Five Occasions and Considerations
for Giving Gifts

Giving Gifts

If you're like me, you love giving gifts as much as receiving them.  Gifts are a beautiful way to show gratitude, create good will, and help celebrate a special event.

There are occasions in which anything but a gift may not be enough.  But these occasions also call for you to give some thought to what you are giving.  The last thing you want is to offer a gift that may be unappreciated, or worse, offensive.

Occasions for Gifts

  • Birthdays, Weddings, and Babies are all special events to celebrate.  When you accept an invitation to attend a party or shower, you are obligated to bring a gift for the bride, parent-to-be, or birthday person.
  • Holiday celebrations many times call for gifts.  In the case of religious holidays, make certain recipients are also celebrating.  Otherwise, your gift may automatically have no meaning to them.
  • A gift as a token of gratitude is very special when a thank-you note just isn't enough.  Someone really went out of her way, above and beyond, or put herself on the line for you.  Sending flowers is quite appropriate at times like this. Or a gift card to a favorite restaurant.  If you are close to your recipient, a more personal token may also be appreciated.
  • In business, a gift of good will is helpful when a deal is made, when visiting a new client, or during holiday season.  Keep these gifts in the business-type realm.  Gift baskets, champagne, cookies, or candy usually do nicely. 
  • Host gifts are a nice tradition.  They are a token of thanks for being invited to a party or event.  No need to go overboard.  Simple is best.

Considerations for Giving Gifts

  • Know the culture of your recipient.  As our world gets smaller, you may find cultural differences when it comes to gift-giving.  When selecting a gift for someone from another country or culture, do your homework.  There are some gifts, and even gift wraps, that others may find offensive.
  • Don't expect a return.  The definition of a gift indicates that it is a voluntary act, and should be given with no expectations.  A true gift comes from the heart.
  • Avoid re-gifting.  I'm sure we've all done it.  And some of us may have come close to getting caught!  Tread carefully in this area and don't recycle the gifts you've received.
  • Don't overspend.  You don't want to give a gift that makes you appear too generous.  It may embarrass the recipient.
  • Think about your recipient.  Will he or she understand or appreciate your gift?  When you 'get it wrong' it can say a lot about you.  (Think of the husband who gave his wife an iron for her birthday.)

If you are an avid gift-giver, some form of organization makes the task much easier.  Planning helps prevent overwhelm and can also help keep you within budget.

Saying Thank You

When you receive a gift, whether or not you give one in return, say "thank you."  A thank-you note is also in order (the handwritten ones are the best kind).

The only time a thank-you note is not necessary is in the case of a host gift.  Your gift was your thank-you for being invited.  It would be like saying, "thank you for the thank-you" according to Callista Gould of the Culture and Manners Institute.

Gratitude is the very essence of gift giving.  We give gifts in recognition of our gratitude, and we receive them in an expression of gratitude. 


The spirit of giving is in our social nature. Let's enjoy keeping these the traditions alive!

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