Tag Archives: gifts

Gifting Etiquette: Exploring Brits’ Gift-Giving Habits

Gifts. What’s not to love, right? From birthdays and anniversaries to holidays and baby arrivals, we’ll find any excuse to slip a gift into a special occasion. It’s a tradition that has shone for so long, because while gifts may be material, their overarching message is one of love. Yet, in the age of the conscious consumer, do we still care about traditional gifts?

We surveyed 2,000 Brits to find out more about their gifting etiquette.

Are you someone that loves a special occasion, partly for the purpose of giving and/or receiving gifts? Or, are you someone that would be happy to see this tradition go?

For some, it’s the holy grail of special occasions. Picking out presents and choosing pretty gift boxes, complemented by cards that perfectly represent your nearest and dearest (perhaps with an in-joke or two!?). And of course, on the other side – being the recipient of said gifts.

For others however, these gifts are overrated. Perhaps you’d rather be surrounded by loved ones; lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle with less consumption; or make memories through experiences, rather than give or receive material things.

What’s your stance? It’s time to find out where we stand as a nation on ‘gift-iquette’ in Britain.

What gifts do we want as a nation?

Receiving gifts

We asked Brits what types of gifts they most wanted to receive on a special occasion.

Turns out, cold hard cash was the gift recipients wanted to receive most. Over a quarter of Brits (26%) chose money over anything else. In expensive times with more costs to cover than ever before, are financial pressures causing us to pick the practical choice? Though this was a top pick to receive, it’s often an unpopular one to give – namely because deciding on an amount can be a delicate subject.

Lucky for gift-givers, then, that 74% (almost three quarters) of votes went towards ‘traditional’ gifts, with clothing, technology and beauty products the most popular choices. This means there’s a whole lot of people that still appreciate something picked specially for them, and presumably the act of opening something on their special day. If you’re struggling for

something to buy, take note: out of the above, women preferred to receive clothes (21%) and beauty products (12%), while men preferred to receive technology (23%) and clothes (19%).

We hear a lot of talk about the ‘experiential generation’ but not even 2 in 10 people chose an experiential gift. This could include the likes of a dinner date, a concert ticket or a flying lesson. Finally, only 5% of people chose a gift that goes towards a charitable cause – which, could be anything from donating to a charity on your behalf to sponsoring an endangered animal in your name. Only 13% of Brits wanted nothing at all.

The act of giving and receiving a ‘tangible’ gift still matters

Not only did we clarify that Brits still love a gift, but their gift preferences are still geared towards tangible items, too. Of those that had a preference, we found that 64% of Brits would prefer to receive a physical gift, versus only 17% of those that would opt for something digital.

Interestingly, 43% of Gen Z-ers and Millennials had no preference between a physical or a digital gift, showing they’re not so tied into traditions as the older generation. So, unsurprisingly, 9 in 10 Brits that are 45+ year-old said that they would actively prefer a physical gift over that of a digital one.

When it comes to ‘gift-iquette’, we also found that over a third (36%) of gift givers said they’d possibly feel guilty about not giving a tangible gift – but why?

Gift-giving

When we asked those that said they would feel this way, over half (53%) said it was because they viewed tangible gifts as more thoughtful and personal. This was followed by 37% who stated, “it’s important that the recipient has something tangible to unwrap”, and 28% who said they just do, “because it’s proper social etiquette”. Of course, almost 2 in 10 (18%) said they had to return the gesture when someone has gifted them something tangible, too.

Is a greener way of life changing our ‘gift-iquette’?

Almost 2 in 10 Brits said that they have considered the environmental impact of gifts prior to purchase and have chosen not to buy a gift because of this.

For most however, the perfect gift takes priority: almost half (47%) say that whether they’ve considered the environmental impact or not, this would not deter them from their chosen gifts for a friend, family member or other. This could include anything from a single-serving product to something with excess packaging, or anything that requires batteries that could corrode in our landfills.

This means that when it comes to the gifting process, 30% of us never think about the fact that our gift might be unwanted or wasted. Additionally, we never think about the environmental impact of making and sending greeting cards (38%), wrapping paper (32%) and product packaging (28%).

How to gift sustainably

Sustainable gifting

For those that want to follow traditional ‘gift-iquette’ while still taking steps towards a greener world – here are some handy tips to reduce your carbon footprint, without giving up the joy of gift-giving!

