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Holiday Gift-Giving Etiquette

Holiday Gift-Giving Etiquette

Gift-giving is part of many traditions and a general custom when attending holiday parties and open houses. Peggy Post, the great-grand-daughter-in-law of Emily Post, and today's leading authority on etiquette and the author of dozens of books offers gift-giving etiquette for today's busy shopper!

Top Five Tips for Holiday Gift-Giving at the Office

Giving gifts in the workplace is a thoughtful way of letting colleagues and clients know that the business relationship you share is important to you. But gift-giving has its risks as well. If a present is chosen that is in the incorrect price range or is too personal, even the best intentions can backfire. Following these suggestions will take the stress out of gift-giving in the work place and help enhance the joy of the season!

  1. Give your supervisor a joint gift with several co-workers or a simple holiday card.
  2. It is OK to give gifts and cards to people who do not celebrate the season or holiday the same way you do. Stick to secular sayings such as "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings."
  3. Unexpected gifts do not have to be reciprocated. All that's required is a warm "Thank you!"
  4. If you are unsure of what to get for a colleague, a gift certificate is an acceptable choice - just make sure it's from a store that he or she enjoys.
  5. If your office continues the tradition of individual gifts instead of a holiday grab bag, make sure to give gifts to selected individuals in private so that no one's feelings are hurt. Also, do not make gifts too personal, and do not buy something that's inappropriately expensive.

Top Five Etiquette Tips for Hassle-free Gift Giving

Don't stress about all those gifts you have to buy. Follow Peggy Post's plan for giving gifts without succumbing to the typical holiday anxiety.

  1. Get their wish list.
    Ask people for hints or even a wish list. Gather ideas during the year, and write everything down.
  2. Trust your judgment.
    Forget about being afraid the gift isn't "perfect." If you think the person will like it, chances are they will.
  3. Stick to your budget.
    Spending more than you should takes the fun out of gift giving. There's nothing more nerve-racking than overspending - and feeling uneasy about it.
  4. Buy it when you see it.
    If you're shopping in July and see a sweater that your mother would love, buy it. It probably will not be available when you look for it again in December.
  5. Start a gift closet.
    Stash a few gifts that will work in a pinch: copies of your favorite cookbook, a good bottle of wine, or boxes of beautiful note cards. That way you will be ready if you need a gift on the spot.

15 Great Host and Hostess Gifts

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends near and far. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® has gifts for your host and hostess that shows them how much you appreciate them during the holiday season!

  1. One Dozen Red Roses with Godiva truffles
  2. Exotic Breeze Orchids with a box of Godiva Chocolates

  3. All-White Centerpiece for Hanukkah or a Bells of Christmas Centerpiece
  4. Happy Hour Bouquets
  5. Christmas decorations (like the Silver Season Tree with Skirt, or Traditional Tidings Christmas Sleigh)

  6. Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  7. Juniors Cheesecake - Original, Chocolate Swirl or the Famous Cheesecake Sampler
  8. Cheryl's Entertainment Basket of Cookies or Dessert Basket
  9. Jingle Bell Truffle Box by Fannie May
  10. Golden Godiva Gift Basket
  11. Oregon's Elegant Fruit & Cheese Hamper
  12. Luxury Wine Tray
  13. Old Fashioned Rose Plant

Go to for other terrific holiday gift ideas!

Run the Ultimate "Secret Santa"

Starting a Holiday grab bag - at home or at the office - requires patience, a set of rules that everyone understands, and a sense of adventure. Ready? Here's how to get started:

  • Pick a theme. Is your grab bag for your book club or child's classroom? Then books are the perfect choice. Are you a long-distance "Secret Santa?" Send a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers or a gorgeous holiday centerpiece. Are your friends or family members big sports fans? Tickets to local sporting events, souvenirs from the organizations' team club store, T-Shirts and more will make your Kris Kringle proud.
  • State your date. Will you exchange gifts on the last day before vacation or the beginning of the week before? Remember, lots of people take vacation right before the holidays. Do you intend to exchange gifts with family or friends on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day or somewhere in between? Work together to pick a date and then hold everybody to it - so your grab bag buddy doesn't get forgotten while everyone else is enjoying the festivities.
  • Be absolutely clear. If your group sets a spending limit, make sure everyone knows what that limit is - and ask everyone to stick to it. It's not a whole lot of fun if you get a $25 scarf while the person next to you is hugging their new 42" Plasma TV.
  • Think about it. Really. Don't know your office worker/Secret Santa well? Ask another colleague if he or she loves reading, drinking coffee, jogging, or scrap-booking. If you're buying for a family member or friend, try to come up with thoughtful gifts. In this case, one size does not fit all. Your nephew Joey probably wouldn't like the same thing that your Grandma Lena does - so make sure you ask other family members if you're not sure.
  • Location, location, location. Choose the time and place when you'll exchange your gifts. Will you all get together for a party, or do you plan to leave little "surprise" gifts every day until the holidays are done? If you're doing this long-distance, can you do it over the phone or by webcam so that you can share the fun? Be creative and you can figure out ways to get the most enjoyment out of this simple holiday tradition.
  • Get the party started. At the office, order in a pizza or Chinese food, book a conference room for lunch and start exchanging. Or, if you're doing this with family and friends, designate a special time to swap gifts with your Secret Santa (at the beginning of your Christmas Eve party or after dinner on Christmas Day, for example).
  • Hold a Grab Bag "Auction." Not sure what to do with all those gifts you got that just aren't "you?" Hold a Grab Bag Auction. On New Year's Day or the first day back to the office after the holidays, have everyone throw in a gift that is nice but not for them (A bit of advice: since you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, try not to throw in a gift given to you by one of the participants). Next, place numbers in a bag and let everyone choose a number. The first person picks their gift. The second person gets to either take what person #1 chose, or pick something else from the pile. This continues until everyone has had a chance to choose. So if you've got 25 people playing, person #25 has his choice of every gift.

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