Five Unbreakable Rules for Being a Good Gift Giver

The gifts you give to employees, friends, and lovers often say more about you than about them. And they reflect the strength of your relationship with the recipients. When we humans have done a good job of gift-giving, we can get an enormous sense of inner satisfaction.

To improve your gift- giving skills and avoid being seen as a dope, here are a few hard-and-fast rules to consider.

1. Know your relationship with the recipient of your gift. If you don’t understand the relationship, your gift may send the wrong message. If you are giving a motivational gift to staff members, give them something that reflects their value to the company—such as an engraved crystal award or wood plaque that visibly thanks them for outstanding performance or years of service. The employee gift should show appreciation or acknowledgment for a job well done. If you are giving a gift for a friend or lover, consider their gender. Women tend to want gifts that have emotional significance, while men like practical items. An engraved jewel box or crystal vase may make a good gift for a woman, while inscribed boots or cell phone cover, hammer or desk nameplate might be appropriate for a guy. In the case of retirement, is an item for the home better than a plaque meant only for display? Be sure the gift doesn’t express more feelings than the recipient expects. For example, you wouldn’t want to give a diamond ring to a person on the third date, or a highly personal item to a co-worker who may not appreciate the advances. Be aware of the level of closeness you have with the person or staff members before selecting a gift.

2. Know the person’s wants and needs; not your own wants and needs. What is important to him or her? What things does the recipient likes and dislike? What sorts of objects do they have in their office or home? What colors do they like or hate? What are their hobbies, interests, or personal style? You may not want to give a baroque item to an avid minimalist, for example. To strengthen the bonds between you and them, the gift must show that you have some insight into what makes them happy and pleased, rather than what makes you happy.

3. Consider the cost. It matters. The cost of a gift does matter in most cases. Is your gift much more or much less than the recipient expects? Reflect on the person’s expectations before you choose a gift. Gift giving can also bring negative feelings for both the giver and recipient. A person can immediately feel resentment if they feel the giver has not spent enough. They may feel they have been undervalued or cheated. On the other hand, in another situation, the gift need not be expensive, especially if it has been engraved with their name or another sentiment. If you are giving awards to a group of employees or entrants in some event, make each level of the awards reflect the level of the prize. For example, first, second and third place awards should descend according to the relative value. Think about the cost of the item in relation to the recipient and the occasion.

4. Match the gift to the occasion. An event that often occurs, such as a birthday, versus a retirement or wedding, which presumably only occurs once in a lifetime. The rare occasion calls for an especially thoughtful gift, while a birthday gift can be much less costly.

5. Check your assumptions about the recipient. Are they true? A gift choice is often based on assumptions about the recipient which may or may not be accurate. Gifts reflect the pictures others have of us in their minds. A gift transmits what you think of the person and what the person thinks of you

You can rarely go wrong, however, with an engraved personalized gift bearing the employee’s or loved one’s name. You’ll find thousands of appropriate gifts in our catalog at

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