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Gift Giving Etiquette
by: The Gift Wizard
Is there such a thing as gift giving etiquette? Of course! There are quite a few DOs and DON'Ts of gift giving. Remember, though, that each situation will be a little different from the next, just as individuals differ from each other. We've done a little research to provide a basic gift giving guide. These aren't set in stone, but they should give you a good idea about how to approach gift giving in most situations.


Dinner or Party Invitation?

When someone invites you over for a "get together", you'll want to bring a small gift to show your appreciation for the invitation. This could include a candle, flowers, or a bottle of wine.

"Please, No Gifts"

If you've been invited to a birthday party, graduation party, anniversary celebration, wedding, or any gift giving occasion and the invitation specifically reads: "No Gifts, Please", then it is appropriate to respect that request. If you feel that you must bring "something", try a card or some other very small sentiment.

Is money an appropriate gift?

It is appropriate to give money in a few (sparse) situations, like when a teen-ager asks for it. But try to avoid giving money. It's more thoughtful to give a gift certificate or gift card, but only if you take the time to consider the the appropriate store or restaurant. Pick something that will be enjoyable and/or useful for the gift recipient.

Other Gift Giving Hints

- Don't give loud toys to children

- Don't give things that YOU want

- Always try to wrap a gift. If you don't have the time or talent to make it look nice, spend a dollar on a gift bag and some tissue paper.

- Include a card with your gift, and actually write a personal note in it

- Don't re-gift a present that you have been given unless a) it is still in it's original packaging, b) it's appropriate for the next recipient, and c) the re-gifting will NOT be discovered (by the original giver or the new recipient)

- Always get a gift for a wedding, even if you can't attend (unless "no gifts" were requested)

- Always bring a gift to a shower, but don't feel obligated to do so if you aren't able to attend

Business Gift Giving

Business gifts are appropriate in the following situations:

- Close of a business deal (beware of international etiquette)

- Group gifts for a retirement, serious illness, or other momentous occasion

- Holidays (like a Secret Santa or grab bag)

In a business situation, don't give gifts that are:

- Personal in nature (perfume, red roses, etc.)

- Only from you (give outside of the office in this situation)

- In violation of company policy (check your company guidelines)

- Not considerate of a person's culture, diet, environment, etc.


When you receive a gift, no matter what you think of it, say "Thank you". Accept any gift politely and remember that it's a GIFT that was not necessary.

Thank You Notes

"Thank You" notes are highly regarded in the gift giving etiquette world. They are particularly common after a bridal shower, baby shower, or wedding. However, if you opened your gift in front of the giver when it was given, then a "Thank You" note isn't absolutely necessary, although it is still appropriate. "Thank You" notes don't have to be completely formal, either. The importance is in the sentiment.

About the Author

The Gift Wizard is a gift researcher for


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