Is re-gifting OK? Yes, as long as the item is new and in the original package. Re-wrap the gift and make sure you remember who gave you the gift in the first place.
Which service people do you tip and how much? It’s totally up to you. If you have a friendly relationship with your mail carrier, a gift of $20 is a very nice gesture. Anything more than that is actually prohibited by the U.S. Postal Office. Do you employ a gardener? One week’s pay for gardeners is considered appropriate. You could also double your usual tip for your hair stylist and manicurist. For your office assistant, you could give a nice gift card worth $50 in addition to their end-of-year bonus - but that would depend on the length of time they have spent with the company and their position. Again, it’s up to you. For the boss in the company, purchasing a holiday gift is actually not necessary. However, you could talk to your co-workers to see if you all want to join together as a group to buy a gift card or restaurant gift certificate.
Should you give money to a friend or co-worker? No, not a good idea. When it comes to friends and co-workers, giving money can seem an unimaginative or an impersonal gift that has required no effort on the part of the donor. Accepting holiday cash can also be embarrassing, and the recipient is often left with no reminder of the gift after the cash is gone. And, what if you unintentionally cause offense by giving too little or even too much?
You have many friends so who do you buy a gift for? The rule is if you haven't seen a particular friend in a year, don't buy them a gift. They will feel uncomfortable because they probably did not buy you a gift.
What are the rules for company gifting? Usually the company will have this policy in their employee handbook. Always stay within the amount agreed upon and only buy for the individual you are to exchange with. If you want to give a gift to a co-worker, do it off company time.
How should you react to a surprise holiday gift? Act genuinely surprised and thankful. If you want, you can then send the gift giver a hand-written thank you note and a bottle of Champagne for New Year’s!
Should you take a gift to the host/hostess? Yes, you should always take a little something to show your appreciation. A bottle of wine, chocolates, flowers, a candle or homemade cookies are always appropriate host or hostess gifts.
Remember, people spend quite a bit of their time shopping for a holiday gift. Tell the gift giver how much you appreciate them and the gift by sending a hand-written thank you note. For many people, receiving your hand-written thank you note will also be a special and rare gift these days.
Happy holidays and happy gift giving!
SueAnn Brown of Scottsdale is a certified etiquette instructor and owner of It’s All About Etiquette. Brown teaches etiquette classes and workshops to both children and business professionals. For more information, visit www.itsallaboutetiquette.com.