Re-Gifting and Other Holiday Etiquette

It can be a challenge to find that perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list.  The ideal present is one that  is given with sincerity and generosity, and reflects the taste of the person you're giving the present to rather than your own.

The most frequently asked question about gift giving is on re-gifting.  While some etiqueteers are adamantly against this in any way, shape, or form; there are some guidelines to follow that makes re-gifting a present given to you acceptable.  First, the item must be brand new and in it's original package.  Second, the person that gave you the present and the person who you are giving it to now, should not be connected in any way.  For instance, you wouldn't want to give a coffeemaker that your aunt gave you to your grandmother because when you aunt visits your grandmother she will obviously see that you gave the gift she gave you away.  Third, make sure that the gift is something that the recipient will enjoy, not just something you want to get rid of.  Only you can decide whether to re-gift, and how to do it appropriately. Think through each situation carefully: if you're in doubt, don't do it. A gaffe during the holidays isn't worth the price of a coffeemaker. You can always keep the item in storage or pass along the holiday spirit by donating it to a non-profit or shelter, where it would be used and appreciated without ambiguity.

You are not obligated to send a thank-you note to everyone whom you receive a Christmas present from.  If you have exchanged gifts with family or friends and have thanked each other personally for that gift, then you can skip the thank-you note.  Although, it is always a good idea to send thank-you notes anyway.  If you are sent a gift without seeing the person sending it, then you are obligated to send a thank-you note both to let their gift has arrived and that you liked it.  Be creative with you thank-you notes, put some though into it.  Never begin a thank-you note with, "Thank-you for...", instead, say, "I love my..." or " I appreciate you thinking of me this time of year.

A helpful tip to be prepared for the holidays is to always keep a couple of extra wrapped presents hidden away; just in case someone gives you a gift and you don't have anything to give to them.  Great "just in case" gift ideas are a couple of best selling books, gift cards, and bookmarks.

While you may be the perfect Santa for your friends and family, remember that the rules change when it comes to giving to co-workers and bosses.  Giving a gift to your boss, may easily be perceived as trying to win favor.  Many companies have policies against it.  However, a pooled gift from you and other employees is fine.  The Secret Santa system or holiday grab bags are two easy ways to handle gift giving to co-workers so there aren't any hurt feelings over anyone not getting a present.  Everyone is a professional at work and must uphold that with the gift that they give, humorous gift are okay, but handle this with caution.  When giving a gift to a client, you want to try and target their interests.  You can never go wrong with art or one-of-a-kind products.  But keep in mind the concept of perceived value.  What is perceived value in one culture is not in another.  For example, in Mexico there is an abundant of silver and the perceived value is very low, or cheap.  You may want to rethink giving a silver picture frame to your Mexican-American clients or employees.

Christmas is about giving.  The best present of all is to give a charitable donation to the charity of your choice or one that you know the recipient is involved with in that person's name.  The Autism Support Network of Owensboro will send you a gift card in whomever's name you request or they can send it directly to the recipient simply by calling 270-683-3466.