Written by Janah on Wednesday 24th October, 2018

Ways to bend the rules of gift giving

As the festive season creeps closer, most of us are now starting to think about who we’ll be bestowing with our fabulous gifts and when we’ll be fitting in the time to go and buy them! And as if you didn’t have enough to think about – did you know that there are certain unspoken rules when it comes to present-giving?

That’s right - there’s a whole gift-giving etiquette!

But the good thing about rules is that they can always be bent, so here are a few ways you can get around the more tricky ones to make your holiday shopping fun and stress-free.

Rule one: Never gift a one-use item

Gift-giving etiquette rules say that it’s not practical to gift someone with an item that can only be used or worn once. This can be easily applied to presents in the novelty category, like Christmas jumpers and hats.

But I say a one-use item can be fabulous if done well. I’ve been gifted some of my favourite woollies over Christmas and I really don’t care that I can only wear them once a year. I look forward to the time of year I can pull them out and they never get old for me!

If we all followed this rule, it would also mean we couldn’t receive gifts like yummy homemade cookies or tickets to special events.

And what about Halloween? We’re a few days away from the annual spooky past-time and not being able to gift one-use items would mean no sweets for the trick-or-treaters or no bottles of wine brought by your Halloween party guests.

As long as your one-time-use present is relevant, has sentimental value or is somewhat personalised, it won’t end up collecting dust or worse, in the bin. It will be appreciated and remembered for years to come!

Rule two: It’s rude to re-gift an item

Of course, it’s not very thoughtful to give someone a gift you didn’t like yourself – but sometimes it could be necessary! If you have received something you can’t use yourself – yet you know would be loved and appreciated by someone else – why not re-gift it?

The point here is to make sure you know it’s a gift that the recipient would love – no guessing or assuming.

And if you are going to re-gift a present, it’s important that this is not obvious to the recipient if you’re not planning on being transparent. So be sure to remove all traces of the previous re-gifting before passing it on!

Rule three: Never give gift-cards as presents

The idea behind this rule is that a gift-card is often seen as nothing more than a convenience gift – there’s no thought or effort that goes into gifting one. I’ve been guilty of giving gift-cards as presents because I ran out of time and didn’t know what to get – but here’s how I bent the rule.

I knew the recipient loved the clothes store River Island, so I got her a card from there. See – gift cards can be personalised too. Giving your Android-crazy friend an iTunes gift-card is a serious breach of the gift-giving etiquette rules. But enquiring about what your friend likes and needs and then getting them a card that will help them buy those things is not!

I once received a £100 Amazon gift card from my Mum as she didn’t know what to get me for my birthday a few years ago and I loved it because I was able to buy all the little things I’d had my eye on for a while, that she’d never have known I wanted. So, gift-cards can be great – as long as you know they’ll be useful for the recipient.

Rule four: Always show gratitude

Now this is a rule that you just can’t bend. No matter what you’re given as a gift – whether you love it or hate it, it’s important to show appreciation and gratitude as the person has gone out of their way to give you a present.

However, there are some people who are set in their ways and if Gran keeps gifting you the same pair of socks for Christmas every year, you’ll have to take some action if you want to clear some space in your sock drawer. Why not try creating your very own Christmas gift-list on Things To Get Me? That way, people can choose what to get you from a list of items you actually want. You could also use the month of October to start dropping hints about how many pairs of socks you have and how you could really use a new hat instead!

Write your gift list


Write your gift list