Gifting 101: The Do’s and Don’ts of Gifting

Two friends talking about gifting 101
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Gifts have been a part of a multitude of cultures since basically, the dawn of time. We as humans always look for ways to feel connected to others and the most powerful way to do so is through the art of gift-giving. Although anyone can give a gift, there is such a thing as a bad or mediocre gift. There are tips and tricks out there that can set you apart from the rest as the best gifter and avoid gifting a closet stuffer. Keep reading to get the ultimate gifting 101: the do’s and dont’s of gifting to improve your gifting game!


Do: plan ahead

There’s more to gifting 101 than what meets the eye, don’t make things harder on yourself by waiting until the last minute to do it. A successful, well-thought-out gift has a few steps to it, from picking a gift, determining who’s involved in it, figuring out a budget, ordering the gift, gift-wrapping, and delivering it.

If you’re using Presently for a group gift, make sure you start a few weeks in advance. Giving the participants ample time to contribute is key to getting as many loved ones to participate as possible. We all have such busy day-to-day lives, so to keep the celebration from falling to the wayside, some nice reminders out to the contributors. If organized on Presently, provide contributors’ emails and we’ll send the reminders so you don’t have to.


Friends in nature talking about gifting
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

Do: Research the person you’re gifting for

We’ve all had our fair share of receiving mediocre gifts that either get returned, regifted or left in the corner of our house only to collect dust. On the flip side, we’re also guilty of getting someone that last-minute pair of socks or Venmo payment! Instead, show the person you truly care about by selecting gifts that appeal to their tastes and preferences.

Some gifting 101 questions to ask yourself: what are their hobbies? What have they been talking about recently? What might they already own? Get to know a person’s hobbies, interests, and lifestyle. Ask their friends if they’ve sent them any hints via social media, ask their family if they’ve mentioned something in passing, or ask their coworkers what they complain about the most and pick a gift that helps alleviate that frustration. Unless it’s a surprise, don’t be afraid to ask them directly! You could let them know you’re thinking of their birthday and see if there’s anything they are wishing for.

  💡 Quick tip from our Founder: “For most practical items under $100, chances are the recipient probably already owns it! Instead, think of what items they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves. If it’s too pricey, you can always split the cost with friends!”

Friends using annual pass to National State Parks
Photo by National Park Service

Don’t: Limit yourself to material gifts

Try giving someone an experience rather than an item. A gift recipient who receives an experience might feel more connected to you, the gift giver, than if you got them a material item.

And, studies show an experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert, or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.

Whether you pick an Anyplace workcation rental for a digital nomad or a National Parks Annual Pass for a nature lover, with a little bit of brainstorming (and guidance from this gifting 101 blog), you’re guaranteed to grant an unforgettable memory to a loved one that they will cherish forever.


sustainable gift wrapping
Photo by Lou Longworth

Do: gift sustainably

When planning a gift for a loved one, stay away from generic gift cards or anything that might create more waste. Gift cards to a store may be tempting, but unless you know they shop there all the time, it may force them to spend where they may otherwise choose to save. Instead, you could try an experiential gift card like Airbnb Adventures.

If the gift is tangible, go for quality over quantity, and consider pitching in with friends to cut down on the number of smaller gifts the recipient receives. like a JBL speaker or a Tata Harper skincare set, go eco-friendly to wrap the gift and use newspaper or some construction paper you already have around the house and decorate the box with some cute stickers. Check out our blog on last-minute and sustainable gift wrapping for more eco-friendly tips! Add a note to your gift or send an e-card as a virtual accompaniment to the present.


Don’t: overshoot your budget

There’s nothing worse than finding a great gift for your loved one only to realize it is way out of your price range. Make sure to set up a budget that you’re comfortable with before you begin looking for gifts.

A great gifting 101 tip for getting a gift that goes above and beyond while still staying within your price range is through organizing a group gift. Splitting up the cost with a group of friends, family, or coworkers lessens the financial burden on everyone. By doing this, you’ll be able to expand your gift options and get your person something they’ll really love. A key to organizing a group gift is to check in with participants and let them know that there’s no pressure to contribute a certain amount of money. Remind them that the amount contributed can’t be seen by the organizer or other participants and that their kind words and celebratory wishes are what’s really important.

Another simple thing you can do to upgrade your group gift is to encourage participants to include photos of themselves with the recipient in the group card! When the recipient sees the group gift and card, they’ll be reminded of all of the great memories they’ve shared with their loved ones which this will make their gift more personalized.


Workout classes with ClassPass
Photo by ClassPass

Do: consider practical gifts

Practical gifts may seem boring at first, but if they’re done right, they can be very valuable and useful to a loved one. Practical gifts can help take away the burden of everyday tasks or even introduce them to a new hobby. Get a plant-based foodie, or someone who’s trying to become one, a Boycemode meal subscription to ease the stress of planning meals for the week.

You can also cover their gym membership for a few months using ClassPass. This is a great way for them to switch up their workouts since they can try out different types of workout classes, ranging from boxing to hot yoga.


Do: re-gift when it makes sense

This one is a bit controversial in gifting 101 as regifting often gets a bad rep. But if it’s done thoughtfully and with care, regifting can be a great way to pass on a perfectly good item to someone who will cherish it forever. And, regifting is also incredibly eco-friendly!

For example, someone might have gifted you a state-of-the-art espresso machine – except that you swear off all caffeine. But your mother’s birthday is coming up and she drinks at least two cups of coffee a day. This would be the perfect opportunity to pass on your unwanted to be someone else’s treasure!

The important thing is: don’t regift them something just because it’s lying around. Make sure the gift still aligns with the person’s interests and hobbies. Also, double-check that they weren’t the ones who gifted it to you and re-wrap the gift in a presentable way so the person receiving the gift feels the thought and love put into the gift-giving.


Kids' birthday party
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Do: ask parents what to get their kids

If you’re shopping for a child, asking their parents what they want or need is a productive way to avoid gifting something that will become a clutter. Check out our blog on The Truth About Gifting That Parents Won’t Talk About – And How to Be Part of the Solution to learn more about gifting 101 for kids.

Rather than gifting a random set of toy cars that will just get added to a kid’s giant collection of unused toys, see if there’s one item they’ve been wanting for a few months now that they’re guaranteed to cherish for a long time. Also, make sure to stick to one gift rather than multiple. Studies show that fewer toys actually cultivate more creativity, playfulness, and social skills amongst kids — and the less they have, the more they play! Read more about this in our 3 Reasons to Choose One Gift This Year.


Meaningful Gifting  

While getting someone a meaningful gift is a great way to show your love and appreciation for them, it’s not always the most fun part of a celebration. But, it’s not the only way to show your care. If you don’t have the funds to buy a loved one a gift on every special occasion, finding a way to spend time together through a video chat, coffee date, or sending them a handwritten card if you’re far away is just as special.

Showing up to celebrate friends, family, and coworkers is something we value, and there are many more avenues to do so on Presently even without a tangible or monetary gift, like our e-cards!


Presently is a group-gifting platform that gives people an easy way to contribute to a single gift, together. Presently enables communities to gift better, choosing quality over quantity. Organize a group gift here.

As an Amazon Affiliate, Presently earns from qualifying purchases.

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Jieun Song