The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving Summary

Dawn Bryan

The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving

Dawn Bryan has filled a void with this impressive volume. She shares the expertise she has gained in her business, Selectivite, as a consultant to corporations about international gift-giving customs and programs. Her approach is forthright and practical about business matters yet saves a touch of whimsy for creative suggestions on personal and family gifts.

Bryan’s experience and interest in her field are obvious. Triviality is kept at bay, and this volume can truly be called a reference book rather than a collection of anecdotes about the wealthy and powerful.

Well-indexed, with useful appendices that provide forms and guidelines, the book has eight major sections: “Gifting,” “American Gift Giving Holidays,” “Occasional Gifts,” “Business Gifts and Office Presents,” “International and Ethnic Gifts,” “When you Choose ...” (ranging from catalog buying to selecting pets), “Special Interests and Special Recipients,” and “Presentations.”

Covering purpose, selection, wrapping, and presentation, Bryan seems to have let nothing slip by her in this wide-ranging collection. The chapters on gift-giving customs around the world, offering fascinating facts of protocol, will be for some readers the most useful part of the book. For example, one should not expect a Japanese recipient to open his gift in the presence of the giver. White flowers are symbols of mourning in Scandinavia. Thank-you notes are rare in the Soviet Union. Australia’s strict quarantine laws prohibit the import of most meat and dairy products. The occasions on which gifts of certain kinds are expected vary widely around the world.

Other chapters were previously published as articles in various magazines. Lists of suggestions for coworkers, clergymen, and children are included along with ideas for promotional gifts for business, ranging from the simple and economical to the rare and upscale.