Guidelines for Gifts Back to Articles
The gifting process can be one of many highlights at your next event. But it also can be one of the most confusing. Try our suggestions for presenting and accepting gifts with grace:
When You're Giving
Some events—such as weddings—call for tokens of celebration. But other situations may not be so clear-cut. Basic etiquette can take away the guesswork:
When in doubt about bringing a gift for an informal event such as an open house, it's safe to bring something small that suits the host. For example, give a flower arrangement or bottle of wine.
- Make an effort to send gifts early or give them on the day of the event, but remember that it's never too late to send a gift if you forgot. Respect invitations that specifically request "No gifts, please."
- If you don't see a gift table, hand your gift to the host (or gift attendant). It's considered polite to let the host know he or she can open it later.
- It's fine to regift a present if it's in the original package (be sure to rewrap it though), the person who gave it to you is not in attendance and you're positive it suits the recipient.
When You're Receiving
When your guests show up bearing gifts, be a grateful recipient:
- As you open gifts, take a moment to jot down what each guest gives you so you can show your appreciation with a personal thank-you note after the party.
- Go ahead and accept unexpected presents at casual events—be sure to sincerely thank the guest right away. If possible, avoid drawing attention from other guests.
- It's OK to open gifts in front of guests if you think they expect it or will thoroughly enjoy it. But if the party is not at your house (you don't want to risk losing anything) or if you're pressed for time, save the gift-opening for later.
- For gifts sent and received before an event, send a thank-you note to the giver to acknowledge that you've received the package.
Dressing Up the Gift Table
Decorate your table so it's just as attractive as the wrapped packages it will hold:
- Position a gift table at the party entrance to make it easy for guests to spot. Draw attention to the table with a floral centerpiece or adorn it with small potted plants. You can find both at your neighborhood Publix when you're shopping for other party essentials, and they can double as take-home favors for guests. To give your table more visual appeal, set the plants on stands of varying heights.
- Set out a decorative box with a slot to house cards at a large event such as a wedding or anniversary party.
- Designate a trusted friend or relative to be the gift attendant at a large event. This person can help direct guests with presents and cards to the table, keep an eye on valuables during the party and take care of gifts when the party is over.