TypeRecipes Cooking Articles Entertaining Articles
OccasionsValentine's Day Easter Mother's Day Summertime Father's Day Graduations Tailgating Fall Halloween Thanksgiving Christmas Birthday's Wedding Showers Baby Showers Supper Clubs
Entertaining 101Party Planning Basics Preparing Your Party Menu
Ambiance and DécorFlower Arranging Centerpieces Tablescapes
Etiquette AdviceInvitations and RSVPs Saying Thanks Table Setting Being a Good Guest
Holiday gift-giving is a custom filled with noble intentions that sometimes has the unintended effect of sapping the cheer from shoppers. At Christmastime we set out to choose gifts that show our affection or appreciation, but the process of knowing who should be on our gift list and what to get them can create stress. It doesn't have to be that way. Keep the holiday cheer in your gift-giving with these simple tips.
You know who the people are on this list, and you usually know what is customary. In some families everyone exchanges gifts with one another. In other families they only give to the children. In some cases gifts are exchanged between households instead of individuals.
With your friends, you usually know what's customary as well. You might always exchange Christmas tree ornaments, a favorite cookbook, or the new CD of a favorite artist.
When choosing gifts for family and friends, let your heart be your guide. Don't be as concerned about matching gifts dollar for dollar. If you select something that has meaning to the recipient, your gift will make a much greater impact than if you merely select a gift to "keep things even.” On the other hand, you should pay attention to your expenditure for several reasons. First, you don't want to spend so much on a gift that the recipient will feel uncomfortable. Additionally, you don't want to give a gift that looks like it came out of the bargain bin, with no thought paid to the recipient's interests. Finally, you shouldn't spend over your budget, because nothing takes the cheer out of the holidays than the prospect of facing unmanageable debt in January.
At Christmastime it's customary to give something to the people in our lives who perform services for us during the year. Some may help us in small ways like the hairdresser we see every other month. Others perform more important services such as the nanny to whom we entrust our children every day, or the employees that run our business. And then there are all those in the middle like our children's teachers, the dog walker, and the cleaning ladies.
In many of these situations it's more customary to give a cash gift than an item. For example, you would typically give your nanny anywhere from one to four weeks pay depending on her length of service with you. Cleaning staff, personal trainers and dog walkers usually receive a tip equal to one week or one session's pay. Doormen and parking attendants should be given a holiday tip in an amount ranging from $10 to $25 depending on what's customary in your area and how much you tip throughout the year. For teachers, daycare staff, and instructors of after school lessons, a gift or gift card in the value of $15 to $30 is appropriate, again depending on the economics of your community.
Postal workers and Fed-Ex delivery personnel cannot accept cash gifts, but are allowed to accept small gifts of appreciation.
If you're the manager or owner of a business, keep gifts to your employees impersonal and equivalent in value to avoid hard feelings that would result from discrepancies.
Etiquette doesn't require you to give a gift to your boss, but you can give a small token of your appreciation if you choose. Just be sure the gift isn't so extravagant that co-workers will interpret it to mean you're trying to bribe the boss for special favors.
In the office, you may have a very close relationship with your co-workers. But before you march into your office with bags of holiday gifts, find out whether anyone exchanges gifts at the holidays. If not, don't begin a custom that will make others feel uncomfortable.
Almost everyone has at one time or the other been presented with a Christmas gift that was unexpected, and had nothing to give in return. When this happens to you, just accept the gift with appropriate thanks, and don't feel you need to make excuses or run out to get a reciprocal gift.
If you receive a gift you don't like or can't use, you need to thank the giver without hurting his or her feelings. At a later date you can return it to the store for something you do need or would like.
Finally, it's worth purchasing and wrapping a few extra gifts to have on hand around Christmastime. Inevitably there will be one or two people whom you forgot to put on your list, or there will be a last minute party that you'll want to have something ready to bring. Perfect gifts for these last minute situations would be gourmet candy, candles, note cards, and picture frames.