Birthday Gift Etiquette: 15 Tips You Need to Know

Birthday Gift Etiquette: 15 Tips You Need to Know

Got a big birthday coming up and unsure what to do? This is the perfect blog for you. Here, we’ll discuss 15 must-know birthday gift etiquette tips to make you the ultimate gift guru. So, whether you’re shopping for your bestie, mum, or a friend of a friend of a friend, these tips will ensure your birthday gift hits all the right notes. Let’s get into it:

1. It’s the Thought That Counts

It’s a cliche at this point, but the number one rule of birthday gift-giving is it’s the thought that counts. Put simply, a gift recipient is far more likely to appreciate their present if it’s thoughtful. You don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds to tug at the heartstrings. So, instead of finding pricey gifts or giving cash (see tip 3), consider the recipient's interests, hobbies, and preferences. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would truly appreciate. If you need some birthday gift ideas, be sure to follow the link to see our available gift options.

2. Be Thoughtful with a Personalised Gift

For a truly sentimental gift that they’ll want to keep forever, consider a personalised gift. A personalised gift can come in many forms and can be suited to many ages. From personalised jewellery, funny photo upload gifts, or a personalised colouring book, there’s a great gift opportunity no matter your relationship. Many sites like Prezzybox let you personalise your gifts online, allowing you to write personal messages or upload photos right on the product screen.

3. Money and Gift Cards Are Fine

While money or gift cards aren’t as thoughtful as their personalised counterpart, there’s nothing wrong with cash in a card as a gift - especially if it’s someone you aren’t close with. Although it may not be suitable for your mum or partner (depending on their preferences), money or a gift card is a great idea if you’re attending a friend of a friend’s party. Birthday party gift etiquette suggests it's polite to come with something - even if it’s a bottle of wine.

4. Consider the Relationship

So, money or a personalised gift - what’s the right option? Well, as you can imagine, the nature of your relationship with the birthday boy/girl should influence your choice of gift. For close family members or partners, you may want to consider more sentimental or intimate presents. For acquaintances or colleagues, opt for thoughtful but less personal gifts. (This could be a personalised glass and bottle of alcohol or something nice for around the house). Just keep in mind that the nature of your relationship should also dictate the expense. While your wife or husband might appreciate something extravagant, you should avoid it for friends or acquaintances as they may feel obligated to reciprocate.

5. Use a Gift Bag and Nice Gift Wrap

While a thoughtful gift is great, a nice presentation can go a long way. Use a gift bag to deliver your presents, and pick some colourful gift wrap wrap it in. Adding layers can add to the excitement. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love opening up gifts on their big day?

6. Timing is Key - You Don’t Need a Crowd

We get it. You’ve got an amazing gift for the birthday recipient and you just can’t wait to see them open it. But the timing of your gift-giving plays a significant role in birthday gift etiquette. Aim to present your gift on or before the actual birthday - the latter is great if your recipient is having a big party and might not have time for gifts. But most importantly, you don’t need a crowd when giving a gift. Giving a birthday gift in a crowded setting can add unneeded pressure on your recipient to like (or even overreact to) your present. Pick a quiet moment to give them your gift - they will surely appreciate it.

7. Set a Budget (and Stick to It)

Although setting a budget for yourself is always a great idea, having a budget also ties into birthday gift etiquette. Gifting an expensive present can create a sense of obligation for the recipient to return the favour. Be sure to consider your relationship with the recipient and if they’d appreciate a pricey and extravagant gift. Remember, the value of a gift is not solely determined by its price tag.

8. Give the Gift of Experiences

If you want to think outside the (gift) box, an experience day gift can be an amazing birthday present. From spa days to helicopter tours, there are thousands of options to book a fun-filled day or weekend in locations across the UK. And the best part? The wide variety of options means you can find a great fit no matter your relationship or budget.

9. Consider Cultural Sensitivities

Cultural diversity is important to consider when giving birthday gifts. Be mindful of cultural practices and customs that may influence gift-giving traditions. Research the cultural norms of the recipient's background to ensure your gift aligns with their beliefs and values. And when in doubt, just ask!

10. Pay it Forward With Regifting (But Be Mindful)

If you receive a gift that isn't to your liking, regifting is always an option - but it should be approached with caution. Consider whether the item would be better suited and appreciated by someone else. If you choose to regift, ensure the item is brand new, in its original packaging, and matches the recipient's preferences. And be mindful of any personal connections between the original giver and the new recipient to avoid awkward situations.

11. Show Your Appreciation With a Thank-You Note

Birthday gift etiquette doesn’t just apply to giving gifts, it’s also about receiving them. Expressing gratitude is essential when receiving a birthday gift. You should take the time to send a thank-you note or message to the gift-giver. Doing so with a handwritten note adds a personal touch and shows your appreciation.

12. Make a Wish List

Another great tip for the gift receiver is to make a wish list in advance. Here, you can write down all your top choices, which can be great for alleviating the pressure on your friends or family. However, there’s some birthday gift etiquette to consider here. If asked to provide a wish list, create one with a range of options to give the giver some flexibility in selecting a gift that suits their preferences and budget.

13. Celebrate Milestone Birthdays Properly

Not all birthdays are made equal, with certain milestone birthdays adding an extra level of extravagance and meaning. While all of our prior tips still apply, it’s a good idea to find a gift that commemorates their big day in style. Whether it’s an 18th, 30th, 40th, or 50th birthday, find a present that will allow them to remember their special day. This could be something as simple as an engraved gift with the year or birthday number on it.

14. Include a Receipt (and Don’t be Offended)

No matter how hard you try to give a great birthday gift, you may still get it wrong. Gift-giving is about selflessness, after all, and you don’t want your loved one to feel pressured to love a present when they don’t. Be open with your gift receiver by allowing them to return it if they don’t like it. It’s a great birthday gift etiquette tip to include a receipt with your gift to allow the return of the present if desired.

15. Respect the Recipient's Wishes

While surprises can be exciting and all of our great gift ideas are sure to please, this is only the case if they actually WANT a gift. It's important to respect the recipient's wishes when it comes to birthday gifts. Some people may prefer no gifts or have specific requests, such as charitable donations instead of material presents. If they communicate their preferences, honour them. It shows respect for their choices and ensures they have a birthday celebration that they can enjoy.