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Gift-giving Etiquette - 2024

Norah Clark
Wrapping a Christmas gift with a bow

Gift-giving is common on various occasions, such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. It is a way to express appreciation, love, and goodwill towards others.

The etiquette of gift-giving can sometimes be challenging, as certain etiquette guidelines must be considered. Knowing about gift-giving etiquette can help ensure the giver and the recipient have a positive experience.

Read on to learn about gift-giving etiquette in detail, covering topics such as choosing the right gift, setting a budget, addressing cultural differences, and more.

Choosing the Right Gift

When selecting a gift for someone, it's important to consider their preferences, interests, and needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind while choosing the right gift:

  • Personal Relationship: The nature of your relationship with the recipient should guide your gift selection. You might choose something more personal or sentimental for close friends and family members. For acquaintances or colleagues, opt for something more generic or professional.
  • Interests and Hobbies: If you know the recipient's hobbies or interests, try to find a gift that aligns with them. For example, consider a cookbook or kitchen gadgets if they enjoy cooking.
  • Occasion: The occasion itself can provide hints about the type of gift to choose. For example, a wedding gift might differ from a birthday or holiday gift.

Setting a Budget

While there is no hard and fast rule about how much to spend on a gift, it's important to set a comfortable budget. Factors such as your relationship with the recipient, the occasion, and your financial situation should be considered. Remember, the value of a gift is not solely determined by its price tag but by the thought and effort put into it.

Cultural Differences

In a multicultural society, it's important to be sensitive to cultural differences regarding gift-giving. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Religious Observances: Different religious holidays may have specific traditions and customs regarding gift-giving. Be aware of these customs and respect them when selecting and presenting gifts. For example, gifts are often exchanged during Christmas within Christian families, while during Hanukkah, gifts are typically given each night.
  • Culturally Appropriate Gifts: When giving gifts to individuals from different cultural backgrounds, it's essential to consider their cultural norms and values. For example, some cultures may have specific dietary restrictions, religious taboos, or superstitions that should be considered. Researching and understanding these cultural nuances can help you select appropriate gifts.

Gift Wrapping and Presentation

Gift presentation can enhance the overall experience for both the giver and the recipient. Consider the following tips for gift wrapping and presentation:

  • Thoughtful Presentation: Take the time to wrap the gift neatly and thoughtfully. Use high-quality wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows to make the gift visually appealing.
  • Including a Card or Note: A personalized card or note with the gift can add a special touch. Write a heartfelt message expressing your appreciation and well-wishes.
  • Consideration for Shipping: If you send a gift by mail, ensure it is securely packaged and protected to prevent any damage during transit. Additionally, factor in shipping time to ensure the gift arrives on or before the intended date.

Regifting and Gift Exchanges

Regifting, the act of giving away a gift that was previously received, can sometimes be a sensitive topic. Here are some considerations when it comes to regifting and participating in gift exchanges:

  • Regifting: If you plan to regift an item, make sure it is brand new, unopened, and in its original packaging. Please keep track of who gave you the gift initially to avoid regifting it to the same person or someone within their social circle.
  • White Elephant or Secret Santa Exchanges: When participating in a gift exchange, familiarize yourself with the specific rules and guidelines of the exchange. These exchanges often involve selecting a gift within a particular price range or following a theme.

Avoiding Awkward Situations

In gift-giving, it's essential to be mindful of potential awkward situations and act accordingly. Here are a few scenarios to consider:

  • Unequal Gift Value: If you receive a gift with a higher value than the one you gave, graciously accept it without making the giver uncomfortable. Similarly, if you give a more expensive gift than what you receive, avoid paying attention to the discrepancy.
  • Unwanted or Inappropriate Gifts: If you receive a gift you don't like or find inappropriate, focus on expressing gratitude for the gesture rather than criticizing it. The thought counts, and the giver's intention should be acknowledged.


What is the appropriate budget for a gift?

Choosing a budget for a gift depends on various factors, including your financial situation and the nature of your relationship with the recipient. Setting a budget that is comfortable for you and aligns with the occasion and cultural expectations is important. Remember, the value of a gift lies in the thought and effort, not just the price.

Is regifting acceptable?

Regifting can be acceptable if done thoughtfully. Ensure the item is brand new, unopened, and appropriate for the recipient. Keep track of who gave you the gift initially to avoid any potential awkwardness.

Should I always include a gift receipt?

Including a gift receipt can be considerate, especially if you are unsure of the recipient's preferences or if they might need to exchange or return the gift. It gives them the option to choose something they truly want or need.

What if I receive a gift I don't like?

If you receive a gift you don't like, it's important to express gratitude for the gesture. Thank the giver sincerely and acknowledge their thoughtfulness, regardless of your personal preferences. Remember, the act of giving itself is what matters.

How should corporate gifts be handled?

Corporate gifting often has specific guidelines. Check with your company's policies or consult with a supervisor to ensure compliance. Some companies have restrictions on the types of gifts allowed, their value, and the recipients.


Gift-giving etiquette plays an important role in fostering positive relationships and showing appreciation. By considering the recipient's preferences, cultural differences, and budget, you can ensure your gift is well-received and appreciated. Remember, the true value of a gift lies in the

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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