December 13, 2006 EditionAlso in this issue...
By Linda Lou Moore
The holiday season goes hand in hand with gift giving. During this time we usually think of buying gifts for relatives and friends. There are, however, questions that arise about tipping and other types of gifts. These situations can sometimes be confusing. For example:
- What is appropriate for holiday tipping?
- What is appropriate for business gifts?
- What is appropriate for teachers' gifts?
Here are some frequently asked questions.
Who and when should I tip?
During the holiday season, we usually think of those who have helped us throughout the year. Since circumstances vary, your decision to tip may depend upon:
- How long you've known the person.
- How often you've used their services.
- The manner in which they have performed their services.
A tip is usually given in an envelope using new bills. A hand written thank you note should accompany the money.
During the holidays may I give a gift as a tip, rather than giving money?
Don't assume everyone would prefer a gift rather than money as their holiday tip. However, if you consider giving a gift as a tip rather than money, you need to know the person very well. This can be tricky. It is important that you know the person's likes and their dislikes so that you select a gift that they will enjoy.
How do I know if I'm supposed to give a holiday gift where I work?
Company customs and policies differ, so here are some things to consider. Many companies have rules concerning holiday gift giving. Make sure you are aware of company policy. Some companies entertain by giving Christmas parties and/or gifts. Other companies give food as holiday gifts. Check with human resources, your boss, department head or other colleagues to see whether or not gifts are given.
What is an appropriate gift for a business colleague?
Business gifts are different from the personal gifts you give to close friends, or to your husband or wife. With that in mind here are a few "do's" and "don'ts" to help make it easier when giving a gift to a business colleague.
- Do try to find out a colleague's interest or hobby.
- Do consider business gifts such as gift certificates, tickets to an upcoming event, plants, a donation to charity or to an organization in the person's name, books or baked goods.
- Do think of the person and consider his/her likes or dislikes.
- Do include a hand-written note that accompanies the gift.
- Don't give very intimate gifts.
- Don't give gifts with a sexual innuendo.
- Don't give very expensive or lavish presents.
- Don't give very personal gifts.
The reason these gifts fall into the don't category is that these types of gifts can make the recipient feel uncomfortable, or the gift may be misconstrued.
What is an appropriate gift for my child's teacher?
Giving gifts to teachers may be somewhat confusing if you do not know the teacher or the needs of the class. A useful gift does not require a lot of money to be used and appreciated. A gift may come from an individual or the entire class.
If you are unsure of what to give, here are some suggestions from area teachers. After reading these suggestions, you may have some other ideas.
Giving something for the class to share is a great idea. Board games or card games are always appreciated. Other ideas include basic classroom supplies, art supplies, magazine subscriptions, playground games and rainy day games.
Age appropriate books are another option. Check with the school librarian to see what reading incentive programs would be of benefit to the classroom.
Volunteer your time. Any amount of time you can give will be appreciated. Check with your school to see how you can help.
Ask about the school's policy concerning baked goods for the classroom or the teachers' lounge.
There are also several suggestions for personal gifts for teachers.
Gift certificates for items such as movies, books, music and food gives the teacher the convenience of deciding how and when to use the gift.
Other ideas include note cards, picture frames and desk calendars (many have themes such as word of the day, cartoons, historical facts and inspirational thoughts).
Treating your teacher with respect and courtesy, just as your teacher treats you, is a gift that can be used throughout the school year.
Linda Lou Moore is trained and certified by The Protocol School of Washington D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at P.O. Box 145, Paragould, AR, 72451 or at email@example.com.
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