Christmas being around the corner, it always comes as a surprise how little people really care about the impression they make when giving a gift or receiving an invitation.
First of all, there is an unwritten rule of elegance – from the Upper Eastside to the Red Square: You should only give, what you want to receive. To give SOMETHING is not only a sign of little respect, it also shows bad taste. You should ask yourself, what the person actually wants to receive, not only what you think the person should receive. In a world of social pitfalls, where the sheer pronunciation of a word can be actually interpreted as sarcasm, a gesture such as receiving a token of appreciation can mean the on or off of an entire friendship. And those who say “I don’t care about the gift, I am happy to have the person in my life” will judge the person perhaps by other standards ( good listener, caregiver, adviser, handyman, IT pro, admirer, shit taker) or perhaps will not have any on her own.
I know a girl who met a guy on a train from Gstaad to Zürich Airport. An email romance started and she visited him a month later in Zürich, only days before Christmas. One of the three presents was a book by Paulo Coelho “11minutes”. Another gift was a Birkin. Not kidding. She was furious when meeting her in Vienna afterwards, telling me the message of the book: A young girl comes to
Zürich as some sort of gold digger and ends up becoming a prostitute. Oh well. The book might have meant nothing. Or perhaps it was a message. We will never know as he never called her again. Delicate matters as such should always be taken into consideration.
Sure, you often overlook certain bad choices when its a business partner or a friend of your husband, who is just part of his life since childhood and just doesn’t know it better. But in a common sense of giving and receiving, what you give says more than thousand words and might open a completely new scenery of friends or, worse case, smash the door in your face entirely.
Of course you have to adjust your decisions to the circumstances and to your bank account. One will not expect a lavish gift from somebody who makes barely months end because he/she is still a student. But you would expect to receive something more thoughtful than a bottle of cheap wine that you would not drink yourself and of course would not gift anybody else. What should one do with the ocean of unwanted wine? I sadly know a thing or two about that. Lauren Santo Domingo would not like to receive scented candles, where else I LOVE a good candle very much. You see it is a fine line. There is also a misconception about flowers. Not every host likes to receive flowers. Hosting friends often comes with an own flower set up, which means, other flowers don’t fit the theme. And most often people would gift random flowers, just to have something to give. I personally hate orange and yellow flowers. Or Nelken. Receiving them gives me physical pain. It is always highly appreciated if you make the effort to think about the likes of the host. And if you don’t know what to gift, ask. If the host won’t tell, his friends will do.
Also, if you are invited to a seated dinner and can’t make it short notice, you should send a little Thank You nevertheless. It will be well received, specially as it is so unexpected these days.
Effort always pays off, that’s what I learned. You will be well-remembered and also one of the first names of the guest list. Sometimes this is what saves a boring or otherwise hopeless personality from solitude as there is little as charming as showing respect these days.
Happy giving to you all.
The picture has been taken in London BEFORE my magic transformation into a power plant, building a child. Being hopefully not ill on Saturday anymore, there might be a chance of a picture of me with my humungous belly. Counting down the days….