A couple of weeks ago, a very elegant, engraved invitation arrived for a special birthday celebration. There was an email address and phone number for RSVP’s and also a request, “No Gifts Please”.
We are going to that party this evening and we are sure that there will be gifts. Many don’t believe in walking into a birthday party empty handed. It’s a show of gratitude and friendship and who doesn’t like a present? They believe that deep down inside the person who asked for no gifts really wants gifts.
The request should be respected for a number of reasons. A lack of space for another book or knick-knack is one. An article of clothing can end up being more of a hassle than a gift, especially if it doesn’t fit or if it’s just plain wrong. You’re sending the person who didn’t want a gift shopping for an exchange. What if they hate shopping or don’t have the time?
Also, consider those who won’t be arriving with presents in hand. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than a few guests arriving together and some are empty handed while others are holding small gift bags or nicely wrapped boxes. To say the least, it’s an awkward moment caused by, we believe, the gift bearers. Each is looking and the other wondering if they’ve done the right thing no matter what the invitation said. If coming without something makes you feel like a lesser person, why not send a bottle of champagne before the party or after with a note?
We will report next week on the presence of presents at this party. What’s your guess? Do you honor no gift requests?
I send something before the party if it is close friend to whom I would normally give a gift. A contribution to a friend's favorite charity is always welcome. I often do this for anniversary parties and things like that.
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