The art of gift­ing

The gift should serve as a cat­a­lyst in strength­en­ing the re­la­tion­ship, not a stand­alone com­mod­ity bought to please. It should con­vey your sen­ti­ments to the re­cip­i­ent, the feel­ings that you care, that you thought of the per­son while buy­ing the gift

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - WORKSMART -

Gauri Ch­habra

Di­wali, the fes­ti­val of lights, has be­come syn­ony­mous with gift­ing nowa­days. It means, it's time to start mak­ing your fes­ti­val gift lists. While find­ing the per­fect gift for your near and dear ones is al­ways a chal­lenge, han­dling gift-giv­ing at the work­place is an art. Do you give your boss a nice present? What's the best way to say thank to one of your col­leagues who pulled you out of the mess last time? What about the per­son on the other side of your cu­bi­cle who gave you a year- old fruit­cake last year?

Gift­ing has be­come such an art that it has taken the form of a pro­fes­sion in the form of 'eti­quette and im­age con­sul­tancy' that trains you on the fine art of gift­ing. Gift­ing your friends is very dif­fer­ent from gift­ing at the work­place. Here are a few tips to mas­ter the art of gift­ing:


The pri­mary at­tribute re­quired in gift­ing is em­pa­thy--the abil­ity to think like the other per­son. Be­fore se­lect­ing a gift for any per­son, ask your­self, "How would you feel on re­ceiv­ing that item as a gift?" If you will like to re­ceive such a gift, go ahead and give it. The trick to good gift giv­ing is to find some­thing that is ap­pro­pri­ate, based on taste, likes and dis­likes of each per­son you are in­tend­ing to give the gift to.


Gift­ing, to a large ex­tent, de­pends on the cul­ture of the place and also the cul­ture of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The gifts that look good in the west may not be taken in good taste in eastern coun­tries like In­dia and China. Gift­ing wine to a lady, for ex­am­ple, might be mis­con­strued in a high con­text cul­ture like In­dia, whereas it may be com­pletely nor­mal in western coun­tries.

Com­pany's pol­icy

The first thing you need to do is check the work­place pol­icy man­ual. Many com­pa­nies pro­vide clear guide­lines on what is and is not ac­cept­able. Even if your com­pany does have a pol­icy, you should ask oth­ers in your of­fice, since em­ploy­ees do not al­ways fol­low com­pany pol­icy care­fully. If it is your first fes­tive sea­son with the com­pany, ask your co-work­ers how gift giv­ing is han­dled and what the boss re­ceived from em­ploy­ees last year. This will keep you away from be­ing the odd

man out.

All in­clu­sion

When it comes to gift­ing at the work­place, fol­low the pol­icy of all in­clu­sion. If the num­ber of peo­ple at your work­place is too huge and you wish to in­clude only a spe­cific set of peo­ple, do not be ob­vi­ous while ex­clud­ing peo­ple from your gift circle. If you are very close to a cou­ple of peo­ple in the of­fice and want to give them gifts, ar­range a time for a gift ex­change away from work. If, for ex­am­ple, you work closely with as many as 20 col­leagues but like only some of them, do not give presents to only those, at least not in the of­fice.

Do not pass the par­cel

Di­wali gifts at times be­come like pass­ing the par­cel game. Once, one of my friends gifted a set of crys­tal glasses to me and it was hi­lar­i­ous to know that they were the same set that I had gifted to one of my col­leagues. The glasses had trav­elled all the way, passed through God knows how many hands and come back to me. That set me think­ing- Is Di­wali just pass­ing the par­cel? Since when did gift­ing lose its sanc­tity?

Be care­ful about buy­ing for your boss

Of all arts, gift­ing your boss

Give some­thing use­ful

Do not be per­sonal

is the most sub­tle art. The gift has to be nei­ther too covert nor too in­ert. It should not seem as if you are try­ing to win favour. If you are a boss, you can just be up­front and let­ting your team mem­bers know that you do not want to re­ceive hol­i­day gifts. This pol­icy can help keep the play­ing field level for ev­ery­one in the of­fice. If you want to recog­nise your boss, try writ­ing a nice thank you note or buy a thought­ful item that you know he or she can use. For ex­am­ple, you can buy your boss a book or a sou­venir that con­veys your re­spect with­out be­ing overtly os­ten­ta­tious. Small to­ken of es­teem from bosses to em­ploy­ees are al­ways wel­come and Di­wali is an oc­ca­sion all em­ploy­ees look for­ward to. While gift­ing, think in a phil­an­thropic man­ner and buy gifts for your sub­or­di­nates. You may be giv­ing ex­cel­lent salaries but noth­ing can match a well thought of Di­wali gift, which is a trea­sure be­yond mea­sure. Em­ploy­ees tend to pre­fer bonuses and ad­di­tional time off to a trin­ket. Ap­pro­pri­ate gifts for co­work­ers in­clude pic­ture frames, per­son­alised busi­ness card hold­ers, pro­fes­sional pens, sta­tionery, food bas­kets or fine choco­lates. These choices work for a wide range of peo­ple. Stay away from items like scented can­dles, body lo­tions or oils, lin­gerie and silk boxer shorts. Any­thing you can also give your sig­nif­i­cant other is not some­thing to give some­one in the of­fice.

Think phi­lan­throp­i­cally

Do­na­tions to char­i­ties are great ways to ex­press your grat­i­tude and cheer dur­ing Di­wali, and char­ity do­na­tions are par­tic­u­larly good gift ideas for bosses. If go this route, make sure you find out what char­ity your gift re­cip­i­ent sup­ports. You want to make sure it is mean­ing­ful to him or her. Work­ing with a char­ity is an­other good idea for a group of em­ploy­ees. In­stead of ex­chang­ing gifts, you and your co­work­ers could vol­un­teer for a day at an or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Value re­la­tion­ship not the gift

The gift should serve as a cat­a­lyst in strength­en­ing the re­la­tion­ship, not a stand­alone com­mod­ity bought to please. It should con­vey your sen­ti­ments to the re­cip­i­ent, the feel­ings that you care that you thought of the other per­son while buy­ing the gift. While gift­ing, do not mea­sure how ex­pen­sive was the gift you re­ceived last year. The best part is, to quote J Kr­ish­na­murthy: "To die ev­ery yes­ter­day, live ev­ery­day as the first day and treat it as a gift of God." Such should be your fresh­ness and in­no­cence while gift­ing this Di­wali. (The writer is a Pun­jab- based ed­u­ca­tion coun­sel­lor with 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. She can be con­tacted at gau­ri_­nag­pal@ya­

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.