The hairdresser. The coach. The teacher. The manicurist. The mailman. The cousins. The nephews and nieces. The cleaning lady. The crossing guard. Oh and let’s not forget the neighbours.
Am I missing anyone?
I am making my naughty and nice list – my list of who will get thank you gifts or cards this season. As my laundry list of thank yous gets longer and longer, I begin to wonder, how do I make sure I have everyone covered and not break the bank while I do it all? To help me answer this question, I turned to two experts to get their take on the matter – Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author, and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide and Productivity Coach Clare Kumar.
“You don’t need to give everyone a gift,” explains Clare. “Take the time to ask yourself who has touched me this year and how can I best say thank you. Some people may love to get a gift, while others a handwritten note. Be aware of who you are giving to and what would make them feel special.”
Good advice and continuing on that theme, Sharon gives us her top 5 pieces of gift giving advice:
You Don’t Have to Buy For Everyone
Annually review your gift list. How has your relationship grown and evolved? Have you kept in touch via phone, email, or seen each other in person? If the answers to these are no, evaluate the need for a gift.
Follow Gift-Giving Policies
Research the policies of the school, office and organization. Be cautious about giving your boss a gift—even if your office doesn’t specifically forbid the practice because it could send the wrong message.
Always Include Gift Receipts
Whether it is the holidays, or all year-long, including the gift receipt with every gift is an etiquette best-practice. If the recipient needs to exchange it because it’s the wrong size, color, or texture, why make it difficult? Avoid the awkwardness of them coming to you and asking for the receipt.
Consider Couple Gifts
Once a family member or friend is in a serious relationship, gift giving may segue from individual gifts to couple gifts. Buy them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, and including a thoughtful note that shows your gracious holiday spirit.
With loyal, long term service providers, consider a holiday gratuity or tip.
And on that note, if you are too busy to get it all done before the holiday madness, Clare reminds us that you can always send a card in January or February. “Spread joy throughout the year. Showing your appreciation is not limited to the holiday season.”