Manner Monday: How do you handle an unexpected gift?

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Another reader sent a great question for this “gift-giving” time of year!

“We have a lot of friends and all of us also have a lot of family, so the trend is to forego gifts from couple to couple or friend to friend.  But, now and then we are surprised by a gift, and then need to figure out how to reciprocate.  I picked up some of my favorite tea at Pike Place Market when in Seattle last week, and will give those out but will have an extra one or two if needed for a quick “turn around” on a gift.

I don’t like the idea of giving solely because someone else did, but then it’s a bit embarrassing if someone gives and we have not planned anything for them.  Any tips?  These could apply to business-to-business giving as well as personal/friend gifts.  Thanks!”  – Carol M.

I think we all have been placed in this awkward situation where we’re left feeling “empty handed”.

As awkward as it may be at the time, an honest and heartfelt “Thank you” is really all you need to offer in return.  Especially if you truly do not have a gift planned for him or her. I think we have a tendency to get caught up in the “oh no, I don’t have anything for them”, instead of appreciating the moment and the gesture.  Then, take a few minutes to send a hand-written thank-you note expressing your appreciation not only for the gift, but also for their friendship.

I also do love your idea of having a few extra of your “favorite thing” on hand and ready to go.  “Favorite thing” gifts are always special because they are an extension of you and they are something you love, which will shine through to the recipient.  By keeping a few under the tree for friends who pop by, a few in your office and even a couple in the car, you will always be prepared “just in case”.

Readers, I’d love to hear from you; what do you do when you find yourself in this situation?  Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


On another note… If you still need Christmas gifts, we have darling place mats that help the little ones in your life get a jump start on their table manners and make dining more fun?  We also have personalized stationery in a variety of color choices. Hop over to our Products Page to take a peek.

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