Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To gift, or not to gift?

Just as a follow-up to yesterday: the thank-you to the innkeeper is on its way!

Okay, so I have a slew of parties coming up, and it dawned on me that there are many areas of etiquette that are fuzzy, because no matter how much us good-manners lovers bitch about it, the general public is just going to do as it pleases anyway. (Actually, I think that's unfortunately true about all etiquette guidelines. But anyway...)

The one party "rule" that is always messy is whether to say "no presents" on the invite.

Old-school etiquette says that any mention of presents on the invite (email, evite, or hand-written) is tacky. You don't mention presents either way. I agree with half of this: you don't mention that you want presents, nor do you ever mention where you (or the guest of honor) are registered. Registry info goes on a separate card.

I'm actually okay with "no presents" on the invite...but the much of the general public isn't. Mainly because they won't (or don't want to) listen.

If you say "no presents," invariably, there will be the one or two guests who insist on bringing a gift, thereby making the others (who followed your instructions) feel uncomfortable. When these naysayers show up, gift in hand, thank them quietly, then spirit the gift off to an undisclosed location, away from partyland.

The other good graces faux pas comes in the form of those who put "no presents, please" on their invites, and then secretly hope their guests will bring presents. These people usually end up getting pissed off that everyone followed their instructions.

The easiest, most fool-proof strategy all around? Don't mention presents at all. If some show up, put 'em away. If they don't, well, then, you had your friends over and had a good time.