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3 Sticky Gift Scenarios and Solutions

The holidays are about family, friends and, whether we like it or not, presents. And even with the best intentions, gift-giving can become sticky or awkward. How to deal?

Know When It's Okay to Re-Gift

Imagine your aunt gave you a beautiful silk scarf last year, but it’s just not your taste. Is re-gifting always allowed? Etiquette pros at the Emily Post Institute state on their website that, “gifts should be recycled only rarely.” It’s acceptable if the gift is brand new and is something the recipient would appreciate, like a family heirloom, a book by this person’s favorite author, or an item you know he or she collects.

Also see: 3 Financial #Fails

Plan for Unexpected Gifts

Now, what if someone gives you a present unexpectedly? You don’t have to run out and buy the first thing you see for this person. It’s fine to give a gift at a later date, but then only if you really want to. Another way to handle surprise gifts is to plan ahead.

Also see: Tips from America’s Smartest Shopper

"Prepare yourself for anything that arises by keeping some gift cards on hand, or buy a case of your favorite wine at the beginning of the holiday season,” says Stephanie Sisco, associate editor at Real Simple. “You can grab a bottle when you get a last-minute invitation or need a quick gift.”

Gift Cards: Give a Useful Amount

Speaking of gift cards, while 60% of us say this is the top gift we want this year, according to the National Retail Federation, be sure the recipient can actually make the most of it. A $25 gift certificate to a store where the cheapest item is, say, $100, means the recipient still needs to shell out big bucks to afford something in the store. Either choose a more affordable store where $25 goes a long way or gift up! 

What awkward gift situations have you encountered? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit. Follow Real Simple magazine on Twitter.