Friday, December 18, 2009

Gift Giving Etiquette

A few thoughts on gift giving etiquette for the approaching holiday season. Remember that each gift giving situation is unique, just as individuals differ from each other. Therefore the actual gift item will be very different from one person to another. Dinner or Party Invitation: During the holiday season you will be invited to a dinner of perhaps a "get together". Bringing a small gift to show your appreciation is definitely considered proper etiquette, not to mention polite. This could include a bottle of wine or a small personal gift for the host or hostess. Always take the time to wrap a gift. If the gift is worth giving, it’s worth spending a dollar on a gift bag and some tissue paper. Wrapping a gift is part of the spirit of gift-giving. Always include a card with the gift, and actually write a note in it in your own handwriting.

Gift Giving at the Office:
If you are new to your present environment find out what has been done in the past. If there is a maximum dollar limit, stick to it. If you are buying a gift for a particular person, not a general male or female gift, find out what that person's hobbies or pastimes are. A golf-related gift is ideal for the golfer or perhaps a lighter for the smoker or Zippo lighter collector. Do not be tempted to give a gag gift. They are considered taboo for the workplace, as are very personal gifts. Unless it's your wife, do not give a woman anything that is a real personal item like a negligee, roses or perfume. It's the wrong message. Homemade items could also be viewed as being too personal in the workplace. What you choose to give and how you present your gift is always the most important part of gift giving.

Is money an appropriate gift?
Always try to avoid giving money. It's more thoughtful to give a gift certificate or gift card, but only if you take the time to consider the most appropriate store or restaurant. Pick something that will be useful for the gift recipient. If the person has a long commute each day, a gift of an Auto Emergency Kit may be most appropriate. Giving gift certificates for specialty items such as food, wine, movies or coffee do make great gifts.

Thank You Notes:
Properly thanking the person that the gift came from is also very important. "Thank You" notes are highly recommended when a gift is received, regardless of the reason for the gift. The “Thank You" note does not have to be a formal or even purchased for that matter, it is in the sentiment that is the important factor and the thank you note should always be handwritten.

by Allan Wright

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