Jewelry Maker's Guide to Gift-Giving: 10 Things Every Gifter Should Know
by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Does holiday gift-giving leave you stressed? What should you gift and who should you gift to? Is it appropriate to give your boss a gift? Is regifting OK? Do you know how to handle an unexpected present?

Find the answers to these commonly asked etiquette questions and reduce holiday stress with the 10 things every gifter should know, based on recommendations from Peggy Post, author of Emily Post's Etiquette, 17th Edition. They'll help you gift with confidence, avoid sticky gifting situations and enjoy the holiday season!
  1. Make a List
    When it comes to gift-giving, it's best to make a list of the people you want to give to (ahead of time) and figure out how much you can spend on each person. This doesn't need to be limited to holiday gift-giving, it's a good idea to plan out your gifts throughout the year including birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.

    Making a list allows you to buy things when you see them. For example, if you're shopping in July and see a purse that your mother would love, buy it (and mark it off your list). It probably won't be available when you look for it again in December. And by marking it off your list, you'll remember you have it covered (how many times have we found gifts hidden in a closet a year later).

    Most importantly, your list will help you avoid last-minute gift emergencies and prevent overspending. Spending more than you should takes the fun out of gift-giving and there's nothing more nerve-racking than overspending--and feeling uneasy about it.

    Who should you include on your list? Family and close friends are obvious, but here are a few things to keep in mind when giving gifts in the workplace:

    • It's a good idea to give your supervisor/boss a joint gift with several co-workers or a simple holiday card. Anything more than this may appear to be ''kissing up.''
    • It's OK to give gifts and cards to people who do not celebrate the season or holiday the same way you do. Use secular sayings such as ''Happy Holidays'' or ''Season's Greetings.''
    • If your office continues the tradition of individual gifts, make sure to give gifts to selected individuals in private so that no one's feelings are hurt.
    • It's a good idea to not make work gifts too personal, and don't buy something that's inappropriately expensive.
    • Make it easy by organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange.
  2. Share the Story
    This is especially important with handmade gifts. For example, did you splurge on precious metal findings and gemstones in a handmade necklace gift? Go ahead and make a tag that includes a description of the piece, such as ''sterling silver and onyx necklace.'' Or if you've made a charm from Art Clay®, include on the tag, ''handmade fine silver charm.'' This makes a nice presentation and lets the receiver fully appreciate the workmanship and quality of the jewelry. Another example is including the label of the fiber/material used in hand-knitted items. Many times recipients are unaware of the materials used in handmade items and this gives them more information and encourages conversation about the gift and the handmade process.

    If you've purchased a gift from a boutique or a local artist, include the card from the store or the artist that you purchased the gift from. Once again, this gives the recipient more information about the gift and shows you hand-selected something from a special place.

    When applicable, it's a nice gesture to include a gift receipt. This lets the receiver know that you thought they would like this, but if it's not right, it encourages them to take it back and select something else.
  3. Personalization
    People love seeing their names! Gifts marked with a monogram or anything else specific to the recipient (think birthstones, letter charms, lockets with photos, image transfers, etc.) are all the more appreciated. View personalized design ideas for inspiration.

    Jewelry Maker's Guide to Gift-Giving: 10 Things Every Gifter Should Know

    Design with:
  4. A Lasting Gift
    You may want to consider the permanence of a gift. For example, flowers or a box of candy will be enjoyed for the short term, whereas jewelry or a well-chosen book will last a lifetime. There are also gifts that ''keep on giving,'' such as quality jewelry-making tools. Or you can gift an ''experience,'' such as a jewelry-making class or making jewelry together.

    Lasting Gift Ideas:
  5. Keep it Under Wraps
    Keep in mind that the element of surprise is half the fun of gift-giving, so keep your gift ''under wraps'' with wrapping paper, presentation boxes or gift bags with tissue. You can also recycle brown paper bags and newspaper as wrapping paper and tie it with colorful ribbon. Any box will work for wrapping, as long as it doesn't carry the name of a store other than the one where the present was purchased. You don't want the recipient attempting to exchange the gift at the wrong store!

