The exchange of gifts is something that’s common among cultures all around the world. This social ritual is how we make sure that we can thank other people for the things that they do for us.
We give gifts to show people how much we care about them, and to help them celebrate important times in their lives. However, there’s a lot of unwritten rules involved here that can make it difficult to get things right.
If you’re struggling to give gifts according to social etiquette, or you don’t know how to choose presents correctly for the situation, then the following tips might help.
- Know Your Limits
Giving things to the people we love can feel wonderful. It’s a chance to really show how much we know someone, and most of us love seeing the smile on their face when they open that gift and see how wonderful it is. You might even feel like you owe someone a massive gift because they’ve
bought you something big and impressive in the past.
However, the last thing that someone in your friendship circle or family will want, is for you to put yourself in a difficult position because you’ve spent outside of your means. The right person will usually feel uncomfortable if they know you’ve spent a lot, and the wrong person might start to develop expectations that you can’t keep up with in the future.
- Don’t Force them to Open it in Front of You
As mentioned above, one of the nicest things about giving gifts is getting to see someone open the present you’ve purchased and measuring the delight on their face. However, it’s important to remember that you’ve bought this item for them – not for you. In other words, it’s not about what you want to get out of the experience.
If you buy someone a present for their birthday and they decide that they want to wait until later to open it – when they’re at home and out of the way – don’t just force them to open it in front of you
because you want to see their smile. They might be uncomfortable with gift giving and pushing this experience now could ruin the whole thing for them.
- Remember the Little Details
A carefully chosen gift will usually generate a lot of happiness from the right person by itself. However, you can always make the experience even more impressive by getting the little details right too. Wrap the item in some paper that you know your friend or loved one will appreciate and add a bow or some extra elements into the mix too.
If the occasion calls for a card and you don’t usually buy one, think about whether the person who is receiving the gift would like to see a card from you. Maybe writing out a little verse or giving them a hand-written note alongside the gift will make this experience feel more personal? It’s about what the person will love, not what you think you’d like.
- Never Boast about the Price
In an ideal world, your friends and loved ones will never know how much you’re going to spend on their gifts. You should remove any pricing stickers and anything else that indicates how much you’ve spent, unless you need to give your loved ones a receipt so that they can return something that might not work, or may not fit. There’s always a chance that they’ll be aware of the price of an item if they’ve suggested something for you to buy too.
However, while there are reasonable circumstances where your loved ones might eventually find out about the price of an item, that doesn’t mean that you should start boasting. Even if you’ve spent a fortune, this isn’t your place to shout it from the rooftops.
- Be Selfless
Finally, try to step out of your own shoes and into the shoes of the person you’re buying for when you’re purchasing gifts. Remember that giving is a selfless experience, and not something you should ever do just because you want to get something in return. Decide that you’re going to give something because you want to, and leave it at that.
Just because you buy something for your friend now doesn’t mean that they need to purchase a similar item for you in the future. Gifts are about love and friendship, they’re not bargaining chips that you pass back and forth. Try and remember that.