  • Wrapping: When you’re choosing wrapping paper, it’s the shiny ones that are often unrecyclable. This is the same for any paper with metallic, glitter or textured outers, so try to choose recyclable gift paper for wrapping presents.
  • Gift boxes: Many gift boxes are not recyclable due to the materials that they are made of. By having eco gift boxes and bags to hand, you can say no to excess gift packaging pushed by stores, and make sure the gifts you give are packaged in a greener way.
  • Sticky tape: If you want to go all-out green, pick up some eco-responsible tape. It’s made with natural rubber adhesives that can be recycled at the same time as your eco-wrapping paper and gift boxes.
  • Re-using gift bags and boxes: Each year, whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays or other occasions, we’re given a handful of gift bags, gift tags, wrapping paper and more that we can store away. What better way to stay green and save money, by keeping their life cycle going and regifting to someone else?

RAJA offer sustainable alternatives across an extensive range of wrapping and packaging, ensuring to incorporate eco-responsible practices at every step. Take a look at our range of gift boxes, which make for a great option for all your gifting needs.

Packaging for Weddings abroad

Packaging your wedding goods

With wedding season upon us, many brides-to-be will be finalising seating arrangements and writing their vows. Getting married can be one of life’s most memorable experiences, especially when you add the extra glamour of doing it abroad. But for everything to go as planned, you need to think about how you are going to send your dress, clothes and cake to your destination, or get those precious keepsakes back home again afterwards. At Rajapack, we know a thing or two about packaging, so follow our advice and your cake, flowers and dresses will arrive at the venue in perfect condition.

 How to pack wedding goods for a flight

Flying to your wedding destinationTransporting wedding goods to and from your destination can be tricky if you’re planning on saying “I do” with the sand between your toes. Despite any verbal or written agreement you might get from an airline prior to travel, there is no guarantee that they will accept anything in a garment bag, as it will exceed maximum carry-on dimensions.

To avoid check-in troubles, here’s what to do:

  1. Ensure you have a suitable carry-on suitcase, ideally with a hard-shell case.
  2. Use the right packaging materials: use large sheets of white tissue paper to separate layers in the dress and to fold any suits. Our tissue paper is made from 100% pure wood pulp, is unglazed and acid-free to guarantee no damage to delicate fabrics.
  3. Wrap the whole garment in high quality bubble wrap. We use air-retention technology in our bubble wrap to ensure maximum protection.

Top Tip: If you struggle to fit your dress into your suitcase, take it to a local wedding dress company who will be used to packing dresses. And if you can’t bring a steamer with you for your arrival, hang your dress up in the bathroom and blast the shower to steam up the room – this will naturally remove creases from the dress.

Sarah Cogan from Set Ready Garment Bags advises “After the dress has been packed in either a wedding bag or in another garment bag, it would be wise to place a protective layer of clothes on either side of the bag. If it needs to be folded in half to fit into a suitcase, an added layer of clothes within the fold will keep the dress from getting a major crease line.”

 How to send glass, china or crystal

Sending fragile good abroad

If you have friends or family joining you for your wedding abroad it’s important to package their gifts safely and securely, especially when sending breakable and expensive wedding gifts in the post. With the right packaging products, your gifts will be able to withstand even the most heavy-handed of postmen.

To avoid breakages, take a look at these handy tips:

  1. Wrap it up securely. Use our extra-cushioned bubble wrap and remember to secure it in place using masking tape. If you’re sending more than one item, it’s fine to use the same box, but wrap them up separately to avoid them knocking together.
  2. The box you use is really important, especially if you’re sending something big or heavy. Luckily, our toughest boxes can handle up to 500kg and are built to resist any kind of knocks or abrasions, thanks to the triple wall cardboard.
  3. Place your gift in the centre of the box and pack loose fill or rolled up kraft paper into any spaces to prevent it from moving around in transit.
  4. Seal up the box for extra security and add ‘Fragile’ tape around the parcel.

 How to deliver a wedding cake Sending your wedding cake abroad

The delicate cake is a big part of your wedding and it’s important to make sure that it stays in perfect condition. A squashed or collapsed cake can quickly spell disaster for unhappy brides. Wedding officiant Michael Motylinski of Blue Sky Ceremony, shares his story:

“I was delivering a three-tier cake, which I left in my car. 25 minutes later, when I got the cake from my car I barely made it five feet when the entire cake slid off the cake stand. The air-conditioning in my car had been blowing warm air and the cake and icing had melted.”

If you want to avoid the problems that Michael faced, follow these guidelines:

  1. Carefully consider the temperature to expect on your wedding day. Certain icings last longer at higher temperatures, so plan your cake around this.
  2. Before transporting a wedding cake, make sure it is set on a sturdy fibreboard or plywood base about ½ inch thick. Your cake shop should provide this or you can get your own from online suppliers.
  3. Remove any candles, toppers or decorations and if you have a tiered cake on pillars, it should be unassembled and each tier moved separately.
  4. A white box is generally used for a wedding cake, but standard cake boxes can prove flimsy, so opt for one of our double wall white boxes which come in a variety of sizes, for extra protection with a beautiful finish.

