Author Topic: No gifts - better left unsaid?  (Read 3142 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2014, 10:40:33 AM »
I wouldn't bring it up unless anyone asked, and if they did, say "we just want you there, because we have everything we need for our household already" and if the person seems disappointed add something like "but if you already have something specific in mind, I'm not going to try to stop you." That leaves room for the cousin who wants to give you some sort of hand-crafted item [or the friend who thinks every new couple needs a left-handed widget, and was asking in case you were registered for a specific brand or color of widget].

That sounds really lovely and perfect - I may steal it!  Thank you.  I do worry that some people will still feel like, "ugh, now I have to figure something out, can't they just tell me what they want?"  But I guess, short of registering, I can't really stop that.  Unless I say "if all else fails, we love new sheets."  (Kidding, I would NOT do that.)


This is why registering for a small number of gifts might be a good idea.  Why make it more difficult for your guests?   If you don't register, how will you know where to return the NimboBumboMixer they thought you would really want and need?

And I have seen wedding advisors say, "if you really would rather have cash, don't have a big registry. That'll give people the hint."
   Of course, it's also, "If you really don't need very much stuff, don't register for very much stuff," but since that "give them a hint about cash" tip is out there, it's all very fraught.

That's why I get so crabby when people say, "the couple just wants cash!" or criticizes the number of stores they've registered with, etc.

gellchom

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2014, 10:51:17 AM »
I don't condone Millionaire Maria's harsh post, and I don't think anyone is acting pompous or superior or anything else bad.

And to give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she meant "general you," not anyone here.  Still pretty harsh, though. 

But her reaction is an extreme expression of what I was cautioning against.  You (general!) don't want anyone to feel that way about you, I'm sure.  That's why my advice, if you are going say (on an invitation or when asked or whatever) "no gifts please," is not to give any reason at all.  If asked for a reason, say something like "we are so lucky already and there is nothing we need," not "what we value is your presence."   Because that suggests that you think that other people who do not say "no gifts please" DON'T value friendship over possessions, or at least not as much as you do.  Does that make sense?

I know that's NOT how you feel.  The "presence" formulations are intended to tell hem how much you appreciate their efforts to attend, not to suggest that you have loftier values.

But I'll say it again -- you cannot control how others feel.  And as you see, right or wrong, there are people who are a little put off.  So since there really is no need for it, I would avoid that "presence" wording.

White Lotus

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2014, 11:07:20 AM »
I might suggest registering for one thing with a variety of price options -- China or crystal or silver allow purchase of ONE pickle fork or wine glass or tea cup -- but I also like the idea of offering the option of a charitable gift, such as to the Heifer Project or Give A Girl a Bike, or school tuition for one child for one year, in places where free public education is unknown.  I think I could really get behind a registry that said, "we are fortunate in our families and friends and in need of nothing material ourselves.  We'd love to share that fortune with those in need in a way that would better the world.  If you are so moved, please visit (link) to donate a (whatever) to a family/child in (place.)"
I love to fund charities that help people better their lives.  We don't do Christmas, of course, but I generally buy a fruit or nut orchard start, a sewing machine, school tuition, or a bike every year for somebody else.  I personally am attracted to bikes.  My first adult bike felt like freedom!

Millionaire Maria

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2014, 12:39:25 PM »
As I posted in another thread, I'm in exactly the same position - first wedding, we just don't want to register and do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money.  I don't have any advice to offer but I'm glad to know we aren't alone and now you know you aren't either :)

I understand that you probably think you're being virtuous here, but there really is no honor in not wanting gifts. It comes across as pompous and superior. Just because being a gimme pig is looked down upon does not mean that lacking a desire for gifts for gives you the moral high ground. A truly gracious and polite person feels gratitude for gifts genuinely given.

Wow, that's incredibly rude.  I do not think I am being virtuous nor do I think I have a moral high ground and I don't see how anything I've said would lead you to draw that conclusion.  Of course I am grateful if someone gives me a gift.

When you specifically said that you "do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money" it came across as very pompous to me. It struck me as saying "you couldn't possibly choose anything that we would like, so don't even bother trying", which is exactly how I feel every time I get an invitation that states "no gifts please". It's a rejection of someone's generosity before they have even offered it. Upon reflection, I agree that my post was too harsh and I apologize for that.
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TootsNYC

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2014, 12:42:49 PM »
I see Millionaire Maria's underlying point.

Far better to say, "We're uncomfortable receiving money" or "The whole wedding gift thing makes us uncomfortable" or "We really have everything we need and would have a hard time putting a list of suggestions together."

"Who doesn't want gifts?" is what I keep thinking. I mean, of course you aren't wishing for them, but if someone gave you something, wouldn't you be happy? I'd guess so.

So, far better to never mention gifts; when pressed, say, "we don't have a registry, because we really couldn't think of anything," or "we're not comfortable with gifts," or "we're hoping that if people feel strongly about giving a present, they give us something meaningful to them."

Kaymar

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2014, 01:05:19 PM »
I see Millionaire Maria's underlying point.

Far better to say, "We're uncomfortable receiving money" or "The whole wedding gift thing makes us uncomfortable" or "We really have everything we need and would have a hard time putting a list of suggestions together."

"Who doesn't want gifts?" is what I keep thinking. I mean, of course you aren't wishing for them, but if someone gave you something, wouldn't you be happy? I'd guess so.