    Shop a selection of gift and presentation boxes here.

    Host and hostess gifts are an exception to this, as they are usually presented unwrapped. It's always fun to add a little extra touch though (a tag with flat back Swarovski crystals or a beautiful ribbon).
  6. Do Your Homework
    Be a detective! Ask recipients for hints or a wish list, gathering ideas throughout the year and noting them on your gift list. Keep track of ages and likes/dislikes to ensure you are giving appropriate gifts. Sizing is very important. Make sure you have a good idea of the size of your recipient if you are making something. For example you don't want to gift someone a bracelet that is too small for their wrist. If you don't know sizing, it's always a good idea to make jewelry adjustable (earrings always fit--as long as you know their ears are pierced).

    Encourage your jewelry-making friends to create a wish list in our Favorites Center and you'll know exactly what they want.
  7. Gift Certificates
    If you are unsure of what to get for a colleague or friend, a gift certificate is an excellent choice--just make sure it's from a store that he or she enjoys. You should make sure the gift certificate/card doesn't expire or have any hidden fees, etc.

    What could be better than giving a jewelry-maker a Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' gift certificate? It's easy to order gift certificates online. You can have them sent to you to give them personally or have them sent directly to your recipients.
  8. A Note of Thanks
    Is a thank you note required? The answer is YES. It's always best to send a handwritten note for gifts (especially if you're unable to thank someone in person). An email note is better than not sending anything, but a handwritten one is still the best way to go.

    Keep thank you cards and stamps on hand at all times (at home and in your office desk). This way you'll always be ready to send a prompt note of thanks.
  9. The Unexpected Gift
    Just say: thank you. Unexpected gifts do not have to be reciprocated. All that's required is a warm "Thank you!" Saying that you'll have something for them tomorrow is like trumping their gift. Just show your gratitude for the gift without making excuses for why you're not giving one, too.

    Avoid getting caught without a gift by stashing a few gifts that will work in a pinch: copies of your favorite jewelry-making book, charm necklace or earrings. This way you'll be ready if you need a gift on the spot. And if you're in need of a quick gift and don't have time to make something, shop the selection of finished jewelry and gifts from around the world.
  10. Regift with Caution
    It's OK to regift, but proceed with caution ... be sure it is a gift that the recipient would like to receive, it's brand new (original box/packaging) and the gift isn't one that the original giver took great care to select or make. Simply put, you have to make sure you don't hurt anyone's feelings--the original giver's or the recipient's.
And most importantly--trust your judgment! Forget about being afraid that the gift isn't perfect. If you think the person will like it, chances are you're right.

Additional Resources:

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Jewelry Maker's Guide to Gift-Giving: 10 Things Every Gifter Should Know," featured in the a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"I hoped for more "tips" for giving handmade jewelry. I have given pieces that were happily received but the recipient never knew it was hand-crafted or that it was crafted by ME (how disappointing). I also like to include a note that any unexpected breakage (a clasp gone bad or a broken cord) can and will be replaced. I also put a note in to offer a change in length if possible. I'm a pretty small person and a necklace that hangs on me very nicely doesn't always work with a woman with a more substantial bosom. I offer a change in clasps for those who find a piece difficult to open and close. I especially like the magnetic ones for friends who have a little arthritis or carpal tunnel issues. I don't always choose them first because the "design" and scale of the finding is often important (to me) when I design the piece. Make the gift card original, too. Draw something pretty and put a few left over beads on it so that it is uniquely a "jewelry" gift card. All you need is a bit of card stock and a glitter pen to make it look "sparkly" - sign your name and dot the "it's" with a bead. I love your "tips". Not all my art friends are jewelry persons but we all give our artwork as gifts. I have forwarded many of these articles to them and we share our "gifting stories". (I will never make hand-painted Christmas cards again...).Thank-you,"
- Chris

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This article was a blessing! I am always late and rushing. Most times I am clueless. My Mom is so hard to buy for; she has everything. Males are especially hard for me. This article has helped me so much. I dearly love your newsletter. The information you give is just amazing. Thank you!"
- Raven

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