the gift giver is to specify that the cash will be used for a specific purpose. Saving to replace an old car, school tuition or a donation to your favorite charity. When the goal has been met then send a thank you note to anyone who contributed and they’ll have the good feeling of knowing they helped accomplish something real and meaningful.

Wedding gift registries. If the bride and groom are specific about wanting gifts from a particular store and from a set list of gifts try to stick to that list. If the items on that list are out of your price range, get a gift certificate from that store in an amount that you can afford and include a note saying that you hope they can use it towards the purchase of something they may not receive as a gift.

Gift cards. Back in the day it seemed impersonal and lazy to give someone a gift card. Today, gift cards are available for a never ending variety of items in-store and online. A generic gift card from a major credit card company is less personal than one chosen from a store that could provide something that the recipient would enjoy. Give it some practical thought. If giving a gift card to a specific store, consider their price points. Don’t give a $10 card for a store where they won’t be able to buy anything without adding their own funds to buy something.

Anniversary. Any anniversary is cause for celebration not matter the year. There are common gifts to give on certain years, but unless the invitation specifies ‘no gifts please’ you should bring a gift along for the couple. Many invitations will request that you do not bring gifts with a phrase like “warm greetings only” or “your presence is their present.”

Baby showers and Bridal showers. Baby showers are generally given before the baby is born to ‘shower’ the baby with necessities. Moms-to-be usually register at particular stores and it is highly suggested that you stick to what Mom requests on her registry. She knows what she needs and wants. The same holds true for a bridal shower. If the invitation specifies a particular theme, then the gift should be purchased within that theme because it follows the wishes and needs of the bride.

Retirement. Retirement parties can be given by employers or family members. Gifts can range from items that add to a hobby collection, a watch, gag gifts or travel gift certificates.

Flowers, flowers, flowers….it used to be more common than it is now, but the gift of flowers is a good old standby.

Just remember, gift giving is a way to show the celebrant of any occasion that you care for them. Don’t break the bank and give them what they want or ask for. Large or small the gift you give should be a cause for joy for both of you. You’ve given them something that shows your regard and they in turn know that you cared enough to give it.

Tagged with: , , ,