14 December 2016

By Musa Bwanali

In this season of gift- giving, there is one fundamental aspect that tends to be overlooked – gift etiquette. Gifts serve many purposes, showing appreciation and bringing pleasure while building and maintaining relationships. When well chosen, gifts can lift your spirit, while a poorly chosen gift can leave you looking more disingenuous than generous. Here’s a basic guide to the dos and don’ts of gift-giving:

Don’t buy gifts that are geared toward self-improvement, such as weight-loss videos, exercise programs, or books on how to improve your public speaking skills. It is never a gift to be reminded of your short-comings!

Don’t buy personal clothing items such as lingerie or silk boxers; such items should only be given to a woman by her husband or a husband by his wife.

Don't for the good of you and your reputation, please do not wait until the last minute. As I know from personal experience, the humiliation of having to go to the store 15 minutes before you are supposed to be at your friend’s Christmas dinner is never fun. Besides, you’re bound to find long winding queues of people who also decided to wait till the last minute.

DO Take little mental notes or hints your family and friends give you throughout the year. Listen to them when they talk about what they have been needing or watch what they look at when you shop with them. Compile a list of the things they have talked about, and then you are all set. That shoe she tried on and left, the striped tie that could go with a shirt he bought last week.

DO Try something new. If you’re really terrible at picking gifts, just purchase a gift voucher instead. This way, you let the person pick the specific item themselves within your budget. Get a gift voucher from Edgars from as little as $10.

DO keep the recipient in mind. Buy a gift that he or she would like, not what you think the person should have. When shopping for children, it is best to check with their parents before purchasing anything that is noisy, requires assembly or has lots of small, moving parts. Respect the wishes of the parents if they say a particular gift idea is not to their liking.

DO Think in terms of time as well as monetary value. Giving the gift of babysitting a few nights to a busy couple with young children may be far more appreciated than another item for their home. Throw in a few movie passes or a voucher for a nice restaurant and the pair will be genuinely thrilled at your thoughtfulness.

The most difficult thing for some of us is being on the receiving end of gifts. For some reason, we stumble around when others give us presents and do not know how to be gracious recipients. It is simple, really:

·         Say "thank you" with sincerity in your voice. Even if you do not like the gift, you are thanking the person for putting forth the thought and effort to give you a gift and for caring for you enough to want to do so.
·         Remark on one specific thing about the gift that you like. If the sweater is the wrong size and colour, you could say something like, "Thank you, this is so soft!  I just love red. I'm sure it will be warm this winter!"
·         If someone has given you a gift card or money, let the person know how you plan to use it. "This will come in really handy for my school books this semester, Dad. Thanks, I really appreciate it!"

The joy of giving should be in making others happy, not in keeping score or trying to outdo someone else. If we keep in mind that we are supposed to be giving gifts because we want to, not because we are obligated to, the recipients will receive them in the same spirit.

Keep it Simple. Keep it stylish.



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