Welcome to another Social Graces Saturday. Today we are going to discuss some of the etiquette of Christmas. Specifically, we are going to address Christmas gift giving. I decided to write this after seeing so many people stressed and broke after what should be the most joy filled, special, time of the year. I follow these myself and I hope you find them helpful next holiday season.
My suggestions for etiquette regarding gift giving at Christmas time are as follows.
- First and foremost, give from the heart. Base your gift giving in love and gratitude. Either for a family member or in appreciation for a job well done. What I call appreciation gifts are gifts given to your housekeeper, mailman or member of the clergy. No matter what the gift is if it is given, if it is given out of love and gratitude, it will be well received.
- The next suggestion is to set a budget. First, make a list of people that you wish to buy for, including ideas about what you might want to give them. This will help focus your buying. I do this, and then as I buy I write down where I am at in my budget. This also helps me keep my spending “even” for everyone on my list. Let’s face it, some people are just easier to buy for then others. This strategy helps keep spending in check. You might find that if you budget, and make a list, then from there organize your list into a fixed budget . For example, I am spending x amount on immediate family, x amount for extended family and friends, and x for service gifts and so on.
- I cannot stress this next suggestion enough. DON’T spend more than your budget. I know this can be difficult, but believe me it’s worth it in the long run. Did you know that 28% of Americans were still paying off last Christmas when starting to shop for this Christmas??? That is absurd. I promise your child will not remember how much you spent on them for Christmas. They will definitely remember how you made them feel, and the time you spent with them. Blowing your budget will not make them feel more loved.
- Once your gifts are purchased I suggest organizing your gifts until they are wrapped. Label a large shopping bag or trash bag with the names of those on your list. As you purchase gifts put them in the appropriate bag. This will make wrapping gifts much easier.
- When you are ready to start wrapping, wrap each person’s gifts one person at a time. Once the gifts are wrapped return them to the labeled bag. I even add my itemized list for that person to the bag in case I am still in the process of buying and wrapping. That way I can keep track of what has been purchased and wrapped. This will also help you stay on track with budgeting. If you have stocking stuffers for that person keep a smaller bag inside the larger one labeled stocking.
- For all gifts outside of the immediate family, keep a bag for all those gifts. For instance, a bag labeled service gifts, an extended family bag, and a hostess gift bag. The hostess gift bag in particular will help during the hectic holiday season. This alleviates some of the stress surrounding taking a hostess gift to all the holiday parties that you attend.
- My last suggestion is to buy your wrapping paper, new ornaments, Christmas cards, etc. after Christmas is over and deep discounts are available. For instance, the Queen Bee and I just had a conversation at Christmas about how pretty foil paper is, and how much easier it makes the job of wrapping. Foil papers tend to be heavier and more expensive, so the time to buy them is right after Christmas when you can buy it reasonably.
I hope you have enjoyed this Social Graces Saturday. Until next time, stay joyous, stay savvy and as always stay glamorous.