All posts filed under: Gifting Etiquette

Giving money for Christmas: When and how to do it right

I do a similar post every Christmas, as this question keeps coming up in conversations I have with my friends and readers. First of all, let me demystify something: it’s perfectly normal to have people in your life you simply struggle to select a gift for. So don’t panic 🙂 With the rise of individual wish lists on websites like Amazon and Pinterest, it’s no wonder that many of us would actually prefer to get cash and spend it on something we truly want, instead of receiving an item we would bury at the bottom of our storage cupboard (or for more entrepreneurial spirits out there – sell of on Ebay). Even Martha Stewart agrees in an interview on Bloomberg (the full article is here) that it’s better to give cash than a bad gift. Here is my very quick guide to giving cash for Christmas: Wife/ Girlfriend – Not a good idea. She’ll be upset that you didn’t listen to her hints about “those shoes I showed you on my iPad a few weeks …

How to much should I spend on gifts?

Christmas is a budgeting nightmare. To help us figure out how much to spend and on who, even MS Excel offers a ‘Holiday Gifts’ template. But ultimately it’s up to us to decide, and it’s a bloody hard task. There is no gifting etiquette which would clearly establish how much you should spend on a gift for someone. Our society has come up with all sorts of precise instructions for various social interactions, leaving gifting completely out of the equation. Gifting for me is as much a creative process, as it is a pragmatic calculation of your current resources, so it’s really important to know what you can afford. A favourite designer of mine, Artemy Lebedev, argues that his best creative ideas never come out from the “outside the box” thinking. Instead, having clear boundaries and goals can help you streamline your thinking. It allows you to focus on the problem at hand – so you are essentially “inside the box”. In the context of gifting, think of “the box” as your pot of money, …

What To Do With Unwanted Christmas Gifts

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all! Well done for all your gifting efforts, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts in the run up to Christmas. I will do a couple of follow up posts about my presents in the new year – a lot of the gifts I have given and received are experiential, so the Christmas festivities will continue into January (pretty good, huh?). Some consider Boxing Day one of the worst days of the year, as a lot of people are dealing with the dilemma of unwanted gifts. I’ve briefly gone through a few basic things here, but I think it’s time to actually offer a solution and hopefully answer some tricky questions you might be asking yourself right now. So, you’ve been given a gift you don’t want…bummer! If it were to happen a few years ago, you would be totally on your own – quietly hiding the gift somewhere in your storage till you can either dispose of it, or re-gift to someone. Now, the society is much …

Is It OK to Give Money for Christmas?

You, my dear readers, are likely to belong to one of these groups: you are either fully sorted for Christmas by now, and all your focus is on finding that perfect turkey, OR you are currently browsing online and planning to run to the closest shopping centre, as soon as the office clock hits 5pm. Either way, there is one question that pops up every year: is it ok to give money for Christmas? Ultimately, people have their own Pinterest wish lists full of things they just don’t have cash for, so why not give them the means to treat themselves without going bankrupt, right? Well, if you belong to the Martha Stuart fan club, you will be pleased to know that she is all up for it! In an interview with Bloomberg (the full article is here), the domestic guru claims that it’s better to give cash, if you are time poor (like a high level finance exec, who reads Bloomberg on his Blackberry) than a bad gift. I agree with her that it’s …

Gifting Etiquette: How To Thank For Gifts

Today’s post is about thanking for gifts, and how to get out of some tricky situations without ruining your relationship. Please do not take this post as a complete step-by-step guide, because frankly, it’s not. Gifts are highly individual, and circumstances differ a lot (and I’m not even going into cultural differences here). The only rule you have to follow as a recipient is to show your emotions. I love giving gifts to children, because it’s such a rewarding experience –kids are like bursting bubbles of highly contagious happiness (think Christmas morning in any big household). Okay, we are adults now, and the generally accepted norms dictate that we can’t jump around, just because we’ve been given a PlayStation (what a shame, in my opinion!). Still, people need to feel acknowledged for their efforts.  Always try to find some kind words, give them a hug, and express genuine gratitude for such a pleasant surprise. Don’t assume they just know you are grateful, because deep down they are worried whether they got it right. This naturally …

Don’t Try To Change People Through Gifts

Oh, it’s the downside of almost any relationship—people always want to change each other. Gifts, unfortunately, are one of the many ways we communicate our ignorance to accept our loved ones for who they really are. The trending one at the moment is “darling, I think you should lose some weight” (yes, yes, it’s to all of you who got a gym membership for your husband/boyfriend’s birthday). At best, they were grateful you didn’t give them another aftershave, and at worst they started to secretly hate you. Make sure you always recognise the difference between your needs and the needs of the person you are choosing the gift for. For example, I thought my boyfriend needed a better wristwatch (that’s my way of saying “honey, I don’t like your watch”). What happened next defined why my gift didn’t turn into a disaster. I used his existing watch as the starting point. He must have liked that watch for something! I researched the brands I trusted and liked, and found the watch that fit the profile. …

Thank You Gifts, or Why Chocolates Are The Best Investment

I live in the UK; therefore, I’m used to receiving tons of cards for all sorts of weird occasions. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely tradition indeed, but I always find myself slightly guilty when I have to throw these away two days later (oh c’mon, don’t judge, it’s not like I’m going to look back at them 20 years later and even remember the occasion!). What I’d like to talk about today, is my strong belief that a box of chocolates or any other small gift will work much better, if you want to make a lasting impression. Take a recent example of mine. We moved to our new apartment 4 months ago. The security guard was kind enough to accept a big parcel for us, so I thanked him by giving him a small box of Belgian sweets. Not only does he smile every time we bump into each other since then, but he is also extremely helpful with any questions about the neighbourhood. In short, the most valuable source of …