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Grade-A Gifting

Grade-A Gifting

How to choose a thoughtful present for upcoming occasions

We’ve all been there: We have an occasion coming up and feel completely lost about what kind of gift is appropriate. From a boss’s birthday to a friend’s dinner party and housewarming treats to showing gratitude to your child’s teacher, gift-giving doesn’t have to be tricky. As founder and president of luxury home decor and furnishings company EtúHome, Stacy Borocz and her staff regularly help clients find the perfect gift. Here, she shares her secrets to demystify gifting.


If you know your recipient on an intimate level, choices abound. A luxury tea towel, an over-the-top bath accessory or a high-end hand lotion are good places to start. “I like to consider gifting something I know the person would enjoy but might not buy for themselves,” Borocz says. “Those are the most special gifts–receiving something you desperately want but would never indulge in.”


For those recipients whose preferences might be more of a mystery (think your spouse’s boss or a new neighbor), “more universal gifts such as a luxury candle, a lovely box of packaged soaps, a wood serving tray or a handsome cheese knife often fit the bill,” says Borocz. “Specialty foods such as jams, spices, mustards or gourmet pasta and sauces in striking gift packaging are also thoughtful.”


Flowers, wine or a box of specialty chocolates are always appropriate hostess gifts, but Borocz warns away from bringing food to be served at a meal unless the host specifically requests it. “It’s safe to assume the hostess has already taken great care in choosing the menu and has a plan,” she says. “Bringing a dish, including dessert, may make her feel obligated to serve something that does not go with her menu or does not fit aesthetically on her table.”


Presentation is always important. “A thoughtfully wrapped box or package makes someone feel special. Pre-boxed candles or something chosen from your favorite store in their specialty gift bag are a nice touch,” says Borocz, who notes that grocery store gift bags can have the opposite effect, conjuring the notion that the gift was an afterthought.

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