Author Topic: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?  (Read 6540 times)

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gellchom

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2014, 12:17:17 PM »
Here's where I think some of us are getting confused.  In her original (and only) post, Lilblu wrote both
Quote
My understanding is that etiquette rules dictate that I am supposed to give her a gift even though I am not going to the wedding.
and
Quote
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case.

I appreciate that there is a difference between a violation of etiquette and rudeness -- they aren't coextensive (i.e., there are etiquette violations that are incorrect but not rude, and there is rudeness that is technically correct).  But Lilblu is giving herself credit for understanding the difference, while unkindly assuming that her cousin does not:
Quote
Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift.
There may well be more facts to support that assumption, but she hasn't shared them with us, so all we're left with is her making, without any discernible reason, the unkindest possible assumption about the motives of relatives she says she doesn't even know well anymore and a fiance she doesn't know at all.

Now, to stick up for Lilblu, she isn't making this up out of whole cloth.  Right here on eHell, we have seen that a few -- not all -- authorities do (or did) say that even if you don't attend, you should send a gift for every wedding invitation (at least "real" invitations, not courtesy or mass invitations) you receive.  I don't agree with that, but we have seen it.  But to logically extend that to "Therefore, as those issuing the invitations know that their guests will be thus obliged, every wedding invitation is always fairly viewed as a demand for a gift" is just ridiculous: by definition, then, all wedding invitations would then be rude.  (Unless, I guess, they say "no gifts please," which wouldn't be rude but would be incorrect -- see above!  :))  And it may be that, perhaps because of the beliefs she referenced, that is exactly the logic Lilblu wants etiquette to follow, and therefore brand all weddings and invitations as rude.

I can't help but feel that the real reason for this post was to try to get eHell sanction for using the occasion to communicate to her relatives her feelings about weddings, gifts, and perhaps their motives in sending her the invitation.   And that is simply not okay -- and come to think of it, it wouldn't be okay even if she knew for sure that they really did expect a gift from her.  She is more than entitled to her beliefs, and I am not saying she isn't right -- maybe she would persuade us all, who knows.  But that's not the point -- whether you are right or wrong, you just don't use the occasion of a wedding or an invitation to criticize or question others' beliefs.  If you get an invitation to a flat earth seminar or anti-puppy festival, just politely decline.

Lilblu, I don't know if you are even still following this thread.  But if you are, and you want some help formulating a response, here is a suggestion.  As others have said, use either the response card if they sent one, or any piece of stationery, or a greeting card.  Write something like,
"Dear Cousin Lulabelle,
Thank you for the lovely [or just "your"] invitation.  Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend.  I look forward to meeting Dagwood someday.  My best wishes for a lovely day and for a long and happy life together.
Love [or "yours" or "sincerely" or "fondly" or whatever feels right, or nothing at all],
Lilblu

As for a gift, decide if there are any family dynamics that you care about that outweigh your anti-gift beliefs, and make your decision accordingly.  Either giving or not giving a gift is fine.  I know there are many who don't like charitable contributions as gifts, but in my community they are very common, so maybe that would work for you as a sort of compromise with yourself in this situation -- provided you are very careful to choose a charity you are sure they would like.

If this feels unsatisfying to you because you aren't getting something in there about your beliefs about weddings, gifts, or her motives, then I don't think that you are going to find the help you need here.

katycoo

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2014, 08:20:51 PM »
OP I appreciate your desire to not go into the details of your beliefs, but I wanted to ask, are they somewhat recent?  Have you been and gifted to weddings before you formed these beliefs?  If so, this could be more difficult than if this is your first exposure to this situation.

I think I would just decline and wish them well. 

purple

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2014, 09:35:17 PM »
Here's where I think some of us are getting confused.  In her original (and only) post, Lilblu wrote both
Quote
My understanding is that etiquette rules dictate that I am supposed to give her a gift even though I am not going to the wedding.
and
Quote
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case.

I appreciate that there is a difference between a violation of etiquette and rudeness -- they aren't coextensive (i.e., there are etiquette violations that are incorrect but not rude, and there is rudeness that is technically correct).  But Lilblu is giving herself credit for understanding the difference, while unkindly assuming that her cousin does not:
Quote
Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift.
There may well be more facts to support that assumption, but she hasn't shared them with us, so all we're left with is her making, without any discernible reason, the unkindest possible assumption about the motives of relatives she says she doesn't even know well anymore and a fiance she doesn't know at all.

Now, to stick up for Lilblu, she isn't making this up out of whole cloth.  Right here on eHell, we have seen that a few -- not all -- authorities do (or did) say that even if you don't attend, you should send a gift for every wedding invitation (at least "real" invitations, not courtesy or mass invitations) you receive.  I don't agree with that, but we have seen it.  But to logically extend that to "Therefore, as those issuing the invitations know that their guests will be thus obliged, every wedding invitation is always fairly viewed as a demand for a gift" is just ridiculous: by definition, then, all wedding invitations would then be rude.  (Unless, I guess, they say "no gifts please," which wouldn't be rude but would be incorrect -- see above!  :))  And it may be that, perhaps because of the beliefs she referenced, that is exactly the logic Lilblu wants etiquette to follow, and therefore brand all weddings and invitations as rude.