Top Tip: If you’re hiring a courier to deliver your cake, your secret weapon is the ingenious Tiltwatch packaging label. You simply stick a Tiltwatch label to the inside of your package and when it arrives, if the label has turned red, you will know that the parcel has been tilted.

With your wedding details planned, the extra spend on packaging and labels may seem unnecessary, but as Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events says: “Many times, it’s worth it. It is better to have and not need, than it is to need and not have.” Carefully consider the intricate details of safe delivery and you can enjoy peace of mind on the day.

Be sure that your wedding goods will arrive safely so all you need to do is get to the altar! 

Finland Baby Boxes: Why Cardboard?

Shared 1 million times and read over 10 million times, the BBC’s blog about Finland’s baby boxes has become one of the most viewed blogs in the history of the BBC website. This unusual story about a long standing national tradition has grabbed public imagination and sparked discussions across the country.

Finland's Maternity Package

Image © Finnish Baby Box Ltd

BABIES AND BOXES

For the last 150 years, parents of new-born babies in Finland have been given a padded cardboard box that acts as a Moses basket for the first few weeks of their child’s life.

These boxes are provided by the Finnish state, but can be bought online from companies such as Finnish Baby Box.

Anssi Okkonnen, a founder of Finnish Baby Box, told us:

“The Finnish Baby Box is a great starter-kit to parenthood with a selection of high quality indoor and outdoor clothes that will help clothe the baby for the first 9 months, hygiene products such as nail clippers and bath thermometer, and the baby can sleep in the box too, as it comes with fitted mattress, sheets, duvet cover and a sleeping bag. The box is a safe and cozy place for the baby to sleep and it is surprisingly convenient when placed next to the parents bed – night feeding is easy and the baby is nearby but does not share the bed.”

The reason why this story is so popular though, seems to be the quirkiness of the material. Cribs and strollers are usually made from wood or robust plastic, not cardboard!

People don’t usually associate cardboard with being a suitable storage option for babies, which is incredible given its versatility, and the fact that we use it to ship other fragile items.

Statistics show that around 90% of packages sent every year are done so in cardboard packaging. That is an incredible percentage given the variety of goods and products that are being sent.

WHY CARDBOARD?

If parents in Finland have put their trust in cardboard boxes to accommodate their sleeping infants, why haven’t we?

First of all, it’s useful to look at the properties of the material. Cardboard doesn’t splinter or smash and is getting stronger and stronger, with new processes of manufacturing making boxes more durable and crush resistant than ever before. Companies such as ourselves offer extra strong triple-walled boxes, ideal for heavy or fragile goods which can support a weight up to 500kg – not that you’d need that for a baby!

What’s more, cardboard is not only a durable material, it is flexible too. A cardboard box can easily be adjusted to suit a particular size or shape.

Secondly, being manufactured with different layers of fluting, cardboard is an excellent insulator which is sure to keep babies warm in winter.

Thirdly, from an eco-friendly and environmental perspective, cardboard is one of the most sustainable packaging materials on the market, with many boxes being manufactured from recycled cardboard. Cardboard boxes can also be reused over and over again, to store items, move goods and of course, for growing families.

Many cardboard boxes also carry the Mobius Loop, a sign that they can be recycled, while some boxes are even manufactured to be biodegradable after use. This allows companies to adhere to green policies, and once a baby is old enough, parents can easily dispose of the box.

So it seems that Finland’s baby boxes are a real alternative to plastic cribs, strollers or Moses baskets; after all warmth, comfort and protection are the ideal conditions for any sleeping baby!

 MAKING IT PERSONAL

Inside the Baby Box

Image © Finnish Baby Box Ltd

With ‘personalisation’ seemingly the latest buzz term in packaging, cardboard boxes can easily be marked and personalised. For businesses, they can become an extra form of advertising to help strengthen a company’s brand, and overprinting allows them to add their own branding or bespoke design directly onto the cardboard.

It’s a material that can easily be personalised by parents to match their baby’s personality and character. They could have their own initials, name, birth sign or favourite picture on the box.

Cardboard boxes also make an ideal ‘keep sake’ or memory box for children, allowing them to store their most cherished items.

 

 BABY BOXES FOR BRITAIN – COULD IT WORK?

After reading the BBC article, we wondered why the baby boxes idea hasn’t yet been adopted in Britain. The benefits of cardboard are clear to see, so why shouldn’t we use it in the UK? We’ve run the numbers to see just how much it would cost the taxpayer in this country for the NHS to produce boxes for every new born baby.

Based on the most recent figures of baby births (taken from 2014), it would cost £6.5m to ‘box’ every baby in Britain. But if Finland, a country where temperatures can drop to -50°C, can trust cardboard boxes to protect their precious newborns, then there’s no reason why Britain couldn’t do the same.

