Did you know that Emily Post published her first book on etiquette in 1922? One hundred years later, Ms. Post’s Etiquette is in its 19th edition. Manners never go out of style. 

With the holiday season right around the corner, you’re probably preparing your shopping list. Choosing the right gift for someone can be challenging. 

These days, people can and do buy many gifts for themselves. Gift giving in a personal and memorable way requires your time and attention. Keep reading for gift-giving etiquette tips that will make a lasting impression this holiday season and year-round. 

Know When a Gift Is and Isn’t Required

Attending parties is fun, but when is it appropriate to bring a gift? The answer depends on the type of party and how well you know the host. 

If you’ve received an invitation to a birthday party or a wedding, you should always give a gift. The same is true for bar and bat mitzvahs, graduations, and baby showers. Luckily, the host or the person you’re celebrating has probably created an online registry, making your gift choice easier. 

However, some of the best gift ideas are original. Feel free to choose something outside the gift registry if it suits the occasion. 

For affairs like dinner parties, a bottle of wine or Champagne is perfect. For events that aren’t food-focused or are more relaxed, it’s acceptable to bring a small gift for your host. Fresh flowers are always an excellent choice. 

When you’re hosting a party, be clear when sending invitations. 

Follow the Secret Santa Rules

If your workplace or organization is holding a Secret Santa event for a holiday party, stick to the rules. It’s funny when Michael Scott wreaks havoc on the holiday party in The Office by giving an expensive item like an iPod, but it’s uncomfortable in real life. 

In a Secret Santa situation, the gift amount limit is there for a reason. Not everyone is in a position to spend freely during the holidays. When you stay within the assigned dollar amount, you help ensure that everyone enjoys the event and feels comfortable participating. 

Secret Santa is also a time when a less-than-personal gift is acceptable. Since the person receiving your gift is random, you can feel comfortable choosing a gift like a photo frame or a teapot. 

When are Cash and Gift Cards Acceptable?

Giving cash or gift cards might feel uninspired or against gifting rules. However, in recent years giving cash or gift cards is much more acceptable. In some situations, it’s preferable. 

For instance, a housewarming party is a wonderful time to give a gift card. A new homeowner might not yet know exactly what they need for their house. In this case, a gift card from a home improvement store or online home goods retailer will be well received. 

Twenty years ago, gift-giving experts might have clutched their pearls at the thought of giving cash. Today giving cash is much more acceptable. In some cases, people encourage it. 

Weddings are a good example. The nature of weddings has changed over the years. Some couples prefer a traditional gift registry, and some don’t.

Today, many couples set up online cash donation accounts for their honeymoon or other large purchase. 

However, if you choose cash or gift cards, include a card or note. Personal touches never go out of style. 

Thoughtful Gift Giving

Choosing an inspired gift for someone you’re close to is satisfying. It’s the true definition of “it’s the thought that counts.”

When you take the time to think about the meaningful aspects of your relationship, the recipient will treasure the resulting gift. And you’ll have the joy of knowing that your gift creates more depth and meaning in your relationship. 

If you struggle with thoughtful gifts, try to recall important moments in the life you share. Perhaps you’re considering a gift for a friend who has dedicated their life to military service. In this case, navy challenge coins are a tangible token of your respect and appreciation. 

Mementos are also thoughtful types of gifts. Did you and your spouse have dinner and see a movie on your first date? The gift of an authentic movie poster or menu from the restaurant sparks joy and helps both of you remember meaningful times in your relationship. 

The Etiquette of Regifting

Regifting is a newer concept that stumps even the most experienced gift givers. For instance, you receive a gift that isn’t a fit for you, but is it okay to give it to someone else? 

The answer is yes, but with some stipulations. Remember who gave you the gift and don’t give it back to them by mistake. These accidents happen more often than you might think. 

Think about the recipient. If the gift suits their style and personality, it’s appropriate to regift it. You’ll also want to be sure the new recipient isn’t aware of the regifting situation.

Anything that has been personalized or monogrammed is not eligible for regifting. Don’t regift anything that has sentimental value to your family or that is made by hand. If possible, keep the item in its original packaging with tags attached.

As more people are conscious of decluttering, regifting is becoming more acceptable. However, be thoughtful when choosing to regift. No one wants to feel like an afterthought when receiving a gift.

Take Your Gift Giving to the Next Level

Some may see gift giving as a lost art, but this is only partially true. The etiquette of gift giving has changed over time, and we now have new rules to follow. We have more freedom to give cash and gift cards and the ease of online gift registries. 

However, by combining some of Emily Post’s original rules of etiquette with modern practices, we can be thoughtful in our gift choices and bring happiness to our friends and family. 

Are you interested in more practical guides? Browse our other posts for more useful life tips and information.