The Etiquette of Gift Giving

happy asian lady opening a gift from her husband

Gift giving is commonly an action done to re-establish our connection with others, reflecting the relationship between the gifter and the receiver.

Understanding the art of gift giving is essential if you want to respect the person and the relationship you have with them.

Why Give a Gift?

There are many reasons to give someone a gift. It can be because you want the person to feel appreciated, or you want to build and reinforce certain relationships.

For some people it can even just be as simple as texting someone, that is the way they express their love.


One of the most common reasons for giving someone a gift would be to show them the appreciation you have towards them, and the relationship you have with them.

When you appreciate someone, you would naturally want to show your appreciation, which for many, is by giving little gifts.

Build & Reinforce Relationships

Another common reason for giving a gift is to build a relationship with someone, or to reinforce a previous relationship. A common occasion where one could see this would be corporate gifting, or even birthday gifting.

Thank You Gifts

These gifts are given when also showing someone appreciation, only this time it’s more of gratitude.

These gifts can be the ones you give after parties, or even as wedding favours, just a little thank you to everyone who cared enough to show up.

What Are The Types of Gifts?

Naturally, there are many different types of gifting.

We have our usual birthday gifting, Christmas gifting, anniversary gifting and so on, which fall on the more informal side, due to the relationship between the gifter and giftee.

Then, of course, we have our formal gifting, which include events such as corporate gifting

1. Birthday Gifts

These are gifts given to signify a milestone in a person’s life, personalised, keeping in mind what that person’s likes and dislikes are.

2. Baby Shower Gifts

These types of gifts should definitely be planned out in advance, maybe even with your group of friends, so that a bunch of you don’t end up giving the baby and mother the exact same thing!

If there’s a registry, try to get something on it so you’ll be assured the recipient will treasure and use it.

However, some things on the register might be out of your budget, and there’s no shame in that! Simply get something special for the baby and mother that they can use, either for the baby or the mother.

3. Corporate Gifts

When gifting in the corporate world, it is essential to check the company gift policy first before buying gifts for your colleagues and bosses.

Some companies may be against gifting your superiors, while some may have a monetary limit on your gift.

Most importantly, don’t gift some people while obviously leaving out others. Either give everyone a token gift, or gift those you want to in private.

4. House Guest Gifts

These gifts are gifts given when going over to visit someone at their homes, to show your appreciation at being invited.

In many cultures, going to visit someone’s house empty-handed is deemed rude, hence guests always give something small to the homeowners when entering.

This gift doesn’t have to be big, it can be as simple as a fruit, or maybe some snacks.

5. Holiday Gifts

These gifts are gifts given for holiday occasions such as Christmas, Lunar New Year, Hari Raya, and Deepavali.

They normally follow tradition and the culture of the holiday being celebrated, such as gifts under the tree for Christmas.

6. Schooling Reward Gifts

While it may sound surreal to many, the best way to incentivise children is by rewarding them for good behaviour and improvement in school.

This should be something that they want, to be able to incentivise them. You can either let them know about it beforehand, or don’t tell them and surprise them when their report cards are released!

7. Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s day gifts are gifts that are normally something thoughtful, that you know your significant other will like, or something that symbolises the love you have for your significant other.

These gifts could even be sentimental gifts, passed down from generation to generation.

8. Wedding Gifts

Gifts that traditionally signify a union of two souls, wedding gifts are normally something you know both people in the couple like.

These gifts should be given with both people in mind, or should be something symbolic that signifies a union in their culture.

What to Take Note of When Gifting

1. Be Sure Of What The Gift Is For

Keep the occasion in mind when gifting someone anything, for you don’t want to accidentally gift something inappropriate. Imagine giving someone a birthday card for Valentine’s Day!

While it sounds hilarious, it’s better not to offend someone by giving them the wrong gift for the wrong occasion!

2. Learn More About What They Like

Try your best to gift the receiver with something you know they will like, treasure and use for a long time. If you’ve distinctly seen them with an item already, don’t give them the exact same item unless you know they like collecting it.

