Holiday Gifting Etiquette

holiday giftingBuying for those on your Christmas gift list can be overwhelming.  Heck, just making a list of who to buy gifts for can make a strong person cry!

Emily Post wrote an entire chapter on giving and receiving gifts, so this month, I’ll try to lessen your gifting stress by sharing Mrs. Post’s guidelines on gifts, group gifts, wish lists, awful gits, duplicate gifts, and re-gifting.

First up, three things to consider when choosing the right gift?

  1. The recipient.
  2. The occasion.
  3. Your budget.

How well do you know the person you’re gifting?  What do you know about them?  Themed paper napkins is a great hostess gift but isn’t enough for your mom.  Find something that relates to the person–one that is tied to a hobby or an interest.  In other words, try not to make the gift seem random and more like part of the plan.  Bonus points for personalizing an item and you’ll gets lots of oohs and aahs because you’ve planned ahead (not to mention they’ll know it’s not re-gifted).

What’s the reason for the gift?  The occasion has lots to do with whether the gift should be temporary or lasting in nature and how personal it is.  A 25th wedding anniversary needs to be more “weighty” than a secret Santa gift.  Hostess gifts for Christmas parties (not necessary for cocktail parties–just dinners and open houses) should be temporary and disposable.  Think themed cocktail napkins, candy, flowers, etc.  How personal the gift should be depends entirely on how well you know the person.  Don’t get too personal (lingerie) with a co-worker.

Finally, figure out how much you can afford to spend on the gift.  We’ve all spent more than we should on gifts for others.  Before you shop, assign a dollar amount to each person on your list.  If there are suggested price ranges (secret Santa, ornament exchanges) make sure you don’t go over budget.  Spending more than required makes for an awkward gifting atmosphere and may embarrass others who spent less or stuck to the limit.

“Giving a gift is one way we can express generosity, appreciation, thanks, and love, and recognize special occasions and achievements.” Emily Post

About allthingsetiquette

Lynley Jones presents Behave! All things Etiquette, an interactive and hilarious undertaking that will help you how to navigate your world with style and confidence. All Things Etiquette is an endeavor to further society's niceties, build self-esteem, self-respect, and respect for others.
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