The art of gift­ing

Rules For The Modern Man - - Rules For The Modern Man -

The sci­ence of gift­ing is so com­plex that, if left in the hands of a su­per­com­puter, would take days to sort out. There are no log­i­cal so­lu­tions or fixed set of rules that can as­sure you of the ideal re­sult. Gift­ing, how­ever, is a sub­tle pro­jec­tion of the re­la­tion­ship you be­lieve you share with the re­cip­i­ent, as well as the sig­nif­i­cance of that re­la­tion­ship.

It is­nʼt just about the blue Tiffany box or red Cartier case that makes it a sure win, al­though we have been in­formed on sev­eral oc­ca­sions that they def­i­nitely help with scor­ing points. No, gift­ing is a ges­ture of thanks. Throw­ing money at the process sim­ply shows you value things in a fi­nan­cial sense. In­stead, choose some­thing you think they will love.


First of all, you have to un­der­stand the re­la­tion­ship you share with the gif­tee and the level of in­ti­macy in your re­la­tion­ship. Work re­la­tion­ships (bosses, peers, sub­or­di­nates and the sec­re­tary, who stands in a cat­e­gory of his/her own) should not be con­fused with per­sonal re­la­tion­ships (par­ents, friends, best friends, sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers and rel­a­tives near and far).

The first golden rule of gift­ing is to vive from the heart, not from the head. The sec­ond is to never repeat a gift, un­less you truly be­lieve both re­cip­i­ents will love the item. In that case, be up­front about it. The fi­nal rule is to never ask what some­one wants for a gift. You will never get a straight an­swer, or if you do, it will prob­a­bly be some­thing you wonʼt pur­chase, and the re­sult can be awk­ward. Be­sides part of good gift­ing is in iden­ti­fy­ing a suit­able gift.

Fi­nally, donʼt wait till the last minute to find a gift. Plan it out so that you have am­ple time to find the right item for the per­son.


There are no hard and fast rules. The best ap­proach may be to en­gage in a bit of snoop­ing to learn about the per­sonʼs in­ter­ests and pas­sions, and find a gift that ap­peals to those. If this proves too chal­leng­ing, we have some ex­cel­lent ideas.

YOUR SIG­NIF­I­CANT OTHER Break­fast in bed is a sure­fire way of ig­nit­ing joy and ap­pre­ci­a­tion, or a can­dle­light din­ner at a restau­rant (or if you ʼre a good cook, at home). Flow­ers are also an ex­cel­lent idea. Just re­mem­ber to stay away from the car­na­tions and pe­onies, and stick to roses, lilies or tulips. Jew­ellery is an ex­cel­lent choice as well, but one that speaks to her or your­self more per­son­ally adds to its ap­peal. Avoid lin­gerie or cloth­ing in gen­eral un­less you are ab­so­lutely cer­tain of her sizes.

BEST BUDIES Some­thing that you both en­joy do­ing to­gether, be it tick­ets to a sports game or just a great bot­tle of whisky to in­dulge in at home. What­ever you do de­cide to get, make sure itʼs some­thing that you can share, a bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that you can rem­i­nisce af­ter itʼs over. Other al­ter­na­tives in­clude a yacht party or a con­cert per­for­mance.

If it is to com­mem­o­rate an an­niver­sary, a good idea might be to of­fer some­thing that brings the fam­ily to­gether, like a framed por­trait or


per­haps a fam­ily lunch. If itʼs for a birthday, flow­ers and Sunday brunch with some cham­pagne is a good idea, or a sweater or cardi­gan. For dad, a good gift might be a nice bot­tle of wine or per­haps a piece of equip­ment for the sport he plays.

WED­DING Some peo­ple may regis­ter for gifts at a store or com­mu­ni­cate frankly about what they wish to re­ceive to close friends. You should of­fer some­thing that will be use­ful for their new life to­gether, per­haps china or some wine glasses. If you are not cer­tain of what they like, find out from a well-placed en­quiry with the grooms­men or brides­maids.

BUSI­NESS ACQUAINTANCEAvoid buy­ing ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing. A nice bot­tle of wine or writ­ing in­stru­ment works gen­er­ally, or stick with hob­bies or he en­joys, such as a good book. It shows youʼve been pay­ing at­ten­tion to him.

ASSISTANTA bou­quet of flow­ers and some­thing that she en­joys do­ing out­side of work, cou­pled with a hand­writ­ten note, offers a per­sonal touch. A hol­i­day or a small item of jew­ellery is also an ex­cel­lent op­tion to show that you ap­pre­ci­ate her help at the work­place.


Sure, con­ven­tional rules in­di­cate that you should buy presents for some­one dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, on no­table days such as Valen­tineʼs Day and an­niver­saries. But that does­nʼt mean that you should only re­strict your­self to these oc­ca­sions. It is some­times ap­pro­pri­ate to make up a rea­son to present a gift rather than fol­low con­ven­tion. It will cer­tainly yield more sur­prise and plea­sure than just of­fer­ing a stan­dard hol­i­day gift.


Cer­tain jobs, such as those in the gov­ern­ment ser­vice, re­strict em­ploy­ees from re­ceiv­ing gifts up to a cer­tain value so as to en­sure there is no im­pro­pri­ety. You should take note of that if you ʼre pick­ing an item for a friend work­ing in such an en­vi­ron­ment. In this case, it may be wiser to sim­ply in­vite them to a meal, rather than of­fer­ing a gift that may put them in an awk­ward po­si­tion. Other­wise, clear the gift with them.

Al­ways Wrap It Up

You’re not a Ne­an­derthal. If you’ve gone to the ef­fort of get­ting a present, make the ef­fort to have it wrapped and write a note.

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