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A Simple Guide to Being Great with Gifts


To always buy the perfect gift, you need to be informed. Firstly, what’s the occasion? Every gift giving occasion comes with its own etiquette, and you need to know what the general expectations are even if you know the person so well you’re comfortable breaking the etiquette and doing something slightly out of the ordinary. Secondly, is knowing the person you’re buying a gift for. You need to know their interests, even if their interests seem unsuitable for gift giving. If you know the person well enough, you’re on the right track – though sometimes it can be tough precisely because you know someone too well. If this is the case then you might just need the right suggestions to get your brain ticking over, and you’ll think of the perfect gift all by yourself. Either way, read on if you want to become someone who’s great with gifts.




The reason we tend to struggle with birthday gifts is that we sometimes don’t know what calibre of present would be acceptable, or what kind of budget is right. It’s always worth thinking back to the last time this person bought you a gift and how they dealt with these problems, but sometimes even that won’t work – either because this is the first birthday you’ve known them for, or because you haven’t got a clue how expensive their last gift was or where they got it.


It’s easy to feel intimidated or inadequate when the person you’re buying for is great with presents, but you should channel this into your determination to get it right. Think about the person’s interests. It might even be worth putting a list together of how their hobbies, interest and how they spend their free time. If they have a regular hobby, there’s probably an item or piece of equipment that they could really use. Or, they might’ve even been hinting at what they need for a while. If you’re still stuck, why not shower them with smaller gifts, all of which relate to the person’s interests.




Most of us struggle to think of ideas around Christmas, particularly if there are a lot of people to buy for. If you do have a long list of presents to get then be aware, firstly, that all of your recipients probably know that you’ve got a lot of people to buy for, and secondly, that Christmas presents don’t need to be quite so personalised as birthday presents.


Keep it simple; if they like reading, get them a book you think they’d like, and if they like sports you could get them a ‘greatest moments’ DVD. Don’t worry too much about it because there’ll be lots of presents changing hands so nobody will be dwelling on your gifts. You can even use Christmas to get jokey or Christmas-themed presents.


Corporate Gifts


The reason for giving a corporate gift are varied. It could be or for a leaving party, to celebrate and recognise a colleague’s length of service, or even as a gesture of gratitude to a client. You aren’t expected to know your employees and co-workers nearly as well as family and friends, and the stricter etiquette for corporate gifts means that you’ll never have to think of anything that’s completely original. Search the internet for ideas, and pick one. Corporate gifts should be smart, so perhaps an interesting object to go on the desk would be suitable, like a model with a sporting theme. Notebooks and picture frames are also an option, but if the recipient is an important person to you then you should take it a step further by buying them tumblers or a decanter, and possibly even a bottle to complement the gift. You can add a further touch of class by getting your company logo or motto engraved on the gift.


Mother’s or Father’s Day


Some families don’t get each other presents, they just send cards and make sure to see the person on that day, but if your family tradition is to buy gifts, you can interpret this with some freedom. For example, you could take your parent out for their favourite meal, and you could give them a token present while you’re out. Another idea is to treat your parent to a home-cooked meal, but if you do this then make sure you pull out all the stops. Get new crockery or dining wear to really impress them and show them they’ve brought up a civilised person who knows how to look after their guests! If you’ve made an effort like this then you might find that a jokey present, or one that harks back to a private shared experience, will be appreciated. There should be flowers and candles and a wine that compliments the food. They might insist that you don’t spend too much on them or that you don’t go to too much trouble, but it might be wiser to ignore this and surprise them with a wonderful night in.




Is this your worst nightmare every year? It can be all too easy to give into the pressure when it comes to anniversary gifts, particularly if your partner doesn’t seem to struggle, but there’s always a way to get it right. One of the easiest mistakes is to go over the top and upstage your partner, while on the other hand you don’t want to give them something disproportionately small.


Firstly, workout your household etiquette. Is there an element of competition between you when it comes to gifts, or do you think an overly elaborate present would come across as unsentimental and crass? Depending on how previous years have worked, you should either get your partner something that refers back to something they’ve said or a shared experience between you – or go completely the other way and take some savings out to pay for a weekend break to Venice, Paris or a romantic resort. If this is what you plan to do, then bear in mind this piece of advice; make sure all of the arrangements are made, don’t just buy the tickets and leave your partner to arrange childcare or transport arrangements. 

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