I can't help but feel that the real reason for this post was to try to get eHell sanction for using the occasion to communicate to her relatives her feelings about weddings, gifts, and perhaps their motives in sending her the invitation.   And that is simply not okay -- and come to think of it, it wouldn't be okay even if she knew for sure that they really did expect a gift from her.  She is more than entitled to her beliefs, and I am not saying she isn't right -- maybe she would persuade us all, who knows.  But that's not the point -- whether you are right or wrong, you just don't use the occasion of a wedding or an invitation to criticize or question others' beliefs.  If you get an invitation to a flat earth seminar or anti-puppy festival, just politely decline.
Lilblu, I don't know if you are even still following this thread.  But if you are, and you want some help formulating a response, here is a suggestion.  As others have said, use either the response card if they sent one, or any piece of stationery, or a greeting card.  Write something like,
"Dear Cousin Lulabelle,
Thank you for the lovely [or just "your"] invitation.  Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend.  I look forward to meeting Dagwood someday.  My best wishes for a lovely day and for a long and happy life together.
Love [or "yours" or "sincerely" or "fondly" or whatever feels right, or nothing at all],
Lilblu

As for a gift, decide if there are any family dynamics that you care about that outweigh your anti-gift beliefs, and make your decision accordingly.  Either giving or not giving a gift is fine.  I know there are many who don't like charitable contributions as gifts, but in my community they are very common, so maybe that would work for you as a sort of compromise with yourself in this situation -- provided you are very careful to choose a charity you are sure they would like.

If this feels unsatisfying to you because you aren't getting something in there about your beliefs about weddings, gifts, or her motives, then I don't think that you are going to find the help you need here.

Yes! 100% yes!
This is how I feel but couldn't articulate as well as you did  :)
Thank you.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2014, 09:40:48 PM »
Here's where I think some of us are getting confused.  In her original (and only) post, Lilblu wrote both
Quote
My understanding is that etiquette rules dictate that I am supposed to give her a gift even though I am not going to the wedding.
and
Quote
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case.

I appreciate that there is a difference between a violation of etiquette and rudeness -- they aren't coextensive (i.e., there are etiquette violations that are incorrect but not rude, and there is rudeness that is technically correct).  But Lilblu is giving herself credit for understanding the difference, while unkindly assuming that her cousin does not:
Quote
Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift.
There may well be more facts to support that assumption, but she hasn't shared them with us, so all we're left with is her making, without any discernible reason, the unkindest possible assumption about the motives of relatives she says she doesn't even know well anymore and a fiance she doesn't know at all.

Now, to stick up for Lilblu, she isn't making this up out of whole cloth.  Right here on eHell, we have seen that a few -- not all -- authorities do (or did) say that even if you don't attend, you should send a gift for every wedding invitation (at least "real" invitations, not courtesy or mass invitations) you receive.  I don't agree with that, but we have seen it.  But to logically extend that to "Therefore, as those issuing the invitations know that their guests will be thus obliged, every wedding invitation is always fairly viewed as a demand for a gift" is just ridiculous: by definition, then, all wedding invitations would then be rude.  (Unless, I guess, they say "no gifts please," which wouldn't be rude but would be incorrect -- see above!  :))  And it may be that, perhaps because of the beliefs she referenced, that is exactly the logic Lilblu wants etiquette to follow, and therefore brand all weddings and invitations as rude.

I can't help but feel that the real reason for this post was to try to get eHell sanction for using the occasion to communicate to her relatives her feelings about weddings, gifts, and perhaps their motives in sending her the invitation.   And that is simply not okay -- and come to think of it, it wouldn't be okay even if she knew for sure that they really did expect a gift from her.  She is more than entitled to her beliefs, and I am not saying she isn't right -- maybe she would persuade us all, who knows.  But that's not the point -- whether you are right or wrong, you just don't use the occasion of a wedding or an invitation to criticize or question others' beliefs.  If you get an invitation to a flat earth seminar or anti-puppy festival, just politely decline.
Lilblu, I don't know if you are even still following this thread.  But if you are, and you want some help formulating a response, here is a suggestion.  As others have said, use either the response card if they sent one, or any piece of stationery, or a greeting card.  Write something like,
"Dear Cousin Lulabelle,
Thank you for the lovely [or just "your"] invitation.  Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend.  I look forward to meeting Dagwood someday.  My best wishes for a lovely day and for a long and happy life together.
Love [or "yours" or "sincerely" or "fondly" or whatever feels right, or nothing at all],
Lilblu

As for a gift, decide if there are any family dynamics that you care about that outweigh your anti-gift beliefs, and make your decision accordingly.  Either giving or not giving a gift is fine.  I know there are many who don't like charitable contributions as gifts, but in my community they are very common, so maybe that would work for you as a sort of compromise with yourself in this situation -- provided you are very careful to choose a charity you are sure they would like.

