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Gift Giving and Receiving Etiquette

    Are you ready for the holiday shopping season? The holidays bring with them comfort, joy, and a lot of stress. Although Christmas is a joyous day, you have to spend the weeks before shopping around for the right gift. I like to ensure that I get the best gift for everyone.

    If you are like me, you know how stressful that can be. You have to spend money and browse hundreds of stores online and locality to find these gifts. In most cases, it always works out for the best. After finding the gifts, you now have to navigate through the gift giving and receiving etiquette. It can often feel burdensome as you walk on eggshells to try and get everything right.

    Part of the gifting process is where you decide who exactly ought to get a gift from you. On the surface, it may seem quite natural. However, after you step outside your immediate family, it turns into a nightmare. Should you get gifts for all your friends or just the ones you have known for years? Should you get big gifts for some or small ones for everyone?
    Here are some basic tips on how you can get through the quagmire that is gift giving around the holidays.

    Ask If You Have To

    These questions plague everyone just before Christmas. They are easy to answer for friends with whom you have exchanged gifts for years. What about new friends, will you get them gifts?

    There lies the conundrum. If you get your new friends gifts and they do not get you one, you will feel bad. Your friend will feel guilty that he or she did not get you anything. Sometimes, the most natural solution to this problem is to ask. However, this presents a new problem. It implies that you are selfish and you will only buy gifts for those who purchase gifts for you. However, it is still better to ask, especially for people you have not been friends with you for too long.

    Take Time and Find the Right Gift

    Once you decide who to give gifts to, you have to find the right gift. I happen to be good at finding the right gifts. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to find the right gift for everyone, and it is not always perfect. However, I like to think that I was thoughtful in finding the gift and it shows that I genuinely care about that person.

    To get the right gift, just examine the kind of stuff they have in their house. Take time and reflect on all the things they have told you they like over the years. Maybe even do a bit of stalking on social media.

    All that you need to do to give a great gift is some dedication and creativity. A good example would be, if you know your brother loves Star Wars and coffee, then you need to get him a coffee mug shaped like a Storm Trooper’s helmet or Star Wars playing cards. It might not be expensive, but at least it shows you know a bit about him.

    That is why I find it mind blowing when people just give a gift card or cash or some generic gift for Christmas. However, I am okay with giving gift cards if you give them for something special like a clothes store, where you know they love a specific brand. It is especially practical since picking real clothes can be a significant challenge.
    Additionally, you can give a gift card as part of the gift. If a gift card is the only gift, it is not okay. However, older people who have no idea what young people want can get away with it. Besides, you have to know something about someone if you are thinking of gifting him or her.

    Do Not Leave the Price Tag On

    Do not leave the price tag in place as it sends a negative message that you value price over anything else. It is the worst way to give a gift. It makes the other person feel guilty, especially if they did not get you such an expensive gift.
    If necessary, you can send the gift with the receipt. That is, if the person did not like your gift, they could get something different from the store. It is especially appropriate when purchasing gifts like shoes. Sometimes, you may get the shoe size or color wrong.

    Ensure You Get the Presentation and Wrapping Right

    Ensure the wrapping is simple but elegant. The best way to present a gift is to avoid bright, bold colors and patterns. You should also avoid substantial fancy ribbons on the packaging. Instead, use stately solid colors, high-quality paper, and a simple ribbon.

    The presentation is also outstanding. When presenting the gift, ensure you have the person’s full attention. Hold the gift in both hands and present it to them. This ritual shows the utmost care and respect. It also pays if you have a smile on your face when you give it. If you are sending the gift by mail, always ensure that there is a personal note included.

    Be Sensitive About Culture And Corporate Logos

    We live in a society of diverse cultures where some things may be quite offensive to some people. Before gifting someone, learn about his or her religious, ethnic, and cultural background. Additionally, determine the person’s likes and dislikes based on that.

    Understand what may be considered appropriate in some cultures and what is not before giving the gift. For instance, giving expensive wine to some people may be regarded as offensive. It may be because their religion or culture does not allow them to take wine.

    Another example is giving a gift to an Indian female friend. When a man gives a gift to a female, he must say that the present came from him and a female relative. Otherwise, it may create tension in the room and ruin the entire evening. You would never know about this unless you did some serious research.

    You also need to think about corporate logos. In some cases, sending a gift that has a corporate log makes it look cheap. An excellent gift to give is one that does not have any promotional material on it. Logos are only appropriate for small tokens.

    Avoid Giving alcohol

    Even without any cultural considerations, alcohol is a bad gift. It used to be quite common in the past that a friend would buy you an expensive bottle of liquor. In the modern setting, it just seems inappropriate and should be avoided. With more people becoming aware of alcoholism and its detrimental effects, alcohol giving is not okay.

    Be Appreciative

    Be appreciative. I am not talking about sending a simple email or a thank you note. Although phone calls, emails and thank you notes are essential; they are not enough. I understand that the present you get is probably not what you have wanted all of your life. However, you have to appreciate that the giver spent long hours trying to find you that gift.

    If you do not get what you expected, you do not have to jump up and down to show appreciation. However, you can still show some appreciation instead of making the giver feel like they did something wrong. It is vital to remember that the person who gave you the gift was not obliged to do it.

    Some people think that not only are they entitled to get a gift but are also entitled to get the gift they want. If you think you should get what you need, maybe you should not rely on the present and go out and get it yourself.

    Get the Thank You Card Right

    Thank you cards are an essential part of gift giving etiquette. However, you need to make sure you get them right. Instead of just sending an email or text, a thank you card shows you put some effort into it.

    If you get a gift card, ensure that you tell the giver how you spent the money. This move gives them an idea of what to get you in the future. You can also describe how the gift you receive helped you. For instance, if they buy you a new phone, tell them how much fun you had taking pictures with it.

    The important part about the thank you note is that you have to be specific. There is no deadline as to how soon you can send the card. However, the sooner you can do it, the better.

    Know Whether You Should Open the Gift Right Away

    In American culture, it is the norm to open the gift as soon as you receive it. Do not merely tear away at the wrapping if you choose to open the presents right away. Sometimes, there may be a personal note under the wrapping that could fall off.

    In some cultures, the norm is to keep the gift and open it later when you are alone. If you are in another country or celebrating with friends of a different culture, you may have to wait. Ensure that you understand the etiquette of opening gifts before you attend the party. That way, you do not offend anyone.

    If you are receiving gifts from a person of Asian descent, the norm is to keep the present and open it later. Do this, especially if they invited you to their place to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday.

    Always Open the Card First

    When you get the gift, unwrap it slowly and open the card. It shows you are more interested in the sentiment rather than just the present. Be sure that you read the card to yourself. The message was meant for you and not everyone in the room.
    Reading it aloud could cause the person to blush or feel uncomfortable about writing such a personal message. When opening gifts from many people, ensure that you announce who the giver is. After reading the note, look at the person with a smile and say thank you.


    It is time to begin preparing for gift giving as the holidays are upon us. Please study this essential gift-giving guide and see if you can make the holidays magical and joyous for everyone. However, you must remember it is not the gift that counts but the thought behind it. Take time and put some real effort into the gifts you give.


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