Try to build a relationship with them first if you haven’t yet, and learn about their interests, likes and dislikes. From there, you can pick out exactly what they would like, honouring your own budget.

3. Be Sensitive To Personal And Cultural Differences

This is especially important in a multicultural nation like Singapore, where many cultures live together in harmony.

It is essential to learn more about the culture of the person you’re giving the gift to, as some gifts may be taboo in their culture.

For example, don’t gift scissors to someone of the Chinese culture as this symbolises cutting a relationship.

Likewise, don’t gift pork to someone of the Malay culture, or beef to someone of the Indian culture. If the recipient is vegetarian or vegan, don’t gift them meat or a voucher to a meat restaurant. Be sensitive to your differences and gift them something they would appreciate..

4. Wrap Up The Gift Elegantly

In many cultures, taking the effort to wrap up your gift elegantly with auspicious colours is looked upon favourably.

It shows that you respect the person and the gift you’re giving them by taking the time and effort to wrap it up nicely, instead of just handing it over or throwing it into a plastic bag.

If you don’t have the time to wrap it however, opt for a nice aesthetic paper bag or gift bag. Always remember to peel or tear off the price tag before gifting someone.

5. Present The Gift With Both Hands And Include A Card

The process of handing over the gift is just as important as selecting the gift and wrapping it up nicely. By presenting the gift with both hands, you’re letting the receiver know that you care about the gift you’re giving them, and that you respect them.

Consider including a card to add a more personal touch to the gift.

The card can simply just be a line long, letting the person know who the gift is from, and what purpose it was for. Try to use your best handwriting for this, or just print it out if you know your handwriting is bad.

What to do When Receiving a Gift?

1. Smile, Respect The Gifter

Whether you like what you are given or not, make sure to accept the gift with a smile and thank the gifter profusely.

They’ve gone through a lot of trouble to get you that gift, so even if it isn’t exactly what you wanted, respect the fact that they thought of you and decided to give you something.

2. Accept With Both Hands

Just like how you should give a gift with both hands, you should also receive a gift with both hands. It’s simply a sign of gratitude and respect.

By accepting the gift with both hands, you also decrease the chances of you dropping it and embarrassing both yourself and the giver.

3. Don’t Open The Gift In Public

Unless the person wishes for it, never open someone’s gift in front of them, especially in front of groups of people.

In doing that, you will unintentionally open up a can of worms by making people compare their gifts with others’, and might make someone not able to afford a pricier gift feel ashamed.

Instead, thank the giver first, and then open up the gift in private. After that, ensure to thank the person again for the gift.

4. Thank You Note

In the 21st century, which is in the middle of a technological revolution, telling someone to mail a thank you note sounds counter-intuitive. However, the concept of a thank you note still exists.

You can text the person who gave you a gift a heartfelt thank you note, especially if you opened the gift in private. Let them know that you appreciate the effort they put into getting the gift.

More Gifting Tips!

1. Avoid Obviously Regifting

Imagine spending a long time choosing the perfect gift for your friend, thinking they would love it. Now imagine, two weeks later, that friend gives you a gift. Feeling excited, you open it, only to see your own gift staring back at you. Hurts doesn’t it?

Avoid obviously regifting a gift someone else has given you, since that person clearly thought of you when buying that gift for you. It is rude, and shows that you don’t appreciate their gesture.

2. Don’t Try To Match Others’ Gift Budgets

Don’t stress yourself out trying to match the cost of the gift someone else gives to the same person for the same occasion, each gift is unique, just like how each person is. There’s absolutely no shame in sticking to your own budget, as long as the gift is heartfelt and you believe the person would love it.

3. Get Something They Would Like

When gifting someone anything, make sure to gift them something they would like, not something you would like to see them have. By learning about their likes and dislikes, you know what to look out for, and what to avoid when gift-shopping.

