You might not think that something as simple as giving or receiving a gift could create a complex scenario, but at this time of year, the tradition of gift giving can be a little tricky. In the same way that most of us would rather not spend our hard-earned bonus on presents which go unused, we also don’t want to be thoughtless or even offensive when presenting the gesture of a gift.
If handled with etiquette and courtesy, the act of giving and receiving Christmas gifts need not be awkward, but it can be a joyous experience for all. Here are a few pointers to ensure that you don’t step on anyone’s toes this Christmas.
1. Which family members should you buy presents for?
If you will be spending the holidays with your parents in law, then it is perfectly acceptable for gift giving to be limited to your mother and father in law.
2. With so many holiday functions to attend to this year, do I really need to buy a present for every event?
If your visit will be a short one then it is not necessary to bring a gift. However, when it comes to hostess gifts, if someone cooks you a meal, then a gift would be appropriate. Should this be the case, then an ornament, centrepiece or a good bottle of wine would make an ideal hostess gift.
3. When should I include a gift receipt with my gift?
You should always include the receipt, no matter who the gift is for. Should they need a different size, or if they already had one like it, then it would be poor etiquette to make the exchange difficult for them. There is a chance that they may end up requesting it from you, in which case you end up with a situation which is awkward for everyone involved. By including the receipt, you can avoid this.
4. What about my colleagues?
It is totally appropriate for you to show your appreciation to the colleagues who you work with closely, or who assist in helping your day run smoother, by getting them a food-related treat.
5. I have a friend who is always buying me expensive gifts for Christmas. Am I obliged to reciprocate?
To be quite frank, you are not. Gift giving is not supposed to be a competition. The true spirit of giving is the thought behind the gift and in your appreciation thereof. Reciprocate in spirit as best you can but resist the urge to break your budget out of pride.