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Gift Etiquette

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A perfect gift should show that you invested a little time and energy and that you actually cared about the feelings of the recipient. If you go the extra mile, it’s more likely that the recipient will love the gift.

Sit down and really think about the recipient. What do you have in common? Once you figure this out, you can easily zone in on an area that would be safe shopping ground.



Gift giving strengthens bonds, both at home and at the workplace. Often, bosses set up a system where gifts are given to exemplary employees. During the holidays, many companies exchange gifts or conduct Secret Santa programs. Not only do these types of activities break up the monotony of the daily grind, but they also serve keep goodwill and cheer flowing throughout the office during a hectic time.


If you want to give a gift that’ll be remembered all year long, you need to put your imagination to work. Listen to what the recipient talks about, especially if they say they need something. Occasionally, you’ll come across a recipient who seems to have everything. That’s when you can let your imagination run wild. Your goal in this case is to find something that will surprise and delight. Purchase a gift that they may not have said they wanted but which reflects their personality. You’ll show them that you always pay attention to and remember what they have to say.

new-4.jpgThe Belated Gift

Uh, oh! You forgot?!?! Now, you need to find a gift that not only shows you care, but also rewards with you with forgiveness. Personalized belated birthday gifts are always memorable, and are extra-thoughtful. Almost anything can be personalized these days with a name or initials, or even a heartfelt message. Inside jokes get big points with the recipient, too.
Apology Addition~This is an extra gift that you get to go along with the gift you were going to get the birthday boy or girl anyway. This extra gift is the “apology gift,” and it can be some small, sweet gesture that says you are sorry for being late. Apology gifts can be flowers (one or a significant number), candy (candy bouquets are cute) or you can get extra points with homemade cookies.
Clumsy but Cute~Write a poem or song, even if you are rewriting the lyrics to any song to say sorry you’re late, but you still think he’s great. Use any song, from “Happy Birthday” to his or her favorite pop song, or even a kid’s song like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” It’s the sweetness of the performance that will earn you points. Then follow up the performance with the gift you were planning on giving in the first place.
Traditional~Flowers, balloons, candy and belated birthday cards are more standard belated gifts. You’ll get extra points if you add a creative twist, though. What about putting these gifts in a basket with some paper tissue flowers? Or wrapping the balloon string around a poster or t-shirt?

Make-Up Outing~Offer to make it up to him or her with tickets to a movie, sporting event, theater or reservations for dinner tucked inside a belated birthday wishes card. This makes the message that you’re sorry for being late much nicer and gives you both something to look forward to. Choose one of these, and all will be forgiven.

new-5.jpgThe Hostess Gift

Knowing hostess gift giving etiquette can help you bring an appropriate present the next time you are invited to a dinner, party or open house. You have plenty of choices, and whimsical and creative gifts are welcome.

Making the Unimaginative Creative
Many times, guests bring a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. These are unimaginative in themselves, but you can make them more special with a little creativity. Bring the bottle of wine in a special sleeve made to keep wine chilled, or attach a fancy bottle opener with a ribbon. Instead of chocolates, bring an assortment of gourmet cookies ina fancy bowl or try. Then, the hostess can keep something to enjoy after the food and drinks are consumed.

Homey Gifts
Gifts for hostesses are similar to housewarming gifts. Think about gadgets for the kitchen. These could include cooking ingredients or handy utensils. For instance, a ig bottle of flavored oil or vinegar from a gourmet cooking store, or a selection of unusual spices in a little basket would be appreciated by a good cook. Fancy serving utensils are also great hostess gifts. For example, a beautiful trivet or salad tongs are always useful.

Anything that makes a dinner party more special is also a great hostess gift. How about a set of fancy coasters cute wineglass rings, napkin holders or a mixed drink recipe book? Scented, shaped or fancy candles or candlesticks are also lovely gifts for a hostess.

Home-enhancing gifts like a small set of hand towels or gourmet soaps are also appreciated and thoughtful.
If you are bringing flowers, bring them in a vase. Then, the hostess won’t be distracted by looking for a vase, and she can use the vase later.

