smart spending

Gift-giving etiquette tips for the holidays

Expect the unexpected
Expect the unexpected

There is always that unexpected gift one receives from somebody -- a neighbor, a colleague -- who was left off your gift list. Thomas says not to panic and feel you need to reciprocate. That is not the meaning of giving around the holidays.

"The best policy is to be pleasantly surprised and accept it graciously," she says. It doesn't hurt to have a gift pantry for those especially awkward moments when a gift is necessary. "Just something on hand for situations that make you feel extremely uncomfortable, where you knew there was a possibility that someone brought you a gift."

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