Gift Giving in America – #20067

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Gift Giving in America – #20067

Gift Giving in America

In many cultures, there is a well-defined structure for giving and receiving gifts. There are rules for when a gift is appropriate, what the gift might be, and what is said when the gift is given or received. Although traditions are less rigid in the U.S., there are things that are helpful to know.

When to give a gift in AmericaWhen to Give a Gift

1. Visiting: If you are visiting for the first time, invited for a special meal, or will be staying overnight, arriving with a gift would be especially appropriate. Though always appreciated, gifts are not expected every time you visit someone in their home.

2. Significant events in a person’s life: A gift is expected for the person or persons being honored at such events as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, baptisms, christening, and retirements.

3. Christmas: Because Christmas is a holiday with a particular emphasis on gift giving, friends and those in significant relationships often give each other Christmas presents. Additionally, you will be expected to give a gift to your hosts when invited to celebrate Christmas with them,; you will likely receive one as well. Giving Christmas gifts at the office can be tricky; ask a coworker what the tradition is at your company. Often the tradition of “drawing names’ is used. The names of individuals are written on slips of paper and put into a container; everyone “draws” (takes out) a name and is to buy a gift for that person only. A price limit is usually specified. Friends and those in significant relationships often give each other Christmas gifts.

4. Showers: A shower is a gift party for a couple who is getting married for who are expecting a baby. The whole purpose of the event is to prepare the couple for their new situation with appropriate gift items to begin their new phase in life. Usually gift possibilities are “registered” (selected and listed) at various stores and websites, making gift purchasing easy. Information about these “gift registries” is usually included with the shower invitation.

Safe Gifts to GiveSafe Gifts to Give

1. Items representing your home country. Americans, being geographically isolated, are enamored with foreign cultures and would appreciate a gift of any kind from your home country.

2. Food. Whether it be a box of chocolates or a gift basket of cheeses, food is nearly always appropriate with a couple of considerations: make sure your recipient drinks alcohol before giving wine, and make sure he/she is not vegetarian before bring sausage!

3. Flowers. These, too, are almost universally appropriate gifts. To make it easy for a host, you can choose to have them sent in advance of your arrival.

4. Registered Gifts. If there is a shower, you will most likely be able to select a gift from a store registry list.

How to give a gift in AmericaHow to Give a Gift in America

When visiting someone, present the wrapped gift (if not flowers or wine) when you are first invited in and are greeting each other. Smile, look your host in the eye and say something like: “Thank your inviting me; this gift/these flowers/ this bottle of wine are/is for you” and hand them your gift. They will likely smile and thank you as they take the gift. If attending a party in someone’s honor, there may be a designated table where you can leave your gift.

How to receive a gift in AmericaHow to Receive a Gift in America

If someone gives you a gift, smile and look them in the eye as you say something like, “How kind of you to think of me.” If it is wrapped, and it is not an event where you would be expected to unwrap gifts later, you may ask, “Should I unwrap this now?” They may say, “Yes,, please” or otherwise, something like, “You can wait until later.” If you do open the gift, make a positive comment, e.g. “I always wanted one of these,” or “What a beautiful color!”

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