Picking a holiday gift? Ask these questions 1st

A TIME FOR GIVING: In choosing a present for someone, the very first question to ask yourself is why you are giving the gift in the first place.


    Nov 24, 2014

    Picking a holiday gift? Ask these questions 1st

    BLACK Friday is around the corner and there is just one month to Christmas, which means you will soon be trawling online or prowling the malls in search of gifts for those you care about - whether at home or in the workplace.

    But this also means that your annual "headache" is upon you: What to buy?

    Author Mary Mitchell has come up with a "holiday gift quiz" which will hopefully guide you in your gift selection this year. Here are some things to ask yourself:

    Why am I giving this gift?

    Is it sincere?

    Am I giving without strings attached?

    Does it reflect the receiver's taste - not mine?

    Is it too extravagant?

    Is it kind? (beware of gag gifts)

    Is it appropriate? (for example, no candy for someone on a diet)

    Can I present it in person?

    Is it presented beautifully?

    Do I feel good about giving it?

    The first point is the most important consideration. The very first question to ask is why we are giving the gift in the first place.

    We give gifts for lots of reasons: to say thanks to a business associate for an introduction, to someone who entertained us in his home, to a person who provided information that helped us land some business, or to someone who treated us to a meal.

    This just scratches the surface of the many reasons for gift-giving. Let's not forget simply honouring someone who is always there for us, for advice, a cheer-up or to talk us down from the ledge when we are having a meltdown.

    Also, the value of any gift is enhanced by the fact that it arrives on time and is nicely wrapped.

    Handwritten notes embellish the gift. They set us apart because it's clear that we spent our time and attention to let the receiver know why we are giving the gift. Especially in these tough economic times, personal dedication goes a long way in overcoming modest material resources, that is, a gift or presentation that does not cost a lot.

    Having attended to the points above, there is one final question: Do I feel good giving this present?

    Chances are that, when you really pay attention to the person who will receive the gift, the answer is a resounding yes.


    Mary Mitchell has written several books on the subject of etiquette, now in 11 languages, most recently The Complete Idiot's Guide To Modern Manners Fast Track and Woofs To The Wise. She is the founder of executive training consultancy The Mitchell Organisation ( The opinions expressed are her own.