Plenty of people, it seems, stress about holiday gifts. From the inscription on the card to delivery methods, to the actual gift or service (or gift card, as the case seems to increasingly include), we worry whether what we’re gifting is appropriate and will be received with delight.
What we don’t speak about as often is the challenge of what to do with that gift you didn’t ask for, or that doesn’t fit, or that just doesn’t work. As a receiver, do you politely return or exchange your gift, and as a gift giver, how can you reduce the likelihood of giving a bad gift in the future?
We suggest a few tips as a gifting best practice, here:
- Re-gifting is recycling. It’s actually a fairly innovative practice, but should be used sparingly and with as much thoughtfulness as you would expend in purchasing a brand new gift.
- Re-gifted items should always include their original box from the store or site, and original manufacturer wrapping if at all possible.
- Don’t re-gift something that you know the receiver would never desire. It is better not to gift at all than to place your host/friend in an awkward situation.
- Do not re-gift items like fresh food, or personal items that involve size and color (like hats, gloves, scarfs or clothing). If something is vintage or truly retro, note it in the message inside your card.
- Whether it’s a re-gift or an original purchase, if you think your gift’s receiver may not understand the intent behind the gift, write a nice sentence or two about your idea for its use in the corresponding card. Or, if you’re going to exchange gifts in-person and the timing is appropriate, nudge the person and explain your intention. This can help to eliminate questions and ease your anxious “Gifter” mind.
It may seem like long away, but the 2015 Holidays will be here before we know it. To avoid gifter’s anxiety, start to designate a section of a drawer or closet as your “Gift Storage” to save a few unisex or last minute gifts that could be appreciated by most anyone. Use this place to store items you’ve received that are unused and worthy of a possible re-gift. Include a few roles of wrapping paper (solid colors without a holiday theme are best) as well as a few gift bags with handles, a few blank cards, and a pair of scissors and tape. This will help you be prepared for any unexpected situations – and come out ahead.
Here’s to your season of giving in 2015!
Shanna Wu Pecoraro
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