Holiday season is officially underway, which means the hunt for the perfect present has begun. Shopping for presents can be stressful because of the large effort in trying to find the right gift for someone.

Want to make your holiday shopping a breeze and be finished early with everything perfectly wrapped and ready? If this is your goal, then follow our list of things NOT to do and you will greatly improve your chances of making this gift-giving holiday season a success.

1. Not Doing Research: If you don’t do research on the person whom you are buying for then you are just making this whole process harder on yourself. Find out types of interests your friends or acquaintances enjoy. If you know something about the individual, like if they love cooking and entertaining, that is a slam dunk because of the wealth of products associated with that hobby. If, on the other hand, you know nothing about what the individual likes, scout out some connections to that person and do due diligence. For example, an assistant to the boss knows so much – what he/she likes, where he/she dines, what kind of books they read. If the gift is for a child ask a parent, relative or child close in age for ideas.

2. Thinking It’s ALL About How Much you Spend: Ever heard the saying, ‘It’s the thought that counts’? Not everyone has a large budget and the ability to buy expensive presents. Keep in mind that no gift is too small.  Providing a thoughtful gift carries the most weight. When thinking about what to gift someone, reflect on previous experiences and conversations with that person for ideas.

3. Waiting To the Last Minute: Coming up with gift ideas, buying the gift, then wrapping the gift can all be exhausting and time-consuming. Waiting to the last minute only makes the situation more stressful - - especially if your list of people to buy for is long. Do your best to alleviate the stress of this process by planning ahead.

4. Always Resorting to Gift Cards: Yes, giving a gift is a generous thing to do, but always resorting to gift cards (unless you know the person really likes them) may not be fitting. If you’re in a situation where you have absolutely no idea what to get someone, a gift card can seem to be the perfect answer. If you do decide to give a gift card, make sure that you purchase a gift card from a store the person frequents or one that you know they will use.

5. Forgetting to Remove the Price Tag: Always remember to take the price tag off. It is neither kosher nor important for a person to know how much you spent on their present. Include a gift receipt in case someone chooses to return or exchange the item.

6. Skimping On Gift Giving Because Your Budget Is Tight: If your funds are low and you’re stumped on what to get, don’t think you need to nix the gift-giving. A great gifting idea is donating your time to help someone.  Run errands, babysit for the day or take a person to their doctor's appointment. This season try making a gift for someone. If you have a hobby such as knitting or floral arrangements, utilize those skills for creating a present for a person. There is nothing more special than a handmade or thoughtful gift.

7. Assuming You Will Receive A Present In Return: Just because you give a gift to someone, does not make them obligated to do the same thing in return. Going in with the assumption that the person you are giving a gift to will also be giving you a gift, is the wrong mindset.

8. Slacking On The Wrapping: Yes, it takes more effort and time, but we all know that presentation is important. If you are not good at wrapping, then opt for a bag or assistance. There are many ways to wrap gifts that are inexpensive and unique. The goal is to make your wrapping as special as the gift.

At the American School of Protocol, we wish you much good health and happiness as we approach this holiday season and a brand new year!

iStock_000014983738MediumHoliday season is officially underway, which means the hunt for the perfect present has begun. Shopping for presents can be stressful because of the large effort in trying to find the right gift for someone.

Here is a list of do's and don'ts for gift giving and receiving this holiday season.

Research: Do research on the person whom you are buying for. Find out their types of interests and what they enjoy. Even when buying a gift card it is important to make sure that you purchase a gift card from a store the person frequents.

Be Thoughtful: It's the thought that counts. Not everyone has a large budget and the ability to buy expensive presents. Keep in mind that no gift is too small.  Providing a thoughtful gift carries the most weight. When thinking about what to gift someone reflect on previous experiences and conversations with that person for ideas.

Don't Leave the Price Tag On: Always remember to take the price tag off. It is neither kosher nor important for a person to know how much you spent on their present. Include a gift receipt in case someone chooses to return or exchange the item.

Be Thankful: Always send a hand written thank you note for any gift you receive. Even if you have no use for a gift, it is important that you thank the person for their time and consideration. When Holiday Gift Givingsomeone takes the time to buy you a gift then you should take the time to show your appreciation.

Give Your Time:  A great gifting idea is donating your time to help someone. This is a personal gift that could mean a lot.  Run errands, babysit for the day or take a person to their doctors appointment.

Be Crafty:  This season try making a gift for someone. If you have a hobby such as knitting or floral arrangements, utilize those skills for creating a present for a person. There is nothing more special than a hand made or thoughtful gift.

Don't Gift Alcohol: Alcohol used to be one of the most common gifts given. Today, substance abuse problems are prevalent. Be careful when gifting alcohol, make sure you know the person and are not adding to a problem.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Shopping During these days of glad tidings and good cheer, we still tend to focus on our busyness of shopping and entertaining a bit more than positive interactions with others.  I propose breaking up the monotony with random compliments!  How?  It’s so easy and fits right into your daily activities.  Try these.

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Have you ever passed someone on the street or in a mall and thought how great she looks, what cute shoes, or where did she get that fabulous bag?  Next time, tell her.  Or him.  The pass-by is most often related to someone’s appearance, but that’s just fine.  We all want to know that we are attractive in some way.   So as you pass by someone, simply call out, “Cute shoes!” and keep walking.  You may or may not see her reaction, but I guarantee the odds of making her day are in your favor.

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When you are shopping for and ordering holiday gifts, you are bound to cross paths with a sales or customer service person who goes above and beyond to make you happy.  Take a second to ask his name and spread the word about his great work.  Tell his supervisor, and post it on social media.  You not only promote the business, you promote the individual.  A very good deed!

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As you leave a holiday gathering and thank your host, throw in a sincere compliment.  Hosting is rarely a small job so telling her how amazing the homemade cheese straws were will make her feel that all her preparation time was worth it.  Use the Warm Fuzzy any time you are in direct contact with someone you know.  The sincerity and authenticity of your compliments will warm hearts for days to come.

How do you offer compliments?  Have you received one in the past that was so wonderful you still remember it?  Tell us about it here.