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Make Your Presents Known: Basic Etiquette For Giving And Receiving Gifts

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Gift giving is an art form in itself. Gifts can make or break a friendship or relationship. It sounds extreme, but it’s true. All sorts of arguments stem from late gifts, forgotten gifts or inappropriate gifts. Why? Because gift giving is a reflection of how you feel about the person. It shows the depth of your relationship and your perception or understanding of his or her personality. Thoughtless gifts show a flippant and uncaring attitude to someone. Whereas a well thought out, beautiful gifts make you feel well loved, appreciated and wanted. There are general rules of etiquette when it comes to offering a gift. So, here’s a quick guide to the do’s and don't when it comes to passing the parcel.


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Choosing A Gift

Remember The Aim Of The Game
It’s accepted that you shouldn’t give purely to receive. In fact, there are a tonne of quotes about the matter. Check them out at http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/giving-and-receiving. Of course, some of us will always consider things that way. But when giving a gift, your main aim should be to delight the recipient. Remember that present giving isn’t a competition. You should search for something that the receiver will adore. Not merely something more expensive than everyone else is going to get. Never try to one-up someone’s gift either. If you know that someone has already purchased something, don’t get a newer, updated version of the gift. This would be spiteful and will leave the recipient with a wasted gift.

Consider The Recipient
Who are you buying a gift for? How well do you know one another? What kind of relationship do you have? If you know the person, find something relevant to them. If you are giving a thank you gift to a lecturer, doctor or veterinary surgeon, keep it professional like your relationship. Personal gifts may be too intimate. If you are getting something for your partner or a very close friend, the standard box of chocolates will seem thoughtless and lazy. Avoid selfish gifts. Don’t buy a loved one something because you want it and know you will have easy access to it.

If you don’t know the person very well, there are certain gifts that are always generally considered acceptable. For example, the classic bottle of wine for a dinner party or flowers and a balloon to celebrate a newborn baby. Try to do a little research beforehand. Some gifts can show how little you know the person you’re giving it to. For example, giving a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic might not be the best idea. Be considerate and uncontroversial in your purchases.

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Consider The Occasion
Gifts are given for all sorts of reasons. They are a time old way of showing affection or gratitude.
They are also offered to mark rites of passage. For example, births, marriages and age milestones. Consider the occasion when giving a gift. Certain occasions are deemed more important than others and the present you choose should reflect this. For example, all birthdays are celebrated, but ages such as 18, 21, 50 and 100 are deemed extra special.

Keep Tabs On What You Give
Try to remember what you give to people. You don’t want to give someone the same present two years running. If you have a poor memory, take note (quite literally). Refer to your list when deciding what to buy people.

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Wrapping A Gift
How you wrap a gift says a lot. Wrapping takes time and effort. An unwrapped gift suggests that you’ve walked to the shops, chosen something and presented it to the person. This means one of two things, neither particularly positive. Either the buyer completely forgot to get a gift and ran out last minute to find the first thing they could lay their hands on before meeting you. This suggests that they don’t care about the receiver and are only giving a gift because it is what is expected of them. Or, alternatively, they purchased a gift in good time and then just couldn’t be bothered to take the time to wrap it prettily.

You probably know from experience; the perceived value of a gift skyrockets when it’s presented to you in a box with bows and ribbons. The addition of a little ribbon or a bow makes an awfully big difference. It makes a show of the gift giving. It makes it clear that you are celebrating something. It adds suspense when you peel back layers of tissue paper to see the surprise inside. So, how do you make your gift look like a professional prepared it? Well, there are a few options.

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Boxes
Boxes are the classic way to present a gift. They come in all shapes and sizes, so can accommodate pretty much anything. There are two options. You can purchase boxes with removable lids. They often have silk lined padding inside. This is great for fragile gifts, such as glasses or mugs. Another option is a plain box. Make sure that it is securely sealed. Then you can wrap as you please with beautiful wrapping papers. For an extra special touch, add ribbons or a bow.

Cloth Bags
Cloth bags are great for toiletries that are bought loose. For example, bath bombs, soaps or blocks of henna hair dye. They prevent debris from the products from crumbling away and causing a mess. It’s also a better way to present the gift than a random assortment of nice smelling goods.

Gift Tags
Don’t forget to place a gift tag on your gift. This can have a sentimental message written on it, followed by your name. These are essential on occasions when someone might be opening multiple presents. It makes sure the receiver is sure who the gift is coming from.

Presenting A Gift
So, you’ve spent time choosing and wrapping your gift carefully. The time has come to finally hand it over. So how do you go about this?

Cultural Customs

Births
Usually, guests can visit a newborn baby during visiting hours in the maternity ward of the hospital. You can greet the parents with your gifts, balloons or cards and coo over the new little bundle of joy while gifts are opened.

Weddings
Often, the bride and groom will be too busy to open presents there and then on the day. There will often be a designated place to leave presents or cards. The newly weds will collect them at the end of the day.

Birthdays
Arrange to see the individual on the day or around the date if they are busy. Present your gifts over lunch, dinner, drinks or even a casual cup of tea.

Receiving A Gift
There are just as many unspoken rules when it comes to receiving gifts. If not more. The manner in which you receive a gift, like giving one, can completely alter your relationship with someone and their perception of you.

Say Thank You
It sounds obvious, but say thank you. Many people will forget to do this, especially if the gift has been posted, passed on by someone, or is opened when the person isn’t there. If you are unable to open the gift with the person who has sent it, make sure that you send them a written thank you. Nowadays, this is easier than ever. Write them a letter and post it, message them on social media or call them up to thank them personally. With social media showing off so many aspects of our lives, it is now common to publicly thank people for thoughtful acts. Upload a picture of your gift, comment on the beautiful wrapping and express your gratitude.

Display Excitement
If you love the gift, then this will be easy and come naturally to you. If you don’t like the gift, fake it. There is little more hurtful than realizing that your gift is completely unappreciated. So, if you open a gift and the giver is watching with anticipation, feign a smile, excitement, and pleasure. Disappointment or sheer indifference shouldn’t be detectable under any circumstances.

Unwanted Gifts
It’s inevitable: there will be some gifts that you don’t like or see no use for. Someone is bound to miss the mark somewhere along the way. So what do you do with unwanted gifts? Well, there are a few options.

Gift Cards
Sometimes people just don’t know what to get you, so will purchase a gift card with loaded credit. This is great if it’s for a store that you frequent. However, maybe you don’t have pets and have received a gift card for a boutique that sells clothes for miniature dogs. Maybe you have a gift card for a luxury chocolatier’s store, and you’re dieting. What do you do then? Well, to save them from going to waste, you can trade them in for cash. For more information on this option, check out http://www.cards2cash.com/.

Clothing
If you have received an item that you like but is the wrong size, then ask the buyer if they have a gift receipt for you to exchange the item. This isn’t rude. Most people will request a gift receipt for this very purpose. If you don’t like the clothes at all, you can always sell them online through sites such as eBay, Depop, Etsy, and Vinted.

1 comment

  1. this is some great stuff! im always unsure about "etiquette"

    ReplyDelete