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Show of hands: Did the holiday season completely sneak up on you? Great, then we’re all in the same boat. Thankfully, we’ve got some gift-giving guidelines that will make shopping a little less painful. Below, six do’s and don’ts you’ll want to commit to memory.

wrapped present

Do: Follow the Group’s Price Limits

So you’ve decided to participate in this year’s office gift exchange? Great. But before you open your Amazon Prime account, be sure to ask if there are any rules to keep in mind. Why? Well, if there’s a limit of $25 and you show up with an Echo Dot just because you happened to pick your boss’s name out of the bag, you’re going to make everyone else look bad. No one wants to be that person.

woman holding coffee

Don’t: Fall Prey to Bad Last-Minute Gifting

We totally understand feeling desperate and out of options, but drugstore candy and a generic hand lotion feel so impersonal. If you have to go this route, at least do some sleuthing to find out their favorite local coffee shop or where they get their hair cut. A gift card to one of these places shows that you were paying attention. 

Sponsored chase ultimate rewards

Do: Take Advantage of a Reward Points Programs

You know all those credit card points you racked up this year traveling to eight different weddings? Well, now’s the perfect time to put them to good use. Eligible Chase cardmembers can redeem rewards for gift cards to more than 150 retailers on Ultimate Rewards, from beauty to restaurants to travel and more. Plus, for the month of December, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers can save 10 percent when redeeming points for select gift cards through Ultimate Rewards. What’s more, this program allows you to use your earned points on just about anything, from gift cards to travel and experiences. And as long as your account is open, the points never expire. Saving money while buying gifts? Yes, please.

plan out dates

Don’t: Forget to Check In on Timing

If you plan to buy tickets for a play or concert, make it a point to check in with the recipient ahead of time. Of course, we all love the element of surprise. But nobody wants to get fifth-row seats to Dear Evan Hansen only to realize they have a business trip that day.

make a list

Do: Make a List of Everyone You Need to Buy For

This will ensure you don’t forget anyone important and help keep you organized. Get super specific and add things like the maximum amount you want to spend and the addresses for any gifts you’ll need to ship. We might as well call you Mrs. Claus.

red wine glasses

Don’t: Ignore Personal Preferences

Say you’re heading to a coworker’s house for dinner and you bring along a really nice bottle of Syrah for the hostess. Sure, you know how great that 2014 Jean-Louis Chave Offerus St. Joseph is, but…your hostess actually doesn’t drink. Avoid this awkward mistake by gently keeping tabs on all of your giftees. Hint: You can also add this information to the aforementioned list.

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