Sainsbury’s has teamed up with etiquette experts Debrett’s to help party-goers through the festive season with a guide to Christmas gift-giving, being the perfect host, and how to win at being a guest.
The guide – alongside research into the worst social faux pas – has highlighted where we’re getting it right (and wrong) over the Christmas period. It has been designed to help the half (56%) of the population who say they feel unsure of festive social etiquette. Generous Britons, millions of whom will gift friends and acquaintances from their hairdressers and postmen to their priests with a bottle of something delicious this Christmas, admit that they feel clueless when it comes to correct gifting protocol.
According to the bastion of British manners, many millions of us will fall foul of what they’ve proclaimed to be etiquette blunders this Christmas: 3 million of us will post pictures of presents to Instagram, 33 million will shun stationery for a text message thank you and 4 million will deconstruct hampers to re-gift their contents.
However, guests will be relieved to know that you “officially” can’t go wrong giving food and drink, as nearly half of those questioned think it’s the safest choice for the widest array of people (49%), and a quarter (23%) say a bottle of booze is their go-to gift for hard-to-buy-for friends and family – above books, clothes, jewelry and electronics. In fact, nearly two thirds (62%) will give an alcoholic gift this Christmas and more than a quarter would like to receive food (27%) or a bottle of drink (29%) over any other gift this Christmas, with posh chocolates and whisky topping their lists.
But, while seven in ten (71%) will follow the guidelines and bring a bottle for their host over Christmas, three quarters who do so (73%) will also expect to drink it. According to Debrett’s, it’s perfectly acceptable for a host to serve a bottle given to them by a guest, but it is the host’s decision to do so so guests musn’t feel offended either way.
Lucy Hume, Associate Director at Debrett’s and author of the guide, said: “Sainsbury’s research shows that many of us are still unsure about the etiquette of giving gifts at Christmas. Thankfully, it might be a whole lot simpler than we think, with the majority of us saying we prefer both to give and to receive items of food or drink. There are still some pointers to bear in mind, however, so we’ve joined forces with Sainsbury’s to help answer those gift-giving dilemmas this Christmas.”
Paul Mills-Hicks, Food Commercial Director, Sainsbury’s said: “We want to help our customers live well this Christmas, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with Debrett’s on this fun guide to help our customers navigate the seasonal social complexities. We know that almost a fifth of Brits buy presents for their friends and family from the supermarket and lots will be gifting chocolates or a bottle of something nice to everyone from their relatives to their postman. We’ve got gifts to suit all budgets and tastes – as well as the all-important thank you notes!”
Sainsbury’s and Debrett’s have created the ten-point plan to help guide anxious shoppers through the socially perilous season.
Sainsbury’s and Debrett’s Guide to Christmas Gift-Giving:
Saying Thank You: The handwritten thank you letter may be on the decline but that doesn’t mean you can get away without a show of gratitude – if there’s no headed stationery available, then digital thanks are better than no thanks at all.
Bringing a bottle: Don’t expect to drink a bottle you bring to a party, but do be prepared to open one you’re given.
Social Strife: Posting presents on social media is bad form, as well as unseemly gloating you could also risk outing a re-gifter.
Re-presenting: A hamper you won’t eat all of? Unfortunately, a re-gifted paté or jar of piccalilli just won’t cut the mustard when it comes to good gift-giving etiquette – splash out and buy them their own biscuits, luxury oils or box of chocolates.
Sweet Treats: Christmas, sadly, doesn’t mean a free-for-all on confectionery for everyone. It’s polite to check with parents before unloading sweet treats on their children.
Alcoholic Alternatives: You can’t go wrong with a bottle of booze, but make sure to put some thought into the choice – with cocktails on the rise, spirits can make a fun alternative to wine or whiskey, but stick to port for those traditionalists.
Bearing Gifts: Always come bearing gifts. A bottle of wine or a box of chocolates are customary but if it’s a longer stay over Christmas think about something more substantial.
All wrapped up: You should wrap food and wine to elevate it from a practical contribution to a thoughtful gift.
Making a match: You can have a go at matching the wine to a meal if going over for dinner, but more importantly, just make sure you bring a bottle.
Click here to view the Debrett’s Guide to Christmas Gift-Giving, in association with Sainsbury’s