Is it polite to regift a present? Is it appropriate to give your boss a gift? Singapore experts give Azlinda Said gift-giving tips.

Christmas gifting etiquette Can I regift an item?
Yes, say etiquette coaches. “The item should look current, say no more than six months old, so it doesn’t look like a hand-me-down. Invest in an expensive wrapper, ribbon and gift card, and you’re good to go,” says Agnes Koh, director of Etiquette and Image International.

But to minimise the risks of the initial giver finding out, don’t do it within the same circle of friends or family, adds Yvonne Anjelina, director and chief etiquette coach of The Etiquette School Singapore.

Can I give my friend the same gift over and over again because she likes it?
If you have been giving her the same gift for the past three years, it is time for a switch, says Agnes. If the receiver likes a particular item so much, try increasing the dollar value by adding on a perk or a small gift to it. “Be creative and sincere when you present a gift. Gift-giving is an expression of love, not convenience.”

Is it rude to unwrap your gifts in front of the giver?
Yes, unless she insists that you do so. “The person who wishes for you to unwrap the gift in her presence is the one who spent a lot of effort, time and money on it. So she is proud of it and would love to see your joyous reaction,” says Agnes. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid an embarrassing situation where the recipient is unable to mask her disappointment with a gift she doesn’t like, especially in a business setting.

What do you do when your child exclaims that he hates his gift in front of the giver?
“I would point out all the positive benefits of that gift to the child and liven up its value,” says Agnes. “The child must apologise to the giver and I will ask him how hurt he would feel if the roles were reversed.” Yvonne suggests that a parent can pre-empt a child’s insensitive remarks by teaching him how to handle such situations and what not to say when he receives a gift he doesn’t like.

Are vouchers acceptable as gifts?
Yes, as long as the recipient likes and frequents the shop. “Make sure there is no minimum purchase required and that the vouchers are authentic. They should be in mint condition. Cash vouchers are the best as they have no expiry date. In fact, these would be the most accepted form of regifting, if you need to do so,” says Agnes.

Should you give your boss a gift?
Agnes advises that it is best to ask your colleagues if they would like to share the gift, to avoid giving the impression that you are trying to impress your boss. But if you want to give your boss a personal gift, do so privately. “Choose meaningful gifts and pay attention to your boss’ likes and dislikes.” Dining vouchers and a subscription to her favourite magazine are good options.

Can you give gifts only to colleagues you are close to?
Doing this will deem you insensitive and thoughtless. Giving a small token to the other colleagues can make them feel appreciated and improve the working relationships, says Yvonne. Consider communal gifts like chocolates and cookies for the team to share. And if you really want to give a special gift to a colleague-cum-friend, do it discreetly, Agnes advises.

How should a boss gift his subordinates without being accused of favouritism?
Buy generic gifts of equivalent value, like stationery or vouchers, says Agnes. Or just treat all of them to a scrumptious meal, suggests Yvonne.

What’s the ideal gift budget?
Office Parties – $10-$20
Close Colleagues – $20-$50
Relatives – $50-$100
Family Members – $50-$200

Image featured: Getty Images. This article was originally published in Simply Her Dec 2011.