Put your hand up if you find your Christmas list getting longer and longer (…and dare I say, more costly and stressful) every year? I know I do. Suddenly, the new guy at work just made your Christmas list, and as your circle the mall for the third time you wonder, how did I get myself into this predicament???
For anyone who’s found themselves wound up like a ball of Christmas lights trying to figure out the ins and outs of holiday gifting, consider this is my present to you…the official guide to gifting etiquette!
Where do you draw the line?
So, where exactly do you draw the line on gifting? Is a gift to your third cousin, on your mother’s side expected? The pressure to give everyone a gift during the holidays can leave many people feeling overwhelmed. They key here is to make a list early on and stick to it! That way, you don’t find yourself out shopping for more people than you have committed too. If you suddenly find yourself with more people on your list than you can handle, consider making a donation ‘in lieu’ of gifts (this can always be presented in a fun and creative way!) or hosting a holiday dinner or festive get-together instead.
How much is too much? Or not enough?
Every person has their own budget and their own creative ideas. A well thought out homemade gift will always trump something more expensive but less thought out. A beautiful gift is all about making the other person feel warm, special and appreciated. I love the idea of sitting down with a cup of hot chocolate and planning out a few gift ideas before going shopping.
Which begs the question…re-gifting?
This is SUCH a touchy subject because there is both a [mostly] no but a yes answer. The general rule is that you should never re-gift a gift. It shows very little thought and god-forbid the recipient learns it was a ‘re-gift.’ No amount of time or money-savings can save you from this embarrassment. However… if you receive a gift that is really not for you (or a dupe) but, you know someone who would truly appreciate it annnndddd there are 800 degrees of separation, that would be okay. You would want to make sure that the packaging is pristine and perhaps embellish the gift with your own personal touch.
When you receive an unexpected gift!
When you find yourself in that awkward situation where someone hands you a gift and you don’t have something to reciprocate with, the best approach is to show sincere appreciation and not to draw attention to the fact that you are empty-handed. Most people give gifts for the pure joy of ‘giving’ and expect nothing in return. If you are so inclined to return the favor, sending something later is completely acceptable.
Gift come in all shapes and sizes
I always make a point to pick up a few ‘extra’ gifts when I’m shopping. Whether it’s an extra set of cocktail napkins to bring as a hostess gift, a bottle of bubby for that unexpected dinner invite or simply to have on hand should the need arise. It’s also so important to note that gifts come in all different forms and don’t need to be wrapped in ribbons and paper and bows: a nice get-together dinner at home, a coffee and scone at your local café or the ‘gift of time’ can be truly welcomed.
I can’t say enough about taking the time to properly prepare and present a gift. Dare I say it is equally important. Have you ever received a gift that was so beautiful you didn’t want to open it, I have! It’s the best feeling in the world. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to go all out with their gift-wrapping: adding fresh greenery, lavish ribbons, homemade tags the gift should always be neatly presented - this means clean tape lines, bags that are presented with lovely tissue and the to/from tag. If you have the option to add a gift receipt, include that as well.
I think writing and receiving thank-you notes, much like holidays cards is another ‘warm and fuzzy’ part of the holiday spirit. I especially love it when children take part. You always want to match the formality of the gift/gesture to the correct reply. If someone drops off a plate of cookies, a formal handwritten card may be too much, but a thoughtful email would certainly be well-received. If you are sending out thank you cards for presents, the turnaround time should fall within a week.