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People exchanging holiday gifts.

Unspoken Gift Etiquette to Remember This Holiday Season

Holidays are a time for expressing appreciation for others and strengthening connections, not least because it’s one of the few times we see some of the people we do. And exchanging gifts is a big part of this. There’s a joy in receiving and opening a present that doesn’t get old. It’s a special moment and you don’t want to mess it up for someone else. Who needs those awkward moments during the holidays? This is why there are unspoken rules, an etiquette for holiday gift giving and receiving that’ll help you avoid embarrassing encounters. 

Prep yourself for the holiday season ahead with these simple guidelines:

Make a List

One of the best ways to prevent the usual last-minute scramble to buy gifts is to put everything down on a list ahead of time. This ensures no one gets left out, especially if you’ve got a large social circle. It’s also a great way to manage your budget and know that you’re spending appropriately on gifts for different people. 

Even it Out

You don’t have to spend exactly the same amount down to the penny on different presents, but it’s a good idea to maintain a semblance of equality. This is especially true with kids and intra-team coworkers, where overt favoritism doesn’t go down well. People will notice when you’ve made an effort to treat everyone equally and will appreciate you showing the right holiday gifting etiquette.

Try to Get Something They’ll Value

While you’re not obliged to do this, it’s a nice gesture to put some thought into what people really want. Besides, it’s pretty gratifying to see someone unwrap their present and visibly love what’s inside it. A great way to do this is to personalize your gift for the recipient. Engraving it with a name or an inscription will make it that much more special for them to use.

Keep Spending Limits in Mind

If you’ve mutually agreed on spending limits among friends or colleagues, it’s a total breach of holiday gift-giving etiquette to disregard them. If you’ve agreed to keep the gifts under $25 or under $10, stick to that limit. If you decide to unilaterally splurge, it’ll likely annoy the others in the group and embarrass the recipients. 

Don’t Try and Make a Statement

Holidays are a time for fun and levity. It’s certainly not a time when people want agendas foisted on them. Avoid gifts that speak to political views. Avoid self-improvement presents unless specifically requested. And if you don’t know the recipients that well, also try to steer clear of food and liquor gifts on holidays. Etiquette demands that you be considerate of possible allergies, dietary preferences, and even cultural differences. There could be a variety of reasons why someone doesn’t want to consume something. 

You Don’t Always Have to Reciprocate

Be mindful of etiquette when receiving a gift as well. Just because you’ve been gifted something, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to send something back. This is a common quandary when your boss gifts you something during the holidays. It’s customary for someone to buy something for their assistants or team members to show appreciation for their work. Giving back, however, can be misconstrued as you trying to charm your way into their good graces. Organizing a team gift or even a simple thank you is a safer way to express gratitude.

Respect Special Occasions

If the holiday season happens to coincide with a birthday, a wedding, or any other occasion, don’t be tempted to get just the one gift and call it square. It’s considered fitting holiday gift etiquette to buy something to celebrate both events. After all, if your kid had a birthday around Christmas, you wouldn’t want them to miss out would you?

Receive Graciously

Put on your best smile when receiving a gift. Etiquette decrees that you show enthusiasm and thank them when you accept and open a present, even if you’re not particularly happy with what’s inside.

Don’t Recycle Gifts

Or at least do it carefully! In general, it’s poor etiquette to recycle holiday gifts. Thoughtlessly regifted items have a funny way of winding their way back to you. However, if you don’t see yourself using it, and feel that it would be an ideal present for someone else, you could regift it. It goes without saying that the regifting shouldn’t all be within a common group or social circle. Trust us, the risk of mortification isn’t worth it. 

Finally, don’t let the thought of etiquette ruin the fun of holiday gift-giving. All you want to do at the end of the day is to add to the holiday cheer! If you can’t make up your mind on what to get, head on over to mymento. We’ve got some great ideas for holiday gifts that our customers love! Feel free to call us or drop us a note if you have any questions.

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