GIFTS

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART -

how­ever, that the value of the gift card is in line with the prices on items in the store, says Lizzie Post, co-pres­i­dent of the Emily Post In­sti­tute. For ex­am­ple, don’t give a $25 gift card to a store where the ma­jor­ity of items cost sig­nif­i­cantly more.

Cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories. Just be­hind gift cards come cloth­ing or cloth­ing ac­ces­sories as the most re­quested hol­i­day gifts, ac­cord­ing to the NRF sur­vey, at 52 per­cent. But be care­ful with this one, said Sue Fox, au­thor of “Eti­quette for Dum­mies,” and founder of Eti­quette Sur­vival in Cal­i­for­nia. “Un­less you’re ab­so­lutely sure of the per­son’s tastes and size, pur­chase gift cer­tifi­cates or gift cards in lieu of cloth­ing,” Fox said. “You may have per­fectly good taste, but ev­ery­one’s pref­er­ences dif­fer, and a gift card to a fa­vorite shop may save the re­cip­i­ent from hav­ing to re­turn the gift.”

Ex­pe­ri­ence gifts. If you know what the per­son likes to do, these are bet­ter than ma­te­rial gifts, ac­cord­ing to a study at the San Fran­cisco State Univer­sity, which found that those who re­ceive ex­pe­ri­ence gifts were sat­is­fied with them longer than ma­te­rial gifts.

These could be any­thing from man­i­cures to tick­ets to a lo­cal play, sporting event, con­cert or movie, Fox said.

Gifts That May Not Be Re­ceived Well Ties and socks. Un­less they are re­ally unique, like a fan­tas­tic bow tie (and in this case, he should be a fan of bow ties al­ready), skip the ties, said Jac­que­line Whit­more, eti­quette ex­pert at The Pro­to­col School of Palm Beach. Same goes for socks. “I went to Ja­pan and found one-toe socks,” Whit­more said. “I gave a pair to my dog groomer, and she thought it was great be­cause they don’t sell them over here and be­cause they came from Ja­pan.”

Per­fume. You may love the scent, but it doesn’t mean that your friend will, Whit­more said, sug­gest­ing that you veer away from this cat­e­gory un­less you know the bot­tle that your re­cip­i­ent wears. Scents are tricky and also a lit­tle too per­sonal, which is why she also doesn’t rec­om­mend giv­ing can­dles, body lo­tion or any­thing else that gives off a strong odor.

Vac­uum cleaner. Your loved one may need a new one and may even be lust­ing af­ter a spe­cific model. But the hol­i­days aren’t a time to wrap it up with a bow un­less specif­i­cally re­quested, Whit­more said. “If my hus­band gave me a vac­uum, I would have felt in­sulted,” she said. We all have to do chores, and these chores usu­ally feel a tiny bit bet­ter if you’re do­ing them with nicer tools. But these would be best gifted an­other day or bought as ran­dom acts of kind­ness. The hol­i­days are a time to splurge on some­thing you might not nec­es­sar­ily need.

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