Ask Melania Trump; Gift Giving is tricky

Obama_GiftGivingEvery platform of social media exploded immediately (click here if you missed it somehow) following a kind gift exchange between the gracious outgoing First Lady and the gift giving incoming Mrs Trump at the inauguration ceremony yesterday.

While sadly this situation played out for the world to see, and see again and see again… we are all susceptible to these type of gift giving scenarios, uncomfortable faux pas & mishaps.

Here are some tips on how to avoid a similar awkward situations:

  1. When giving a gift, always consider timing & schedule of the event or day.

Melania did nothing wrong by generously handing the former First Lady a gift on first seeing her that historic day. Truth be told, it has become a bit of a tradition. Michelle herself gave Mrs Bush a gift at the same event in 2008.
The incoming first lady just needed to consider how the events were to unfold for the day, especially during those particular first couple hours. It was full of photo opportunities for EVERYONE and Michelle had no place to drop this gift off or anyone hand it to without being perceived as ungrateful. She was simply caught off guard, during a very busy and trying day for her and her whole family. This is not to take away from the gift itself or the GIFT GIVER. Sadly one photographer captured this ‘confused’ look on mrs Obama’s face and it went viral.

The same situation happened to me a few years ago at a dear friend’s wedding. I brought a gift to the reception, there was no gift table in the front hall and we were all immediately directed into a line to pay our respects to the family and congratulate the happy couple. I didn’t notice that everyone else in line were carrying only envelopes – no one else had a large cumbersome gift box to be handled. When handing the gift to the bride, I noticed she was immediately uncomfortable and uncertain with how to deal with it. Thank goodness, her maid of honour jumped in offering to take care of it, but I felt awful for putting her in the predicament on her special day when she had so much else to think about.

2. Remember is that to err is human.

No doubt, with both Mr & Mrs Trump being new to political circles and its etiquette how-to’s; this may be the first of a few missteps but always remember, if you are graciously gift giving from your heart, then any err will be overlooked due to your intention. Unless of course, you are on display for the planet to watch and judge.

3. When possible, have a Barack Obama by your side.

Accept help when offered by any one as soon as you find yourself in an awkward or unusual gifting dilemma. In the case mentioned above, the always classy outgoing President saw his wife’s concern and immediately stepped up to help and hand the gift off to someone. Truly the gentleman and partner that we know him to be.

Always accept help when offered, or be the one to offer when you see someone else in a tricky gifting situation.

Make a joke of a silly (or inappropriate) gift to lighten the mood, suggest someone else that might LOVE the sweater of Canadian Geese your Aunt just found you on Ebay, or simply offer to take care of it for the receiver until all ‘judging’ parties are out of sight.

Just remember that whether you are becoming the First Lady, the favourite Auntie to your special nephew or the office Secret Santa; gifting blunders and bloopers can happen to anyone of us; no one is immune; but focus on your giving intention and everything else will work itself out.

Thanks for stopping by,

Carole Mac


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