Most people consider the basics of gift giving to be the gift and the wrapping… maybe a card if you are giving money or a gift card. But what if you want to do more? Are there any pieces missing that you could add to really round it out and make it the complete package?

Here are some tips on gift giving to take you from beginning gifter to expert gifter!


Electronic gifts, especially toys, may or may not include the batteries needed for the gift to work. It’s a nice gesture to include the batteries if you can, particularly for children’s gifts as it allows them to immediately start playing with the toy. You can usually find a reference to the necessary batteries on the bottom right side of the package (front or back) or on the very bottom. In the example below, the toy had some batteries included but not all, so additional batteries were given with the gift.



Handmade gifts’ purpose might seem obvious to the gift-giver, but how awkward would it be to find out that the receiver didn’t know what it was or how to use it? This seems to happen a lot with baby shower gifts and new parents. (“Uh, is this knitted thing supposed to hold diapers or hold the baby?”)  Think of how relieved they’ll be if you include a brief set of instructions in the envelope with the card or attached to the gift as a tag with a pretty ribbon.

TIP: For clothing and linen gifts, provide the washing instructions to help make the gift last longer!


Giving kitchen utensils? Consider adding a recipe or two where the utensil would be useful. There are some utensils sitting in my kitchen drawer that I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to use them. Even better, give them the food to go with the utensil, ex: melon with a melon baller or a spatula with a box of pancake mix.

If you’re giving food, you can provide a recommendation on complimentary sides or drinks to make it a meal. Cheese might call for a suggested wine list, and pepper jelly could go great with cream cheese, toast points, etc. A gift of spices definitely calls for tips on a couple dishes.

Arts and crafts need either ideas on how to use them or additional supplies. I have a lot of friends who are knitters, and a good gift would be a ball of soft yarn with knitting needles. For your artists who have been eying a special set of paints or pencils, include a pad of paper or sketchbook.

Gift Receipts

Last but not least, it is inevitable that not all gifts will be kept. Maybe the size is wrong, a part is defective, or the birthday boy got two of the same thing. When this happens, it is a nice gesture to include the receipt to make the return or exchange easier for the recipient.

I usually ask for a gift receipt, which is proof of purchase without the actual price listed. While more discreet than typical receipts, they also lock in the price paid at purchase, not whatever later sale price might be available. Always check with the store in regards to their return policy, especially when it comes to expiration dates. Most stores do include their return policies on the back of their receipts, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm with the store!

Good places to put the gift receipt are taped to the package, in the card’s envelope, or inside the gift bag. Just make sure you tell the gift receiver where the gift receipt is, so they don’t accidentally throw it away with the packaging, envelope, or bag. I like to tape the gift receipt near the bar code, where it would have to be scanned by the store’s guest services anyway.


Hallmark has started including a special pocket in some of their gift bags for the gift receipt or a greeting card (see below) which puts it at the top and not lost in the bottom. NICE!


Now that you can feel confident you considered all of the ins and outs of your gift, sit back and enjoy the oooohs and aaaah!