The Unwritten Rules Of Gift Giving

When it comes to gift giving there are a few unwritten rules, but do you know what they all are? Well, unfortunately, being ‘unwritten’ they are rarely acknowledged or discussed and therefore they can often be interpreted slightly differently. But ultimately these determine what we give, how much we give and to whom we give these gifts.

The giving and receiving of presents can leave us red-faced if we don’t get it right. Picture the scene; it is Christmas, you and one of your besties have excitedly met up to exchange presents. But, as you open yours to find she has got you tickets to see your favourite band, your thrill disappears as you realise she is about to open a novelty mug. Hopefully, an awareness of these unwritten rules will avoid this embarrassing situation reoccurring!

If you get a gift, give a gift

As a general rule, if we get a gift, then we return the gesture by giving a gift back.

Gifts must be of equal value in some cases…

If, for example, you are buying presents for your two children, mum and dad or grandma and granddad, these should be (at least close to) equal value. To buy one a larger and/or more expensive present will only cause issues, if it comes across as favouritism.

…but not in others

When exchanging gifts between friends, they do not necessarily have to be of equal value. This can feel embarrassing, but if you can’t financially afford it, then you shouldn’t feel obligated to match the price of the gift you are receiving with the gift you are giving. This isn’t the reason we exchange presents. If your present shows thought and care has gone into it, this is more important than the money spent.

Avoid asking the recipient what they want

As a rule we tend not to ask the recipient what they want; they are unlikely to give you a straight answer anyway and this will often just put them in an awkward situation.

Buy a gift appropriate for the recipient

The gift must be appropriate for the recipient—for example, a magazine subscription gift is great because it is the gift that keeps on giving right through the year.

However, when choosing the title you need to take in account who it is for—a gardening title for a teen who has little interest in the hobby and doesn’t have their own garden would be inappropriate. Show you know what their hobbies are by picking the right title to match. So, for a fashion-conscious teen a title such as LOOK would be the perfect gift.

Don’t leave the price tag on

This really is one that goes without saying—take the price tag off, the recipient has no reason to know how much you spent. It is the gift that matters, not the price tag.

The way you present the gift is as important as the gift itself…

Of course, we don’t just hand the gift over—it is an unwritten rule that it is wrapped and ribboned in a presentable manner. Thought may have gone into the gift, but hand it over in the carrier bag you got it in and you will take away from this.

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