Please note that Rajapack do not stock the Finnish baby boxes that are discussed in this article. The article is purely a response to a topic that was widely discussed at the time of writing.

Sending Presents for Valentine’s Day

For most couples, Valentine’s Day will involve flowers, a romantic meal out or maybe even just a night in cuddling on the couch, but what about those in long distance relationships? How do you spoil each other when distance is an obstacle? The answer of course is a good old parcel. But what should you include and how do you make sure it will be safe when posted?

There are many reasons a couple may be apart on Valentine’s Day; students studying in different cities, professionals who have to work abroad, or those away on a business trip that want to make a gesture before they return home.  Whatever the reason, sending gifts is a big part of celebrating Valentine’s Day if you’re apart, and don’t worry – posting gifts can be just as romantic as any gesture made in person.

Image of Pink Roses

If you’re thinking of sending a parcel for your loved one this Valentine’s Day there are a few things you should consider before packing and sending it:

1. Make sure you can actually send your intended present through the post

Many items are deemed unsafe or unsuitable to send through the post so always check to make sure first. The Royal Mail has a list of restricted goods  on their website which includes the following:

  • Alcohol*
  • Batteries*
  • Electronic devices
  • Lighters
  • Living creatures
  • Magnets
  • Perfumes and aftershaves
  • Flowers
  • Food
  • Sharp objects*
  • Paint 

As well as a list of prohibited goods, which includes the following:

  • Items with batteries more powerful that 100W, including some laptops and power tools
  • Living creatures
  • Goods made in foreign prisons 

Rules and laws vary from country to country, and additional checks on whether you can send your package are necessary just to be on the safe side.

*unless packaged correctly. See our section below: Packaging presents correctly.

2. Make sure your intended present can survive the trip

Royal Mail suggest that items should not be sent domestically if they would not survive more than 48 hours in transit – this is likely to include popular Valentine’s presents like chocolates and flowers. Both of these items are only seen as restricted by Royal Mail, but flowers are easily crushed, and chocolates can melt; both of these outcomes are likely if posting internationally.

If you’re intending to send flowers, using a courier service that specialises in flower deliveries is a much safer option.

Similarly, if you’re sending crafts or homemade items you will want to make sure they are packaged correctly so they don’t end up broken. 

Packaging presents correctly

Alcohol

Alcohol is a very popular present to send through the post, particularly nice bottles of wine. There are however restrictions on these that many people may not be aware of.

Legally, Alcohol with an ABV of 24% or less has to be wrapped in polythene and sealed with tape. This then needs to be surrounded with an absorbent material and enough protective material to prevent unwanted breakages.

The volume of the bottle in the parcel cannot exceed 1 litre per item. This means that most average wine bottles are okay, but larger wine bottles are not – unfortunately you won’t be able to send that Melchizedek of champagne!

All packages containing glass bottles must be clearly labelled as ‘FRAGILE’. As well at this, the sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

For stronger alcohols (those between 24% and 70% ABV) there is one extra restriction to be aware of: no more than two items can be sent in any one package. 

Food Stuffs

Foods are extremely popular around Valentine’s Day (think chocolates and sweets) but they’re actually one of the most heavily restricted things you can send in the post.

As a rule of thumb, all foodstuffs sent through the post must be able to last more than 48 hours in transit; first class postage should always be used.

Like alcohol, all foods must be wrapped in polythene in case of spillages, and must be packed in a strong corrugated cardboard box with adequate protective material.

No frozen water or dry ice is allowed to be sent in the post. 

Perfume

Perfume is extremely restricted so it’s good to know the facts before you go sending some to your lover. Firstly, the volume per item must be less that 150ml.  Secondly, the perfume must be in its original unopened packaging. Thirdly, it must be wrapped in a strong outer layer of packaging with a generous amount of cushioning to prevent breakages.  Finally (and most importantly) the package must clearly have an ID8000 label attached to the outside.

To get an ID8000 label, the package and the goods must be presented to the Post Office counter.

Clothing and other soft goods

When sending clothing to your loved one it’s worth noting that although there aren’t as many restrictions, there are some good pieces of advice worth following.

Firstly, boxes are not necessary for sending clothing, however if you want to reduce the risk of damage a box may be worth considering.  Secondly, if you’re sending other items with the clothing, say for instance chocolate, you may want to separate the items with polythene packaging to prevent marks and stains. 

In Conclusion

Sending presents through the post is a great way of spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day when you can’t be there, but there are many restrictions you must be aware of when sending alcohol, food stuff, perfume and clothing.

By remembering to wrap things properly to avoid breakages, most things will be fine, especially if sent first class.

If in doubt, always ask a member of staff at the Post Office, and always remember: get proof of postage and insurance if the items are expensive or valuable.