You can never be sure how a friend will react to a joke gift, so stick with something more heartwarming during the holidays. “A gag gift doesn’t feel personal,” says Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas. “It feels like the joke is on you, and they don’t walk away with something that feels like a memory.” Send your friend a link to the crude mug making fun of his favorite politician, but wrap up a present he’ll genuinely look forward to using. If you need better gift ideas, check out these Amazon Prime gifts for everyone on your list.
There’s a fine line between sending a message of “treat yourself” vs. “you need this” when you’re picking out beauty products like soap, bath salts, and shampoos. If you do choose something hygiene-related, add a note with a sweet message. For instance, you might compliment your mom on how lovely she always smells and express your hopes that she loves this new fragrance as much as you do, says Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. “With a beautiful written note, the sentiment and warmth comes through,” she says. “Express the warmth and heartfelt thoughts.” Another option: these 27 personalized gifts that really go the extra mile.