So, far better to never mention gifts; when pressed, say, "we don't have a registry, because we really couldn't think of anything," or "we're not comfortable with gifts," or "we're hoping that if people feel strongly about giving a present, they give us something meaningful to them."

I'm someone who feels self-conscious receiving gifts, so no, I really don't want them.  My future spouse is not quite as weird about it as I am, but he does feel weird about registering for specific items, probably because it's something he's never done before.  I would never say "I don't want gifts" so bluntly to anyone in my life directly, but I thought it was OK to say on a message board for the sake of commiserating with another poster.  The whole wedding thing in general makes me uncomfortable but that's another story.


When you specifically said that you "do not expect or want gifts and we definitely do not want money" it came across as very pompous to me. It struck me as saying "you couldn't possibly choose anything that we would like, so don't even bother trying", which is exactly how I feel every time I get an invitation that states "no gifts please". It's a rejection of someone's generosity before they have even offered it. Upon reflection, I agree that my post was too harsh and I apologize for that.

Sorry for seeming pompous.  Whatever else I am, I can assure you I'm not that.  I don't have super refined tastes or anything.  I feel bad thinking of people going to trouble to buy me a gift and I feel self-conscious receiving gifts.  It has nothing to do with what I think of other people's tastes or their gifts.  It's about me and what I am comfortable with.  And I think I've said on this thread - if not it was on another similar thread - that I would never say "no gifts please" on an invitation.

Maybe this will give you some insight that there are people who don't want gifts who aren't judging you or thinking they are above you.  For my part, I hope my friends and family don't think I'm a pompous jerk because I'm not registering for bakeware.

TootsNYC

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2014, 01:13:32 PM »
It might help you to remember that--especially with wedding presents--people give gifts because *they* want to.

It really has almost nothing to do with you.

Kaymar

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2014, 01:26:35 PM »
It might help you to remember that--especially with wedding presents--people give gifts because *they* want to.

It really has almost nothing to do with you.

Maybe not, but my feelings about not wanting gifts are in fact about me, and that's what I was discussing upthread.  Again, I don't plan to reject anyone's gift.  I just wish there were a nice way to let people know they are off the hook if they don't have the time, energy or money to get me anything - all I want is for them to show up at my wedding and give us a hug.  I recognize, even more now, that there is in fact no way to do this that won't potentially lead to people thinking bad things about me, so I will just stay quiet.

TootsNYC

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2014, 01:47:14 PM »
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 01:48:56 PM by TootsNYC »

TurtleDove

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2014, 01:54:52 PM »
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

I come back to what I always say: the people I invite to my wedding would not think bad things about me.  I would not think bad things about people whose weddings I wish to attend.  Is TootsNYC's perspective valid? Of course it is, but I do think it is placing the worst construction on the situation, and I simply wouldn't do that to my friends and family and wouldn't expect them to do it to me.

So, in a general sense, I see what TootsNYC is saying, but OP, you know your friends and family and they know you.  Unless there is some toxicity, there is no reason to fear that they are looking for etiquette faux pas, or even if they see them, they are negatively judging you.  And if they are and it affected our relationship, if it were me, they would not be my friends anymore because my life is too short and too happy to waste time on that sort of nonsense!

Tea Drinker

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2014, 01:55:42 PM »
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

You know you don't have to: but not everybody does.

I keep seeing questions in advice columns that are variations on "I was invited to a wedding by a relative I barely know, do I have to send a gift?" or "a friend/relative is getting married, and I can't afford to attend the wedding and give them a present. What should I do?" People who believe that gifts are optional, and come from families/social circles that agree on this, don't write those letters, but someone is. Then there's the idea that if you go to a wedding, you have to give a gift that costs at least as much as what the couple are spending to feed you. And a significant number of the questions about that aren't "is that idea reasonable?" but "what if I don't know how much they're spending?" or "it's not fair that her parents are paying for a more expensive wedding than I had, so I have to spend twice as much on their wedding gift as she spent on mine."
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Kaymar

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2014, 02:08:20 PM »
They -know- they are off the hook. They -know- they don't have to give you anything.

We all know this. We can decide to not give you a gift anytime we want to.

For you to tell us this is actually a little insulting. It implies that you think the -only- reason we are giving you a gift is because we feel obligated. That always makes me mad a little when I hear it. Do you think I care about you so little that the only reason I'd give you a gift is because I think I have to? And that I resent it?

Believe me, we know we don't have to.

So yeah, smart to not say it.

But you might work on not thinking it either.

I think we've hit an impasse, but I feel the need to say again that me not being comfortable receiving gifts does not mean I think anything insulting about the people who might want to give me one.  I'm not "telling" anyone that I don't want gifts.  And I said nothing about anyone resenting me or resenting the gift buying process, sheesh!  These kinds of conversations (along with dress shopping) make me wish even more that eloping were an option for us, but it isn't.  I was trying to convey (apparently badly) that I don't like being the center of attention and I don't like any fuss - so to the extent that anyone felt like gift buying was an obligation, I wish they didn't.  To the extent that people are excited and have the perfect thing in mind, I will be touched and grateful to receive it - just as, not more or less, touched and grateful as I will be to see them on my wedding day.

Wordgeek

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Re: No gifts - better left unsaid?
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2014, 02:27:04 PM »
Thread locked, due to some truly insulting and incredibly judgmental statements, especially by Millionaire Maria and TootsNYC.  Shame on both of you.