LIFESTYLE: The 5 Christmas Gifting Rules you Need to Know

After a quiet Christmas 2020, our gift giving muscles are due for a major flexing in 2021.  To celebrate the launch of the Town & City Gift Cards ‘What’s Your Perfect Gift Christmas quiz, etiquette expert Paul Russell from Luxury Academy reveals the 5 Christmas gifting etiquette rules you need to know...

The ‘What’s Your Perfect Gift’ quiz helps users to figure out which present they would most like to receive for Christmas by answering five festive questions, including their favourite Christmas movie, favourite holiday food and the present they asked Santa for as a child, and gives them the chance to win a £100 Town & City Gift Card for their choice of over 70 Miconex local gift card programmes in the UK and Ireland. 

Answers to the quiz questions reveal the ideal present to suit the player’s personality in one of six possible categories; food and drink, shopping, leisure and attractions, health and beauty, services and accommodation. Each category represents a type of business where consumers can spend their local Town & City Gift Card. Players can then share their ideal present with friends and family.

1)     If you’re unsure what to get as a Christmas gift, ask.

One of the problems with Christmas gifting is that we’re all too afraid to ask what people really want. Gift Card and Voucher Association data found that 1 in 5 Christmas gifts end up in landfill with Brits receiving an average of two unwanted Christmas gifts each year. Yet, etiquette expert Paul Russell says asking what someone would like for Christmas is acceptable:

“It’s perfectly fine to ask someone what they would like as a Christmas gift,” said Paul. “We tend to feel awkward when someone asks us what present we would like because we are programmed from an early age to refuse when someone wants to buy us something. Ask a child what they want, and they will tell you without hesitation. If you’re unable to ask someone what gift they would like, then look at their hobbies and what they like to do and devise a present around that. Or, you could ask them to complete the What’s Your Perfect Gift quiz, it’s a good ice-breaker to start the conversation and gives you an insight into their interests.”

2)     If you’re giving a gift card, make it experiential

Gift cards tend to be seen as bland and uninspiring. But Town & City Gift Cards are local gift cards, which can be spent on experiences as well as products in a particular town or city, and provide essential support for many types of businesses. Paul Russell believes this type of multi-venue gift card can be a better gifting option:

“The key when you’re giving a gift is to make it personal to the person, and to put thought into why you feel it’s a suitable gift for them,” said Paul. “My preference would be for a gift card that includes experiential experiences like afternoon tea, a meal out or a trip to the salon, over a single retailer gift card. That way, you’re not making assumptions that they like a particular store, and you are giving them a choice. A nice touch when sending a gift card is to include a note, perhaps saying how you imagine they might use the card. Of course, they might use the gift card in an entirely different way, but you are showing the thought that has gone into the gift. If a handwritten note isn’t possible, sending the card in the post with a gift message is fine.”

3)     Resist the urge to ‘value match’

Ah, the dreaded moment when you realise that you’ve opted for a token Christmas gift and they’ve gone all out lavish. Do you apologise profusely and rush out immediately to buy a better gift? Absolutely not says Paul:

“The knee jerk reaction in this instance is to become flustered, apologise for your own gift and be terribly embarrassed about it. Instead, thank the person for their gift and be genuinely appreciative of it. Under no circumstances should you buy another gift to match the value of theirs. Over the top gifts outside of your immediate family are actually rather crass. Rather than value, think about whether the Christmas gift you are giving is appropriate, genuine and given with thoughtfulness. If it is, then it’s an acceptable Christmas gift. It would be incredibly bad manners for someone to show you that they dislike your gift. If they do, simply ignore their bad manners and move on.”

4)     Going for Christmas lunch or dinner, take a gift

Socialising was off the cards in 2020, but with 2021 gearing up to be packed with Christmas lunches, dinners and parties, the question is, what events require a gift? Town & City Gift Cards are available from £5, so can make good small host gifts.

“If you are attending a Christmas lunch or a dinner, then you should certainly take a gift, up to £25 in value,” said Paul. “It shows appreciation for their hosting of the event. Drinks parties are slightly different, if it’s an annual event and you don’t see them often, then a small gift would be appropriate. If you’re attending a Christmas event and you’re unsure what the gifting process will be, it is fine to ask the host if everyone is doing gifts or not.”

5)     Don’t forget to say thank you

An October 2021 GCVA survey suggests that 61.6% of shoppers are planning to do their Christmas shopping at a similar time this year. 33.3% will shop earlier and 5.1% opting for later. Local shopping is still a big trend with 32.3% of consumers purchasing a gift card in November 2021 to support local businesses. If you’re lucky enough to be the recipient of a Christmas gift, do you still need to bother to say thank you?

“We may live in a modern world, but appreciation never goes out of fashion,” said Paul. “A letter is better, but an email is fine. Your intention with your thank you note is to let the person know how much you appreciate the gift, and why. Just resist the urge to veer into gushing as this can come across as insincere.”

Town & City Gift Cards are local gift cards which can be spent with retail, hospitality, leisure and services in a particular town or city, keeping money locked into the local economy and making local shopping easy. They are available to buy from £5 to £500 with gift message and delivery available direct to the recipient.

New Town & City Gift Card programmes launched in 2021 in Swansea, Bishop’s Stortford, Hereford, Colchester, Eastleigh, Middlesbrough and Minehead, with new launches in November and December 2021 in Mid Ulster and High Street Ashbourne, and new digital and physical gift cards for Ipswich, Worthing, Bradford and Wimbledon.

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio