Gift giving can be tricky. Do you need a gift for a family member,a partner, a friend or a co-worker? No matter who the gift is for..
Check out these 8 rules for gift giving:
- Give a gift that is appropriate for that person. Grandma doesn’t need a thong – even if she asks for one. If an adorable 8 year old boy asks for an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas – you don’t get him a .22 rifle instead. I think I’m gonna cry.
- Don’t overspend. Over spending never got anyone…anywhere. If you’re just starting to date and you buy something really expensive and not in-line with your income – you’re going to come across as desperate and out of touch with reality. You don’t need big gifts for people to like you—people like you because you’re kind, clean, floss regularly and you’re good in bed! Plus – if you’re buying an inappropriately expensive gift – you’re sending a message that you’re not good with your money. We all know where that leads…
- Don’t EVER, EVER, EVER open your birthday gifts in front of a crowd of people at a party. There’s a couple of reasons why you don’t do this:
a. you’re not a good enough actor to make people believe you’re happy that you got pot holders for your birthday.
b. those who haven’t brought you a gift will feel anxiety – and you don’t have parties to make people anxious.
c. it’s just rude and self-aggrandizing. “Look what I got!” You’ll look like a show-off or a loser if people start to gauge your gifts. Don’t do it – I’m warning you. It’s a no-win.
Now for the bad news: If you’re the guest of honor at a bridal or baby shower – you can’t get out of doing it! You’re basically screwed unless you’re Meryl Streep. About your acting: Practice, practice, practice. Start squeeling and throwing your arms up in the air and screeching “Oh My God!” until you have it down pat. Think of “Sophies Choice” if you need some tears to show grandma how much you love the doily she made. *Have one of your friends keep track of who gave you what on a piece of paper as you’re opening the gifts – it will be invaluable when you send out your Thank You notes. (see #8).
- Don’t re-gift (and get caught!!!). If you must re-gift – and everyone has done it (or they’re lying) – make sure that you look the item over COMPLETELY before you give it to someone else. If it’s a candle – take it out of the box, look all around it, under it. Some thoughtful person may have inscribed a personal note on the side of it with a permanent marker that says: “Happy Holidays Dean”… now, you wouldn’t want to give that to someone for their 40th birthday, would you? (I did!!!) If you’re re-gifting frames from anyone- make SURE that there’s not a picture of you and someone the recipient doesn’t know in the frame. There’s nothing worse than giving someone a frame with you and your ex, ex, ex boyfriend in it. Try and explain that! As horrible as it sounds – you can’t re-gift everything. Sometimes those gift givers have so damaged the integrity of their gift that it’s too difficult to salvage. You’ll either have to enjoy it, live with it, or give it to Good Will.
- Pay Attention!!! For crying out loud – am I really that hard to buy for? If you really want to be a good gift giver – LISTEN!!! People will tell you all the time what they like, love and hate. All you have to do is to start listening and take note of it. Anytime someone tells me they like something (that I can afford) I put a note in my phone where their name is. You can put it in where their address goes if you can’t figure out how to attach a note in your phone. When it comes to gift-giving time – just look in your phone. If it’s someone you love and you’re around them a lot – you should have a list of 10 things to choose from when it’s time to give the gift.
- No gift is a bad gift. If you get a gift that you hate – try to think of the spirit in which it was given. Take that in and once you’ve appreciated that – you can then throw it away if you want to. You owe the giver nothing in terms of having to keep the gift. A gift is a GIFT! It’s not a contract to store your friend’s bad taste in your house!!! I once had a friend who would go wild when she came to my house and couldn’t find the things she had given me. I told her I’d sold them in my garage sale(s). You’d thought I shot her. (We’re no longer friends.) Listen – if you give a gift – you’re done with the ownership of what happens to that gift. If you get a gift – it is YOURS and yours alone and you can do whatever the heck you want to do with it.
- If an adult gives you a gift – and you want it – TAKE IT!!! It doesn’t matter if it’s outrageously expensive and inappropriate for the occasion (see #2)- Take it. They’re giving it as a gift – right? Gifts are a “no strings attached” transaction – hence the word “gift”. Gift giving/getting should be the cleanest of all transactions. They give it – you take it – they get a “thank you” – end of story. You don’t owe anyone anything more than that. If there is a string attached to the gift – and you’ll know if there is – decide if you’re willing to bargain for what the conditions are to keep it. Just remember though – it’s gone from being a gift to a commodity – and that takes all the fun and meaning out of it. It can get icky. If you feel they might want something in return – ask them! Get it out in the open! “Is this a gift? With no strings attached?” If you’ll do that -almost all gifts “with strings” turn into gifts without strings really fast. You’ll know!!! Don’t lie to me! You’ll know!!!
- Send a THANK YOU NOTE! It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is easy and simple to do. All you have to do is go to the drug store and buy a box of thank you notes, write a few personal words on the card and the words “Thank You” somewhere in the note, put it in the envelope, lick it, stamp it, address it and it’s done. Sending thank you notes delineates the classy from the classless. Email doesn’t count – no matter how old you are. If in doubt – send a thank you note
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