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Office gift exchange rules and proper etiquette

Office gift exchange rules and proper etiquette
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We all know there are a few basic ground rules one must follow when participating in a gift exchange.

For starters, everyone must agree on a price limit, and you’ll need to set a date so that everyone will know when to start shopping. It’s also a good idea to decide on what kind of presents you’ll be giving each other. Of course, you’ll also want to decide if everyone should wrap the gifts which come with an additional cost or if a bag will do the trick. Also, everyone should agree on whether you’ll be revealing Secret Santa’s identity, or will it remain a mystery?

Here is a list of the most common unspoken gift-giving etiquette rules we recommend everyone follow:

Unspoken Gift-Giving Etiquette Rules

Don't Ask People What They Want

We recommend you don’t ask people what they want as a gift because it can reveal who the secret giver is and some people might think it shows a lack of creativity and caring on your part. Even worse, some people might think you are too lazy to try and find something on your own. This can also make the recipient feel uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.

Do Buy Off the Registry

In general, you shouldn’t ask someone what they want but if someone posts a wish list online, it is okay to use it as a reference. If a gift registry is available, you should try and buy something on the list. This way, you know you’re giving the recipient something they want and will like.

A Gift Receipt Is Always a Good Idea if Allowed

If you’re buying someone an expensive gift, don’t be shy to include the receipt if you establish this rule in advance. This gives the recipient the flexibility to make an exchange for something that’s a better fit or more to their taste so that your money doesn’t go to waste if they don’t like the gift. It also helps both you and the recipient feel less guilty about the situation. This usually works if everyone agrees on a price range. 

If You're Giving a Gift Card, Always Present It with a Note

Gift cards can seem impersonal, but if you attach a thoughtful card explaining why you thought it was the best option, it shows that you were thinking of the recipient and not just taking the easy way out.

Before You Give Your Boss a Gift, Check Your Company's Policy

Usually, your boss is included in an office gift exchange but if they are not, you might feel tempted to buy them something and show your appreciation. Companies have different policies about giving and receiving gifts so before you buy a gift for your boss, make sure he or she can accept the gift to avoid a potentially awkward situation.

If You're Giving Gifts to Some Co-Workers and Not Others, Be Discrete About It

If your employer isn’t organizing a Secret Santa and you and some of your colleagues decide to organize your own gift exchange around the holidays, try to be discreet about the situation. The last thing you would want is to offend anyone else in the company who wasn’t invited to participate.

Stick to the budget

Some people might like giving lavish gifts but with a gift exchange, it is important that everyone sticks within the designated budget.

Cash Is not an Acceptable Wedding Gift

Cash and checks might be perfectly acceptable wedding gifts, but you shouldn’t give cash in a gift exchange. Avoid doing this at all costs. 

Avoid Regifting

It’s tempting to regift when you receive something you don’t want or already have, but it can be very hurtful if the person who gave you that gift finds out. A better alternative is to donate the gift or give it away. If you do regift, make sure the gift is something they want and is still in good condition. More importantly, make sure the recipient never finds out about it.

Presentation Matters

No matter how expensive a gift is, it can look bad if you don’t present it nicely. We are not saying you need to bend over backward when wrapping the present but you should at least make an effort. Avoid giving a gift that is unwrapped or has a price tag on it. Conversely, taking the time to wrap a gift or put it into a gift box or bag can make a less expensive gift look better.



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