Gift-giving Guide: Weddings, Birthdays and more!

Giving gifts is a great way to show affection or respect for others. Choosing the right gift, however, can be a time-consuming process. Every gift recipient has his or her own individual style and tastes, making it necessary to shop carefully. Business gifts must also be appropriate and professional, adding another dimension to the shopping process. Following the rules of gift-giving etiquette can prevent buyers from making embarrassing mistakes and help ensure that recipients enjoy their gifts.


Graduation parties are not just for high school graduates. There are also pre-school graduations, kindergarten graduations, middle school graduations, and college graduations. Picking the right gift involves focusing on the graduate’s age and interests. High school graduates heading off to college might appreciate cash that they can use to pay for books, college fees, or weekend fun. If the graduate is a young child, a small gift that costs approximately $20 is usually appropriate. Young graduates will treasure toys, games, and other gifts. Graduating from college is a momentous occasion, so shop carefully. Good gifts for college graduates include leather day planners, framed motivational posters, engraved pens, or other items they can use in their new careers.


Noted etiquette expert Peggy Post says that a wedding gift should represent the love and support of the giver. How much a gift costs often depends on the relationship between the giver and the recipients. If the bride and groom are colleagues, expect to spend $75.00 to $100.00. If they are friends or relatives, $100 to $125 is a good price range. For close relatives and close friends, expect to spend $100 to $150. Many brides and grooms register for their desired gifts, so this takes some of the guesswork out of shopping. However, shopping early is the key to getting a gift in your price range. Waiting until the last minute makes it likely that the registry will only have a few items left. Etiquette experts recommend that those not attending the wedding still send gifts to the bride and groom. If the bride and groom did not register, buy a gift that represents their relationship or a special time in their lives. If the couple holds an engagement party sometime before the wedding, an engagement gift might also be necessary. Appropriate engagement gifts include restaurant gift certificates, wedding planning supplies, wedding scrapbook kits, and gift certificates for romantic spa packages.

  • The Wedding Gift Etiquette Guide: This article addresses some of the most common etiquette questions related to buying wedding gifts.
  • Gift Etiquette: This article contains advice for those tasked with buying a wedding gift. It offers tips for buying gifts when the couple is registered and when the couple is not registered.
  • Wedding Guest and Gift Etiquette: This article offers tips for buying a wedding gift and includes information on appropriate wedding guest etiquette.

Baby Showers

Baby shower gifts are supposed to help expectant mothers defray the costs of caring for a new baby. Some mothers register for gifts, so check the shower invitation for information about an existing registry. When shopping from a registry, be sure to ask a store representative to remove the gift from the registry once it is purchased. This will help other shower attendees avoid buying duplicate gifts. Purchase clothing and linens in neutral colors if the expectant mom has not shared the sex of the baby. If the guest of honor is not registered for any particular items, buy a practical gift that she is sure to use. Diapers, infant clothing, baby blankets, baby socks, and similar items will get plenty of use. Since many babies outgrow the newborn clothing size within a week or two, consider buying 3M or 6M clothing. This will give the new mom plenty of options when dressing her baby.

  • Baby Shower Gift Giving Etiquette: This article offers tips on selecting a shower gift, choosing how much to spend, and deciding whether to buy a separate gift for the dad-to-be.
  • Top 10 Baby Shower Gifts: This list of the top ten baby shower gifts explains why each gift is appropriate for an expectant mom.
  • Gift and Etiquette Q&A: Etiquette expert Leah Ingram answers etiquette questions about every gift-giving occasion. She tackles the dilemma of buying gifts for second baby showers and deciding whether to buy a gift if the buyer is not attending a shower or party.


Buying the right birthday gift is a task that many people dread. The age, gender, and individual preferences of the recipient are all factors to consider when shopping for a gift. When buying for a child, ask his or her parents if there are any needed items or items to avoid buying. Some parents do not approve of certain toys or clothing lines, so asking first is a good way to avoid buying a gift that will not be used. Asking for suggestions is also a good way to avoid buying a child something he or she does not like. Although some girls like dolls and clothes, other girls would prefer to receive trucks or sports equipment. When giving a birthday gift to an adult, consider the person’s hobbies and career. Someone who loves to make scrapbooks might like to receive a scrapbooking kit or new scrapbooking embellishments. Birthstone jewelry is another good option, as there is a specific birthstone for each month of the year.


Housewarming parties are typically held when someone purchases or rents a new home. This party is a way to celebrate this milestone and all the hard work that went into achieving it. Housewarming gifts are typically practical items that can help the new homeowner or renter get settled. There is no set amount to spend on a housewarming gift, so buyers have many options. Serving spoons, barware, silverware, home décor items, pots and pans, knife sets, and houseplants are just a few of the many suitable gifts for a housewarming party.

Business Parties

Entertaining business associates is just one way to build collegial work relationships. When hosting vendors or supervisors, it is also a good way to make career advancements. Proper gift-giving etiquette is crucial when giving a gift to a colleague, supervisor, or client. When buying a gift for a professional associate, it is important to avoid buying gifts of a personal nature. Jewelry, clothing, and related items are inappropriate in most business situations. Gender-neutral professional gifts, like engraved pens or business card holders, are more appropriate. When purchasing an engraved gift, ensure that the recipient’s name is spelled properly. When giving a holiday gift, there is a little more leeway. Bottles of wine, crystal holiday ornaments, and personalized wine bottle stoppers are just a few examples of appropriate holiday gifts. If a client or associate is from a different country, be sure to follow that country’s gift-giving customs.