Tips To Remember Hostess thank you gifts don’t have to be expensive or big. You are just making a token thank you gesture for the time and effort made by the hostess to include you. The most important part is to be gracious and make sure the hostess feels appreciated.

Gifts of Sympathy

Following proper sympathy gift etiquette is important after a friend or relative has lost a loved one. However, it can be hard to find a gift that accurately expresses your feelings during a tough time. Are sympathy flowers enough? Are sympathy plants appropriate? These guidelines about sympathy gift etiquette can help you choose a thoughtful gift that will be appreciated.

Religious Traditions Some religions do not find flowers appropriate as a sympathy gift. Flowers die, and then the mourner has to throw them out, which can be emotionally painful. Instead, a plant might be better because it is alive and will continue on with gentle care. An especially nice idea is to get a plant that can be planted in the yard and thrive for years to come. Then you’ve sent them a reminder of life, rather than loss. Also, some people request a donation to a charitable cause in lieu of flowers. Make sure you find out if the family has expressed wishes along these lines.

Keepsake Gifts If you have no guidelines regarding a sympathy gift, you could give a gift of a picture frame or photo album that could hold photo memories of the loved one who passed. Another idea in this category is a keepsake box for the friend or family to put in mementos of the person’s life. Some companies will make a necklace out of a picture or other keepsake, and that might be a consideration for a gift if you were close to the person suffering the loss.

Getting Through This Time Sympathy gifts to help the loved ones get through this grieving period would include a meaningful book or some relaxing music. You could also give tea or other cozy and comforting items. This shows you care about those who are grieving and wish to support them.

Engagement, Shower & Wedding Gift Etiquettenew-2.jpg

Engagement Gifts Most of us know the protocol for giving wedding gifts. In a day of computers and online shopping, purchasing wedding gifts really couldn’t be easier. But when it comes to engagement gifts, it’s a different story. Traditionally, after an engagement, it is appropriate to send a congratulatory note to the couple, but a gift can also be a kind and thoughtful gesture.

According to the experts from WeddingChannel.com, engagement gifts should never be expected by the bride- or groom-to-be. If, however, you are very close to the bride and groom—a parent, grandparent, sibling, or member of the bridal party—you may want to consider offering a small token of congratulations to the couple. In addition, if you are invited to an engagement party for the couple, a gift would certainly be appropriate, but not required. Depending on the length of the engagement, most couples will not have gift registries yet, which means that it may be up to you to pick out the perfect gift. Some suggestions for appropriate engagement gifts are: Couples Cooking Class, Wine
Club Membership, Spa Gift Certificate, Dinner-For-Two Gift Certificate, Wedding Planning Accessories, Subscription to a Bridal Magazine, Something Old or Something Blue.

Engagement Gifts: Advice for the Bride While engagement gifts often come from friends and family members of the bride and groom, it is completely appropriate for the bride and groom to give each other gifts after their engagement. Since he just splurged and bought you a beautiful engagement ring, give him something nice to show him how much you love him. Suitable gifts could include a sterling silver monogrammed money clip, a nice watch, or even cufflinks that he can wear on the big day.

As the bride, you should never ask for gifts or give out registry information in an engagement announcement or party invitation. In addition, thank you notes should be sent immediately after receiving a gift to ensure that the giver receives the note well in advance of the wedding. And, on a passing note, if for some reason the engagement is broken (we hope not!), all gifts should be returned to the giver and certificates that have been used should be reimbursed.

An engagement is a joyful time in the lives of any couple, and should be suitably celebrated by close family and friends. If you feel inspired to give a gift, remember, engagement gifts don’t need to break the bank. It is the thought that counts, and if you give your gift from the heart, the couple will truly appreciate it.

Wedding Gift Guests are not required to bring a wedding gift to the wedding which is one of the reasons you should never make mention of gifts with your wedding invitation. However, social etiquette indicates that if you are invited to a wedding you should send a gift to the couple whether or not you plan to attend. If possible, send your gift to the couple before or after the wedding rather than bringing it to the ceremony or reception because it can be difficult for family members to transport all of the gifts after the event. In addition, gifts and cards can get lost or stolen at weddings.

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