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Most of us had asked this question: “Should we bring a gift?”
Giving gifts, though can give us an image of generosity and affection, can sometimes feel like a chore especially if we are buying presents just to get something in return or just because it is expected from us. Of course, we don’t want to appear too generous to the point of embarrassing someone. However, we don’t want to appear too stingy either if we decide not to bring anything for an occasion.
Gift-giving has been a worldwide custom – and has even spawned businesses dedicated to it – for it reflects the giver’s love, and gratitude, as he shares a part of him to the receiver almost always not asking anything in return but a simple ‘Thank you.” The idea of gift-giving has branched out to the business world as it has become part of marketing and negotiation strategies.
To give a gift or not to give a gift. That is the question!
There are certain times in which we could spare ourselves from all the trouble of gift-hunting and of course there are also occasions in which we have to go out of our way in order to bring something for an event. To avoid being caught in an embarrassing situation, here are some tips on when you should and shouldn’t bring a gift.
Common Occasions When You Should Bring a Gift
- Birthdays – if the celebrant is a close friend or a family member, a gift is always appreciated. This may be in form of cash (for family members) or sometimes, dinner or lunch with colleagues. If the celebrant is simply an acquaintance to whom we are not very close, a card is more appropriate.
- Christmas – this is the occasion wherein presents are given and accepted from everyone. During this season, there is no limitation on gift-giving.
- Weddings – nowadays, engaged couples usually keep a list or register with a department store so guests can have an idea on what to buy. Since this is an important day for couples, a gift is always appreciated, especially if you are a relative or a friend of the couple.
- Wedding Anniversaries – usually celebrated with close family members and friends so a gift is always appropriate. The couple also exchange gifts.
- Christenings – when a baby is christened, it’s common to give gifts the child can use like feeding bottles and baby clothes, but most godparents these days choose to give the parents cash to invest for the baby.
- Visiting someone’s home – if the person is sick or an elderly, food is best to bring along. If you are planning to spend a few days, you can bring whatever you think could make your host happy.
- House-warming –people celebrate their new home and a gift of house décor or fixtures will surely make the hosts happy.
- Mothers’ Day – everybody celebrates their mothers. Gifts can range from flowers, to more expensive presents for the most important woman in our lives.
- Fathers’ Day – a celebration for the man we all look up to. Fathers will be grateful for a small gift, a bottle of wine, or something special.
When You Are Expected to Bring a Gift
When you received an invitation to the wedding of a close friend’s son or daughter and you have known the bride or groom since childhood.
- When you were invited to accompany friends to a birthday party of somebody’s seven-year-old child. A small gift for the child will be appreciated.
- If you were invited to a dinner party your boss is hosting. Your boss will be happy to receive a little something from you.
- If you are on a business trip and you are to meet business partners abroad. Something from your country or region will be a good gift to establish good business relationships.
- When you were invited to a graduation party and you are close to the celebrant or to his/her family.
Gifts Are Unnecessary When:
- Gifts are usually unnecessary when you were invited to a friend’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. Some still choose to bring food and wine which the host/hostess will graciously receive, but your gift is not really a must.
- Gifts are also not expected if it is a wedding of someone you are not close to. Also, if you receive an invitation to someone’s bachelor or bachelorette party, you can opt to give a small sentimental gift which will be appreciated, but you can come just to congratulate the future bride or groom.
- It is also not necessary for you to bring a gift if you have been asked to accompany a friend to a housewarming party of someone you have never met. In the first place, you have no idea what to give.
- Lastly, if you receive a gift from your boss, whatever the occasion, or if it is for a job well done, you don’t have to reciprocate.
If you still are not sure whether or not you should give a gift or not, just bring something that you are willing to give wholeheartedly, without having to stretch your budget just to make an impression. If you don’t feel like bringing a present, you can always decline an invitation and send a card instead. For what good is a gift if it was given in a perfunctory way? Oftentimes, a small keep sake, a greeting card, flowers, or just your presence and the fact that you did not forget an important occasion is enough to make any celebrant happy and grateful, and that, I believe, is the true essence of gift-giving.