Holiday Gift-Giving Etiquette

Holiday Gift-giving Etiquette

Follow these gift-giving rules this season and keep everyone happy.


Remember It’s Not about You
Every husband should ask himself, "Does my wife truly desire hockey tickets and a power mower? Does she really?" The holidays are not a time to be self-serving. Give your significant other something he or she wants, and the rest will follow, especially if you drop a lot of unsubtle hints.

Food is Love … Unless it Makes You Sick
Santa divides the world into naughty and nice. But if you’re going to give an edible gift, you have to remember who’s gluten-free, who’s lactose intolerant, who’s vegan and who’s dieting. Too bad, you may have to keep that chocolate-covered bacon cheesecake for yourself.

Keep a Stash
You know what’s awkward? When a friend surprises you with a holiday gift and you have nothing to give in return. You know what’s more awkward? Blurting out, “Oh, I’ll have your gift tomorrow!” making it crystal clear that you were caught empty handed. Avoid this holiday snafu by hoarding a secret stash of gender-neutral gifts you can whip out at a moment’s notice, like candles, picture frames or movie passes.

Make the Thought Count
Sure, nobody hates gift cards, but they’re impersonal and unimaginative. (Yeah, we said it.) Use gift cards when you don’t know someone well, or when the recipient wants to do her own shopping (like a newlywed who needs home furnishings, or a teacher who foots the bill for school supplies). Otherwise, the best way to make someone feel special is by hunting down that vintage/rare/purple/one-of-kind thingamajig you know she'll adore.

Re-gift at Your Own Peril
You’re eager to unload the vase collecting dust in your cabinet, but it’s been sitting there so long...are you sure you remember who gave it to you? If you’re going to re-gift, be absolutely certain you’re not returning something to its original buyer (or her BFF). Save the re-gifts for white elephant parties where awkward moments are the goal.

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Say Yes to Gift Receipts
You’ve found the perfect present for your brother-in-law - why on earth would you need to include a gift receipt? Because, if the gift is that perfect, there’s a good chance he’ll get two of them this year. Providing a gift receipt means never having to find out if your gift got returned - unless you have the misfortune of bumping into each other December 26th at the mall.

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