What should I avoid when selecting gifts for friends or relatives?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,004
    Etiquette Expert Nancy Mitchell discusses what to avoid when selecting gifts for friends or relatives.

    Nancy Mitchell

    Nancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).

    Host: What should I avoid when selecting gifts for friends or relatives?

    Nancy Mitchell: Avoid generic gifts whenever you can I am not saying use that there is anything wrong with them but there are times when somebody knows you very, very well and when you give that of course a friend a gift card or subscription to a magazine it's not really going to go over very well. They are going to think that it was a last minutes thought they are going to think its something that you had on your hand. So, you have to consider the relation ship that you have with someone and choose accordingly.

    Try as best you can to have the gift with the interest of the person going to and have it reflect your relationship to that person or you casual the consequences are you very, very close relationship.

    Are they boyfriend or girlfriend or are they are relative when you are selecting a gift for some one who has everything remember the old phrase for the person who has everything it's a little bit more difficult. Then you need to be creative and some of these other things can come into account a donation, a hand made gift, baked goodies are wonderful gift for people anytime of the year or think about giving the gift of your time. Can you peps it for some one can you baby sits for them, can you give them some help in their refinishing their basement, can you drive him to medical appointment. There are so, many gifts that people cannot put in a box and wrap up that are heart felt since years and so, appreciated it's a gift of your time and your friendship.