Emergency Gifts

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Emergency Gifts are a small stash of general purpose gifts that you keep close on hand in the event someone gives you a holiday gift that you didn't expect or an unexpected guest arrives with a gift in hand. Many refer to this stash as their gift closet or gift trunk. This gives you the opportunity to give them a gift in return and make it look like you had something picked out for them as well.

Gifts should be given without having to expect to receive one in return, though, it definitely seems to feel better if holiday gift giving with neighbors and friends are mutual.

[edit] Tips for Building Your Gift Closet

Due to not knowing who the emergency gift is for, the best ones are more generic in nature, but thoughtful at the same time. Don't buy anything you wouldn't mind having for yourself just in case you get stuck with it. Homemade or do-it-yourself gifts generally are good for this purpose. Having a stash of gifts with a few different varieties helps as well, even a few generic gag gifts, so you can on the fly have a choice to pick the best one for that person or couple. It is also a good idea to have a few children's gifts in your stash; gifts like children's toys or books.

Emergency gifts can also include gifts that you received. This is also known as regifting. These could be gifts like a book or CD you received that you like but already own. It is a good idea to put a note with the name of the person who gave you the gift so you don't make an embarrassing mistake and regift it back to the person who gave it to you.

These emergency gifts should not be confused with having a stash of gifts ready for known gift giving occasions, as referred to in Gift Giving Etiquette for the Cheapskate.

Add wrapping paper and cards to keep with your emergency gifts so you have something to wrap the gift. These should also be more on the generic side, solid color wrapping paper and cards that are blank on the inside work well. Also, keep the tape and scissors with the stash of gifts so that your not running around the house to find them while your guest is in the living room.

[edit] Gift Ideas for the Gift Closet


In the event that you don't have a gift to give back to them, you can do one of two things:

  1. Tell them you have their gift at home (if you're at their place) because you were hoping to hook up with them closer to the holiday and were planning on giving it to them then.
  2. Be gracious and accept their gift and thank them. They probably didn't expect anything in return. Remember to put them on your list for next year.

[edit] Related Guides