Gift Giving Etiquette

Put the fun back into giving gifts.

Trent Armstrong
4-minute read
Episode #107

With all the wonderful things to be thankful for this holiday season, it's a shame that giving gifts can cause us so much stress. The economy isn't helping much, but I've got some quick and dirty tips that should get you in the spirit just in time.

Gift Giving Etiquette

A lot of the momentum for this set of tips is going to based on a simple rule of thumb: Gift giving is not about you. Gift giving is about the person who is receiving the gift. If you keep that in mind you will find that--though your job of finding the gift might not be easier--it will certainly be more exciting. Let me explain what I mean by offering a couple of situations.

Can You Give Gift Cards as Gifts?

Your sister has just emailed you and asked for a list of things to get you and your family. The last part of the email includes her list since she just wanted to go ahead and get that out of the way. Listed very prominently at the top spot are gift cards: gift cards for iTunes, movies, and gas stations. You sit and fume as you think about how impersonal and self-serving it is to request a gift card! How dare she!

Before your blow a gasket and need your own auto-repair shop gift card, think of the ways in which you can make the gift more personal. Think about why your sister has asked for this particular gift. Does she like to go to the movies but doesn't want to ask for cash? Many folks are cutting down on their entertainment budgets lately and would love an excuse to go to a movie. They are far more likely to use a gift card than to spend their hard earned money.

Also, there are a number of businesses that are willing to let you personalize gift cards with your own image. To show how excited you are about giving this gift, you can stick a photo of you and your sister doing the most fun thing you ever did together or, at least, a picture of her with braces and a goofy sweater.

Should You Ask for Gift Receipts for Your Gifts?

I am pretty sure each of us has a family member or friend who, upon receiving a well-thought-out gift, always asks for a gift receipt. He or she might even just go ahead and let you know to include it with the present before you even go shopping. What nerve!