Gift Giving Etiquette

Keep your holiday cheer intact and overcome shopping stress by remembering that gift giving is meant to show affection and appreciation…so follow some simple tips to stay on track!

It really is the thought that counts. Careful choices selected with the specific recipient in mind will always be meaningful and appreciated.


What’s your family tradition? In some families everyone exchanges gifts, and in others names are drawn or only the children receive gifts. Follow the tradition that your family has established unless you’ve all agreed to another method. These are the people you love, so let your heart be the guide in selecting their gifts!

 Always keep in mind that the gift is not about you – it’s about the recipient – so choose something meaningful to them. Of course you should pay attention to your spending: don’t obsess about “keeping things even” and spending precisely the same amount on everybody, but be mindful that you don’t spend so much that you make the recipient feel uncomfortable, or so little that your gift seems thoughtless.


Make an agreement with your friends! You can limit the amount each spends, or decide to share a special lunch or cocktails instead of exchanging gifts. Spending time together to relax and catch up on your busy lives is often the best gift of all!

 Nothing kills the cheer of the holidays like overspending on gifts and dreading the debt heading your way in January! Decide on a manageable budget, and make a list of the people you’ll be buying for.  Think of the interests of each individual before you hit the stores.  You can always ask them for a wish-list if you need a few hints to get started!

Gifts of Appreciation

Hairdressers, kid’s teachers, service people…it’s customary to give those who help us throughout the year a gift of appreciation at Christmas. Gift cards are a welcome choice for teachers and instructors.

 For services rendered throughout the year – garbage pickup, doormen, cleaning people – it’s traditional to give a tip. You may work in an office where there’s a gift exchange, and traditionally a spending limit will apply to these types of gifts. You might join with co-workers to purchase a small token of appreciation for your boss, or choose to offer something on your own. No extravagance here, please! You don’t want this gift interpreted by anyone as an attempt to curry special favor.


We’ve all been in this awkward situation: receiving a gift from an unexpected source and having nothing to give in return. It’s handy to have a few last-minute gifts available: note cards, a bottle of wine, candy, candles or a picture frame. A few well-chosen generic gifts wrapped and ready can be a blessing in this tricky situation. If you’re not prepared, simply accept the gift graciously and with appropriate thanks to the giver.