Some people are amazing at giving presents, they just seem to have a psychic ability to know precisely the gift you wanted or needed without you even uttering a word. For the rest of us though, gift giving is fraught with dilemmas; what would they like, how much should you spend, and are you even on gift giving terms? To help you with these festive questions and more, we asked etiquette expert and founder of Luxury Academy Paul Russell to share his 7 top Christmas etiquette tips.
1. Look at their hobbies and interests. Finding an ideal gift often requires a little thought, says Paul: “Think about what the person’s hobbies and interests are. What do they like to do, and do you have a shared hobby that could spark a present idea? Gifts that show thought and consideration are most appreciated by the recipient.”
2. The experiential connection. A 2017 study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that experiential gifts foster stronger relationships than material gifts. Paul Russell agrees: “If I were giving a gift card, my preference would be for one that includes experiences too, so the person can enjoy afternoon tea, or an evening at the theatre.” Thankfully, Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards can be spent with shops, restaurants, salons, theatres and much more besides!
3. Ask the ‘big question’. We tend not to like asking people what they’d like as a gift in case it reveals our lack of present buying mythical powers. Instead, we guess and in most cases we guess wrong with 1 in 5 Christmas gifts ending up in landfill. But, it turns out that guessing may not be required. “If you’re unsure what to get a friend or family member for Christmas, ask them,” said Paul. “They are likely to appreciate that you’ve taken the time to ask to ensure they receive a present they want or need.”
4. Make it personal. Whenever you send a gift, it’s nice to show the thought that has gone into it. To show that thought when sending a gift card, Paul suggests adding a note. “Alongside the gift card, you might include a short note saying that you know they enjoy the theatre or visiting new cities, and that you hope they will enjoy the gift card to do just that.” Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards can be sent directly to the recipient with a gift message to make it even easier.
5. Don’t worry too much about value. There’s a tendency to think that the more we spend on a gift, the more it will be appreciated. But actually, says Paul, over the top gifts can be seen as tacky: “Outside of your immediate family, ostentatious gifts are really not appropriate as they could make the receiver feel uncomfortable. If this happens to you, and you receive a gift of a much higher value, simply say a heartfelt thankful with a follow up thank you note. You should not, however, attempt to value match the gift.”
6. Sit down meal- take a token gift. Sit down meals like Christmas lunch or dinner are festive events that would be appropriate to take a small gift along to, to give to the host in thanks for their hospitality. “Choose a gift of up to £25 in value,” suggests Paul. Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are available to buy from just £5.
7. A thank you is never wasted. The thank you note is fast becoming a dying art, but if someone has taken the time to buy you a gift, do you really need to send a thank you note? Yes, says Paul: “Ideally, send a thank you letter. For Christmas gifts, start sending your thank you letters on the 2nd Say how much you appreciated the gift, and add a little detail on how you look forward to using it. Don’t get gushy though, a sentence or two is enough.”
Feeling ready to tackle your Christmas shopping? Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are available to buy here.