The Do’s & Don’ts of Belated Gift Giving

Let’s face it: no one is immune. Facebook, Evite, and digital registries can give us all the reminders they want, but even the best of us fall victim to forgetfulness. Not to worry; there are ways to redeem oneself and get back into the offended party’s good graces. Of course, the seriousness of the transgression varies, and the amount of groveling or money spent should reflect proportionately. So be it a coworker’s birthday or a wedding anniversary that slipped under your radar, keep these tips in mind as you make amends.


Self-deprecation is your best friend. When it’s put in writing, even better. Go beyond a trite “I’m sorry” and think of colorful, specific details that describe how awful you feel/what a jerk you are/how much sleep you are currently losing over the situation.


Get personal. If it’s just an acquaintance, a paperweight you grabbed from the drugstore won’t do, but a couple baseball tickets or gift certificate to a trendy restaurant should go over well. If it’s a close friend or loved one, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Your gift should reflect how much you value that person in your life. Be as sappy or sentimental as you need to be. Skip the personalized name on a platter and brainstorm items that symbolize your relationship.


Throw in an extra gift. On top of that belated gift that you worked so hard to get, you’ll need an extra one to act as a peace offering. This one can be smaller and easier to obtain (flowers, homemade baked goods, that iPhone accessory he’s been eyeing).


There’s no such thing as too late. Maybe you forgot Teacher’s Appreciation Week last month, or couldn’t attend your college roommate’s wedding a couple years ago; the act of gift-giving has no expiration date. The only social faux-pas would be to brush the omission under the rug and let the awkwardness mutate into a grudge.


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