Make it a habit to shop specifically for the person, instead of just buying whatever is on sale at your local supermarket.

4. Never Apologise For Your Gift

Apologising for a gift you’ve given not only embarrasses you, but also the recipient.

By apologizing for the gift, you admit that you haven’t put in much thought into the gift, even if that is untrue. Instead of feeling embarrassed of your gift, be proud of it! If you are apologizing due to the low cost of the gift, simply don’t.

The cost of the gift does not matter as much as the time and effort put into it. the gift does not even need to be bought. It can be handmade as long as you are sincere in giving it.

Fun Fact: 5 Rules of Christmas Gift Giving!

Don’t know what to get your kids for Christmas? Luckily for you, there’s actually a set of rules used for figuring out what will make your young ones the happiest!

  1. Starting off safe, get them something they want! Something you know they’ve been eyeing for a long time.
  2. Next up, you know your young ones the best. Get them something you think they truly need for the coming year, and will use well.
  3. Of course, Christmas means new clothes! Coming up third, get them something nice and trendy to wear, so they can show off those new clothes in school.
  4. Making sure to cultivate your kids’ interest in books and reading, especially when they are younger, is highly crucial. Thus, step 4 is to get them something fun to read! It can be a book of their favourite genre, or a new genre you want them to try out.

Finally, and this one requires a bit more thought, get them something they didn’t know they wanted. This can be anything, from things to start a new hobby, to something that will be of sentimental value to them.

Give The Perfect Gift With MSCENTS

Crystal Perfume EDT

MScents Crystal Perfume EDT_1

Each scent at MSCENTS is carefully curated, aimed at improving everyone’s experience with a single whiff of the scent.

The crystal perfume EDT has been carefully tailored to ensure that one using it would feel expensive, making it a perfect gift for almost every occasion.

The bottle of the perfume is not something you can expect to find just anywhere – the crystal feel makes it look and feel elegant as well as expensive. The bottles themselves come in a wooden box to protect them from breaking.

This is a perfect present especially for Valentine’s Day, or even Christmas.

Learn more about Crystal Perfume EDT

Reed Diffuser & Candle Luxury Gift Set

Reed Diffuser _ Candle Set (Luxury)_1

Perfect for Valentine’s Day or even a birthday, this luxury gift set is intended to make the receiver feel luxurious, pun unintended.

The luxurious red packaging gives a romantic as well as auspicious feel to the package, invoking passion.

The reed diffuser and candle are packaged perfectly to make the gift set look extremely elegant.

Learn more about Reed Diffuser & Candle Luxury Gift Set

Santa’s Winter Wonderland Gift Set

MScents Christmas Box Bundle 2_1

As the name suggests, this is the perfect gift for Christmas.

This gift set includes a Pine Tree Scent Reed Diffuser, a Snow Scent Aroma Spray, our tailored Gingerbread Candle, the convenient Pine Tree and Snow Scent Hand Sanitizers, as well as a Water Diffuser.

The set is wrapped carefully in premium festive wrapping paper, showing the effort and thought put behind this gift bundle. It is the perfect gift to pamper someone.

Learn more about Santa’s Winter Wonderland Gift Set

De Parfum EDP

De Parfum EDP 01

These bottles come in a small pouch, making it a perfect gift for those always on the move.

This gift set allows for a longer-lasting scents on the skin, and the colour of the bottle is customisable as well!

This is a perfect gift to give people in the corporate world, or even just people constantly traveling as it is a perfect size to be transported with you.

Learn more about De Parfum EDP


Giving gifts is not simply an action done without thought, it is an art. It is something you put a lot of thought into to ensure that the recipient feels loved and heard when opening your gift.

In many cases, using gift bundles would be the perfect way to gift someone you don’t really know what to gift anymore.

Here at MSCENTS, we have specially curated gift bundles for every occasion, to ensure that both you and your loved ones experience the art of gift giving and receiving!

Find the perfect gift from MSCENTS Gift Sets & Bundles

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