The Dilemmas of Gift Etiquette

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Going to an old friend’s wedding & wondering what gift to give? Sometimes occasions are such that you start wondering whether a gift should be given at all. Well don’t worry- everyone’s been there at some point of time in their social lives. Well here’s a few tips to help you sail through such awkward situations.

Scenario 1

Going to someone’s eight year old child’s birthday? You may not have a kid of your own but you are friends with some of the other kid’s parents at the party. Well a gift may not be expected from you, but a little one for the birthday kid would be surely appreciated by the kid’s parents. Now the big part- What Gift? Well think about the party theme, it might just help you to come up with something.

Scenario 2

Your boss just invited you to a dinner party, which he/she is hosting. That’s an absolute YES. It’s just good etiquette to bring a host/hostess gift for dinner parties.

Scenario 3

Just got an invitation to a graduation ceremony? Well, whether you decide to go or not is up to you, but definitely send a gift. A card is often appreciated in such events.

Scenario 4

Well, what about a wedding of a close friend’s son/ daughter & what if you can’t show up due to some prior commitment or something turning up unexpectedly? Make sure you send a gift to the couple along with your regrets for not being able to attend. Certain online gift giving sites like Florist Xpress will help you prepare such gifts for situations like this. They will send those gifts, which will be customized according to your needs & situations. Of course, you can choose from the couple’s gift registry, but it’s okay to surprise them with a gift you think they will like.

Scenario 5

In case you’re going to a close friend’s engagement party & not sure if there will be “gift giving,” don’t hesitate to call up the host/hostess to get that cleared up. How do you know about it? Just ask if there is a theme to the party for the gifts. If you still don’t know whether you should bring a gift at all, then just get a small token of your appreciation for the couple. That will cover things up.

Scenario 6

Now comes a tough one. What to do when you’re on an international business trip. Remember it differs from country to country- culture to culture. Make sure you find out what the traditions are in the countries where you are travelling to. In some Asian & Latin American countries one is often expected to give a gift during the first meeting. In Western cultures it is often reserved only for those with close personal relationships.

Scenario 7

Another definite YES is a house warming party. Bring one for the new homeowners. It comes within proper “gift giving etiquette” to get a gift when you are visiting your friend’s new home for the first time- whether they have a party or not.

Scenario 8

So here is a case where you may or may not bring a gift. Like when you are at a friend’s home to celebrate Dussehra with his/her family or when you are at a neighbour’s home to celebrate 15th August party. Although gifts are not expected on these occasions, but you may give one to the host/ hostess to show your appreciation. Again the gift could be themed for the occasion.

Scenario 9

Gifts are not mandatory at your friend’s bachelor/ bachelorette party, bring one may add to the party of fun. You could always bring a small sentimental gift to express your compliments for the groom or bride to be.

Scenario 10

If you are unable to go to a wedding of an acquaintance (not a close friend), just send your regrets. Gifts are not required in such a case.

Scenario 11

Another situation like a housewarming party of a friend’s friend, who you never met. A gift is not necessary, even if your friend is giving a gift to that person.

Scenario 12

You are not expected to reciprocate, when you get a gift from your boss, whether it is a holiday gift, a birthday gift or just a thank you gift.

If you can’t find a solution in any situation, whether to give a gift or not, just go ahead & give one. Everyone likes people who give gifts. You don’t even always have to have a reason to give a gift when it comes to your loved ones. Nowadays online gift giving sites like will let you send gifts even from the other end of the world & pleasantly surprise your friends & family.