How to give a gift with grace – according to an etiquette expert. Unlike other gifting holidays, Valentine’s Day remains one of the trickiest to navigate. From deciding on a appropriate price point, to buying something for a new love interest... It can be a total mind maze. To clear things up for you, we spoke with etiquette expert Amanda King, the director of Australian Finishing School, for her tips on exchanging gifts this February 14.

What is the proper gift etiquette around gift-giving for Valentine’s Day?

“I recommend keeping it simple. A beautiful bouquet of flowers or even a single rose will do, as long as you gift it with a handwritten card to show the thought you out into it. It also needs to be presented well. No tacky patterned paper or Coles labels. If you’re having something delivered to an office, be aware that your note might be opened by an office assistant or secretary first, so keep it PG. If you’re stuck for ideas, give them something they can enjoy by means of flowers, chocolates or a dinner date. A large teddy bear for a grown woman can get all the wrong kind of attention.”

How long do you have to send a thank you note?

“A thank you note should be sent within 48 hours.”

What should you do if someone gives you a gift and you don’t have anything in return for them?

“The most important thing to do here is to thank the gift giver and let them know that it was lovely gesture. Show your gratitude in a sincere way. It’s always advisable to have a small box of chocolates on hand for emergencies such as these. You can also offer to take the person out for coffee next time you catch up.”

If someone gives over-the-top gifts, how are you expected to reciprocate?

“Over the top gifts can prove awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. From an etiquette standpoint, I would always advise against it. Maintain your composure, accept your gift with grace and feel confident that you bought your own gift with careful thought and consideration.”

Is it ever okay to gift cash?

“Never gift cash, as it shows no thought has gone into it. Opt instead for a gift card or an experience, like tickets to a show or a nice dinner voucher.”

What are some common etiquette mistakes people make when gift giving?

“Not discussing a budget. Surprises can be lovely, but when you present your partner with a cute stuffed teddy bear or a card and they present you with a holiday to the Whitsundays or a solid gold necklace, things can get awkward.” Also, not booking venues in advance. We suggest pre-booking movie or opera tickets to avoid being disappointment. Avoid giving controversial gifts such as gym memberships, sporting equipment, kitchen appliances, and anything that is size dependant.” Looking for the perfect gift? Head to our gifting edit for the ultimate curation of Parlour X pieces. 
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