Miss Manners

a href=https://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/kimya.jpgimg class=aligncenter size-full wp-image-3814004 title=kimya src=https://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/kimya.jpg alt= width=367 height=400 //a

strongKimya Kavekhar, Beacon Columnist/strong

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason — ain’t nothing better than getting a carefully wrapped doo-dad from people you love and seeing a smile on their faces when they open presents from you. For those of us who began carefully crafting our gift lists in September, the time has come to reap the rewards for being good all year. As joyous as this all seems, it’s an etiquette landmine. Here’s some ways to steer clear of holiday drama.

strongChoose Wisely:/strong There are certain boundaries when it comes to who you give gifts to. Even if it’s sterile and platonic like a gift card, be aware of the appropriateness of your giftee. Jodi Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Mass., says that most companies have policies against giving gifts to your boss. “Check with corporate HR about their gift-giving policies,” Smith said in a phone interview. “Ask some people who have been there longer what their protocol is.” Be weary of anyone you don’t really know that well. Gifts are personal memories shared between two people as a token of appreciation. They lose their meaning once you start giving them to people who you aren’t close to.

strongBe Kind:/strong You think you’re being funny, but then the tears start flowing, and before you know it, you’ve been banished to the kids’ table for the big holiday dinner. It’s fine to joke around with friends and family once in a while, but why ruin what’s supposed to be a fun day? Give gifts that are kind and appropriate. “Don’t give gifts as a gag, because they might be very hurtful. I do not think my sister-in-law is a particularly good cook, so I wouldn’t get her a cookbook,” Smith said. It may give you a good chuckle, but skip giving your hygienically-challenged roommate a liftetime supply of Dove soap. It’s mean. And Santa will remember that for next year.

strongPresent Your Present:/strong Tearing open a beautifully wrapped gift is an important part of the process. It isn’t sufficient to simply dump a just-purchased Gap sweater in a gift bag and hand it over. If the gift has a price tag, cut it off or neatly black out the cost with permanent marker, but remember to keep the item tag on. Be sure to include a gift receipt, so they can return it just in case. Fold it neatly within tissue paper, and put it in a non-crinkled gift bag with a card. The non-crinkled thing is non-negotiable. If you choose to wrap it in paper, get a lesson off of YouTube, so it doesn’t look like a haphazard mess.

strongRe-gift Away/strong: Re-gifting has always been a hot-button issue in the world of manners, but is deemed acceptable by some. In 2008, Anderson Cooper — the silver fox himself — promoted re-gifting on his CNN blog, citing an article by Dr. Bruce Weinstein who says “To shove the sweater into the bottom of your drawer and forget about it denies someone else the chance to stay warm.” Not only is it cool to regift, it’s ethically responsible. “If you do not like a gift, you can return it or re-gift it. I’m highly allergic, so if someone gave me perfume, and I know my friend really likes that perfume, I would give it to her,” Smith said. Plus it’ll save you major moolah, which is important for college folk. Just don’t give away the perfume that you sprayed for two months before decideding you hated it and it was giving you hives. Brand new, never used is the only way to re-gift.

emKavehkar is a senior print journalism major and a Beacon/em emcolumnist. /em

emShe can be reached at [email protected]./em

emFollow her on Twitter @kimyanattalie/em