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Updated: October 25, 2013 16:57 IST

Present perfect

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A safe bet Flowers usually work photo: murali kumar k.
A safe bet Flowers usually work photo: murali kumar k.

Flummoxed about the rules of nicety that govern gift-giving? RADHIKA SANGAM gives a few pointers to take the pressure out of prezzies

Apart from the parties and the bling, the festive season is also about gifting. Nothing tops the feeling of giving or receiving the perfect gift. Here are some tips to offer the perfect gift

Make your offering thoughtful and fun: Your present should be something the recipient enjoys. For instance, don’t give a book to someone who doesn’t like to read. Before you hone in on a gift, watch and listen. Giving the person the very thing they’ve been dying to buy is sure to bring a delighted smile to their face. Crowd-pleasers include goodie-baskets of cosmetics for teenage girls or young women, electronic gadgets for men, crystal or cut-glass for home-makers and pooja-related items like silver kumkum boxes, incense holders or sandalwood statuettes of deities for the elderly.

Don’t spend on gifts to show off: As a rule, gifts should be touching, not disproportionately pricey. Gifts are meant to be an expression of affection and goodwill. A display of filthy lucre shouldn’t come into it at all. Spend wisely to get something that shows how much you care, not how much you earn!

It is bad manners to give a gift with the price tag still on. That’s like saying, ‘I spent this much on you, give me an equally expensive present back’, or even worse ‘be grateful that I gave you such an expensive present’. Gift vouchers also violate the golden rule of gift-giving: the receiver should never, ever be made aware of how much money you’ve spent on their present.

Pick an appropriate corporate gift: Steer clear of overtly personal gifts like perfumes and clothing, or a cheeky present like a T-shirt with a naughty message (your colleague may not think it’s funny). Corporate presents need to be fairly expensive, well-packaged and a wee bit impersonal: don’t scrawl ‘with love’ across the card when the present is going to your boss or a co-worker. Corporate presents need to be more expensive than regular presents, and specially packaged to look fancy, but not too loud. Ask specifically for a corporate gift pack to ensure that your offering strikes the right note.

Receive gifts graciously: If you give out wonderful gifts that people are likely to treasure all their lives, chances are that you’ll probably get quite a few nice presents in return, too. Don’t start with ‘you shouldn’t have’. A horrible silence, a lukewarm thank-you or even asking the person for the bill so you can exchange the gift (quelle horreur!) are total no-nos.

If someone’s given you an expensive present, obviously, they must have had the money to pay for it, too.

The best adjunct to any gift is goodwill — your sincere good wishes are what make a present special, so give with an open heart!

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