The 5 Etiquette Rules of Gift Giving
It may come as a shock to you that there is an etiquette to gift giving!
Without knowing the rules of treating someone to an incredible gift, you could be the culprit of the gift giving "don'ts". However, there's no need to panic. After all, can gift giving ever be a bad thing? Absolutely not - but you can always make sure that your etiquette is on point when handing over that pretty package wrapped up with a gorgeous bow on top.
Understanding these gift giving, unwritten rules will take the stress out of the occasion.
Give For The Sake of Giving
The majority of gift giving situations will involve both the "giver" and "givee" exchanging gifts at some point even if the timing is different. However, this should never be an expectation. The biggest rule to gift giving is that you should be giving without any expectations of receiving something back. Mind you, it is okay to expect appreciation for the gift that you gave to that lucky someone.
However, you should bear in mind that some people do find it uncomfortable to receive a gift whilst not being able to give one back in return. If this speaks to you, try to keep some generic, unisex gifts such as candles, notebooks and perhaps a Keyring Fob or picture frame, on hand for these kind of situations. But remember, a smile, a thank you and a hug can go a long way as well. That's one of the biggest rules of gift giving - always show ample appreciation. And remember, it is the most wonderful feeling to be the bearer of gifts so don't spoil the experience for the giver!
Some people do feel that the gifts given and received should be of equal monetary value. However, this can not only be an unrealistic expectation, but sometimes a rude one as well. We all have different budgets and principles and not everyone is firstly, able to afford the same amount and secondly, may not in any case be prepared to spend over a certain amount on gifts. The value of a gift, of course, really has nothing to do with the price point. The time, thought and energy given to choosing the right gift has a value far beyond its monetary price. As a rule of thumb though, always aim to purchase gifts within both your budget and your comfort zone.
Finally don't forget that a gift is not always something bought - it may also be something made with love, a special treat or a service you offer or provide.
With many countries in the world being vastly multicultural, it is imperative to always consider cross cultural sensitivities. You perhaps should spend a little time doing a bit of research when purchasing gifts for someone who has cultural differences from you, just to be on the safe side.
Equally, it's helpful to sharpen up on the "gift giving" norms for that culture. For example, did you know that whilst it is the norm for many people to unwrap a gift publicly, some believe the etiquette is to wait for a more private moment. Additionally, in many countries, gifts of scissors or knives is an absolute "no, no" as they signify the break-up of a relationship. Did you know that in China, you should never give money as a gift and gifts are best given in pairs? Or that in Japan, the correct etiquette is to present/receive gifts with both hands and before accepting a gift it is polite to refuse at least once or twice before accepting?
A Token of Appreciation
Sometimes gift giving has nothing to do with holidays or a special occasion and can be as simple as someone inviting you into their home for a nice dinner. It is always recommended (and very good etiquette) to bring a token of your appreciation for the host. This could be as simple as a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine or some other gifts that aren't overly personal but should definitely show how grateful you are for their invitation. However, always check the cross cultural rules when you are away from home as, for example, in France a bottle of wine is not an acceptable gift for a the Hostess of a dinner party but in Sweden, it is considered as highly appropriate!
Unwrapping at the Workplace
Workplace gift giving can be difficult - especially if you're aiming for that big promotion next month. Corporate gifts that have a company logo plastered on them can appear tacky and are usually only acceptable when the top gun of the company hands them out....Your cubicle neighbour probably has enough company pens to last them a lifetime. If you're only giving a gift to your best friend in the office, it may be best to hold off until you're out of the office. However, small gestures like little holiday treat bags or Ted Baker notepads can be perfect for gifting for everyone in the workplace.
The biggest thing to know about gift giving is that it is an expression of the person's affection for you - or vice versa. Always receive the gift graciously, and never have unrealistic expectations of others. If you're ready to start scratching those names off your shopping list, head on over to the Label Lush's collection of gift ideas and accessories and sign up to our Newsletter so that you won't ever miss out on a deal!