20-40-60 Etiquette: Giving (and receiving)!
(Editor’s Note: Any etiquette questions out there? We will do our best to answer them! HFW)
QUESTION: Last year I received an unexpected gift at Christmas. An acquaintance brought me a rum cake. I thanked her profusely, but did not reciprocate. Did I show terrible manners by not getting her something?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: People do not give gifts to get a gift in return. It is all about giving, not receiving. As they say, ‘tis the season. Of course there is always next year, or this year.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: If it’s been a year and you’re still feeling like you dropped the ball with your acquaintance, then get her a small Christmas gift this year. Since you’re still worrying about it, maybe that’s your answer to yourself about whether you should have reciprocated. If you thanked her profusely, and wrote her a note, then that should be enough.
I do know people who keep extra small gifts in reserve — like a small candle or nice soaps — in case something like this happens. If you want to do this, you don’t have to hand anything to the gift-giver right away, but say something like “I have something for you but it’s not wrapped, and I’ll drop it by later.” You can be thoughtful and reciprocate without being expensive, or you can just be thankful that someone thought of you for Christmas and let them know.
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