The Busy Bean

{Christmas in July} Rules of Giftgiving


Did you know there are rules about giving and receiving gifts? Well, of course there are. And of course, the late Emily Post had something to say about it. Here is a great article about gifts for service professionals in your life.  Now, before you read this article and scan the list, just remember that there are very well-to-do people out there who use all of these services. I, for one, am not one of those people. But some of the notes here are interesting

Here are a few points I especially want to highlight:

  • If your budget does not allow for tips, consider homemade gifts; and if you’re not good with crafts or in the kitchen, remember that words are always a great way to express your thanks for a year of good service.
  • Any gift or tip should always be accompanied by a short handwritten note of appreciation. (Two or three sentences will be enough.)
  • Common sense, specific circumstances and holiday spirit should always be your guide.

(image via Good Housekeeping

(image via Good Housekeeping)

So, there are some guidelines for individuals who serve us throughout the year. What about guidelines for those other people on our list? Here’s another article from the Emily Post Institute on the subject.

Things to think about:

  1. Reciprocity. Do you give a gift just because a gift is received? This kind of thinking often leads to gifts that aren’t heartfelt. Personally, I’d prefer a nice “Thank you” over a gift with no thought behind it.
  2. Monetary value. Do you feel like you have to spend the same on everyone? What if you make (or buy) something that you know a friend will love, and make something else for another friend he or she will equally love, but it cost a lot less than the first gift? Do you rush to add to the gift, maybe diminishing the true value in the process? Remember what Ms. Post said, “holiday spirit should always be your guide.” In gift giving, it isn’t the dollar amount that is important. It is how the gift will be received.
  3. The unexpected. While you don’t have to give a gift just because someone gave you one, inevitably at some point during the season, you may realize you have forgotten someone you would like to have a gift for. Do you have a gift closet? Think of a few gifts you can have ready that will have meaning for many. Chocolate springs to mind… or maybe that’s just because I have a headache.

Okay, I think that’s enough on the rules. Any thoughts on the rules of gift giving? Or receiving?

Next up: actual gift ideas.


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