Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gift Lexicon: Third-Tier Person

Third-Tier Person/Third Tier Gift: Someone whom you don't know very well, or are even particularly fond of, but are required to give a gift to. (First-Tier gifts are for best friends, spouses, significant others and close family members. Second-Tier are more of the same, except you don't like them QUITE as much.)

It's inevitable. Periodically, we are required to give presents to people we scarcely know, or even like. It might be a baby shower for a co-worker... a wedding present for your husband's second cousin, whom you have never met... a birthday present for a person in a group of friends that you don't actually like or get along with, but tolerate for the sake of the group. These are what I like to call "Third-Tier" Gifts; necessary for social obligations, but not gifts given from any real affection or knowledge of the person.

The criteria for gifts such as these should be as simple as possible: Usefulness. If it is a Shower/Wedding Gift, for example, there is always a Gift Registry to pick from; make use of this. Most of their friends and family will want to dazzle and delight; you can provide a real service by picking the most mundane, but genuinely useful item on the list and giving them that. If there is no Registry available, go for the practical. A Gift Card to a store of wide-ranging products (Target, Wal-Mart, will be more useful to them than many of the gifts they receive, and they will appreciate that you went for substance. Save your real ingenuity and effort for your First and Second-Tier Gifts.

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