Holiday Special: The No No Gifts

Now that we’re all experts in gift giving etiquette, I thought it would be fun to go over a few of the universal off-limit gifts. These items are typically uncouth to give to particular people for the holidays… Below is a quick reference guide to help you properly shop for all those included on your list.

Unless you’re romantically involved with someone, do not give them perfume or cologne (unless it’s a close family member or a good friend). Aside from having major romantic implications, it could also suggest that you think they smell bad…

Again, intimates are also reserved for those who are romantically tied. Fun pajamas are great, but frilly lingerie, not so much.

While alcohol is usually an excellent gift, mind the recipient. If you know them well and know they drink alcohol, by all means, give them the bubbly! If not, be careful. Last year I decided to do group gifts by giving everyone a bottle of champagne. However, I had to be careful since I knew a few people were sober. In this situation, Lizzie Post, co-author of the 18th Edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, suggests a two-step approach. Firstly, “Is their sobriety public?” If so, you are in the clear to give them an alternative gift such as chocolates. Secondly, if the person is on the quieter side about their sobriety, give everyone the same gift at the party. Or if you are going to be giving gifts in private, ask them ahead of time if they’d prefer to have something else. Post suggests, “Sometimes the best way to go about it is quiet honesty… It’s okay to reach out to someone if you’re coming from a place of love and respect.” This way you can make them feel comfortable and avoid accidently outing their sobriety to others. Also, be cautious of giving alcohol to pregnant women. If you do decide to give a pregnant woman an alcoholic gift, include a note saying it is for them to enjoy after the baby arrives.

Speaking of taboos, what’s the most inappropriate gift you ever received?

XO Lauren

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