October 28, 2022

As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”, and it is! 

Santa is not the only one busy this time of the year. So are all the people who have outgrown Santa and decided to exchange presents with their friends instead.

It’s already less than a hundred days before Christmas! Some are still busy at work finishing everything up and chasing deadlines before the holidays. It means they are likely to rush getting presents.

This gift-giving guide will help you to get the gifts for your family and friends checked out of your holiday to-do list.

1. Plan it out

Buying gifts based on impulses is not the way to go in gift-giving. List the people with whom you want to buy gifts. Take note of what they wish to have then you can budget your expenses around that.

It would be easier to shop this holiday season when you already know what you came to buy than wasting energy roaming around the store still deciding what to pick. Also, the number of last-minute shoppers would be an overwhelming shopping nightmare.

Remember, the gifts you order online, especially if you buy them overseas, could take some time before they arrive. The same way goes for things you requested to be custom-made. Make sure you have ordered them in a timeframe that fits the holiday season. Order them a month before and make your life easier.

So, list it down or save it on your notepad (whatever works for you) to help you plan would be very efficient when you shop.

2. Take note of the Cultural Differences.

If you have friends from different cultures, you would be able to know some of these listed below. However, for those who do not know these, it is better to learn them too. People are raised in different environments with strong beliefs that are hard to outgrow. Even if your gift is not custom-made, putting effort into knowing the Dos and Don’ts ofhow culture gives and receives gifts is more than enough. 

Americans are much laid back compared to other races and their cultural beliefs. Gifts are not generally given to first-encounter customers. Giving a gift to someone from the U.S does not necessarily mean that they want a gift in return. Also, Americans usually open the present while the giver is still there to see their reaction and thank them.

Meanwhile, comparing this to China, the gift you give would often be refused once or twice at first before finally accepting it as a sign of being polite. There is a significant belief in reciprocity among Chinese people. Receiving a gift would have the other party expecting a gift in return. There are objects considered inappropriate gifts; knives and scissors meant severance in a relationship, and clocks and handkerchiefs meant crying and funerals.

Do your research carefully not to offend them!

3. Have it custom-made

Sentimental people would argue thatcustomized gifts are the best. It means that the giver has taken thought of the type of gift they have given. Their interests are taken into consideration.

Popular custom-made gifts are jewelry. Customizedname pendants,picture pendants, andrings are often the top choice of jewelry enthusiasts. They can be made unique to the style of the person receiving the gift.

Make sure you estimate the time when it will be done. Giving your gift also needs good timing to make it extra special.

4. Don’t compare gift prices.

Gift giving is not a competition on who gave the most expensive gift (although this is a habit to some people). The gift does not have to be of the same value as the one you receive. It is not how the jolly spirit of the holiday works! Gift-giving is simply showing appreciation to the person for being there for you this year and for a strong relationship with them for more years. 

5. Giving neutral gifts to co-workers

For co-workers, you feel awkward giving gifts to people you have only been with once or twice for lunch. That is natural. A bottle of wine or chocolates should be a perfect neutral gift for them.

Also, rethink giving gifts to your supervisor or manager because it can look like kissing up to the boss, even if you are truly sincere. A team gift for your boss might be the best setup.

6. Cash is your spare card.

You might have miscounted your nieces and forgot to buy a present for one of them. You would not want to be the aunt or uncle that plays favorites. Pull up the cash card, and you are all set! 

A tradition in China is to give money in a red envelope (red is a lucky color for the Chinese). It is usually done on Chinese New Year. Other countries have used the same envelope and put money in them to hand them over at Christmas.  Try this one out too!

7. Show your appreciation.

If you receive a gift, no matter what kind, be polite and thank them.

If you forget to give one in return, be grateful and show your appreciation. Give a warm hug, a smile, or even a high five, and say thank you.

Being appreciated is a gift of its own.

Have a great holiday! 

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