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!