If this feels unsatisfying to you because you aren't getting something in there about your beliefs about weddings, gifts, or her motives, then I don't think that you are going to find the help you need here.

Yes! 100% yes!
This is how I feel but couldn't articulate as well as you did  :)
Thank you.

Just for the record, I didn't get that feeling from the OP's post at all.

purple

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2014, 10:18:35 PM »
^^Actually, whatsanenigma, I think you are right.  The part of the post I really agree with is the latter part - the sentiment that somebody else's big event is not the right venue for you (general) to jump up on your soapbox and start preaching your own beliefs and making your (general) stand.

Perhaps I just got a bit excited with the bolding and highlighted the whole paragraph rather than that part I really meant.  :)

whatsanenigma

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2014, 10:44:19 PM »
^^Actually, whatsanenigma, I think you are right.  The part of the post I really agree with is the latter part - the sentiment that somebody else's big event is not the right venue for you (general) to jump up on your soapbox and start preaching your own beliefs and making your (general) stand.

Perhaps I just got a bit excited with the bolding and highlighted the whole paragraph rather than that part I really meant.  :)

No worries, I was just scooping up all references to it in one big quote-tree swoop.   :)

And I actually agree with the general sentiment also.  I just don't think that's what this particular OP is doing.

gellchom

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2014, 12:14:13 AM »
Of course that may not be her motivation at all, and I hope it isn't.  The reason I got the sneaking feeling that it might be is that otherwise I wonder what the point of posting at all is. 

She wrote
Quote
So my problem is that I don't believe in weddings or wedding gifts. .... I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do about the gift? They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift. I've never really come across this problem before so I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
Note that she didn't ask if she has to send a gift, and she already knows she wouldn't be rude if she didn't:
Quote
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case.
(even though she also says that it is her "understanding that etiquette rules dictate" that she should).  So what does she mean, exactly, when she says she is "wondering what I'm supposed to do about the gift" and "I've never really come across this problem before"?  What "problem," exactly?  To me, since she already knows she isn't required to send a gift, it sounds like she is asking if she should explain to them that the reason she isn't sending them a gift is because she doesn't believe in weddings and wedding gifts.  And if she doesn't also sort of want to somehow comment on their rudeness in (she assumes) expecting gifts, why did she even mention that here?  If she would be satisfied by simply declining the invitation politely and sending no gift without comment, then I don't think we would have seen this post.

kareng57

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2014, 12:23:22 AM »
Of course that may not be her motivation at all, and I hope it isn't.  The reason I got the sneaking feeling that it might be is that otherwise I wonder what the point of posting at all is. 

She wrote
Quote
So my problem is that I don't believe in weddings or wedding gifts. .... I'm wondering what I'm supposed to do about the gift? They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case. Personally, I think it's rude of them to expect a gift. I've never really come across this problem before so I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
Note that she didn't ask if she has to send a gift, and she already knows she wouldn't be rude if she didn't:
Quote
They might perceive my lack of a gift as being rude when in fact that is not the case.
(even though she also says that it is her "understanding that etiquette rules dictate" that she should).  So what does she mean, exactly, when she says she is "wondering what I'm supposed to do about the gift" and "I've never really come across this problem before"?  What "problem," exactly?  To me, since she already knows she isn't required to send a gift, it sounds like she is asking if she should explain to them that the reason she isn't sending them a gift is because she doesn't believe in weddings and wedding gifts.  And if she doesn't also sort of want to somehow comment on their rudeness in (she assumes) expecting gifts, why did she even mention that here?  If she would be satisfied by simply declining the invitation politely and sending no gift without comment, then I don't think we would have seen this post.


Agree completely; I am quite baffled by OP's question.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with politely declining, and not sending a gift. (A card would certainly be nice but it's not mandatory). So, why make so much more out of the situation?

peaches

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2014, 12:27:23 AM »
My take on the original post was that she thought a gift would be required as a result of receiving an invitation (which we've made clear is not the case).

She felt she would be labeled as rude for not sending a gift when her intention is not to be rude, but simply to follow her beliefs which include not giving gifts.

I think she wants to avoid giving offense. Otherwise, why would she ask this on an Etiquette board? She could do whatever she wants without consulting anyone.

I think a lot of good suggestions have been given. Hopefully, they helped OP.

kareng57

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2014, 12:37:21 AM »
My take on the original post was that she thought a gift would be required as a result of receiving an invitation (which we've made clear is not the case).

She felt she would be labeled as rude for not sending a gift when her intention is not to be rude, but simply to follow her beliefs which include not giving gifts.

I think she wants to avoid giving offense. Otherwise, why would she ask this on an Etiquette board? She could do whatever she wants without consulting anyone.

I think a lot of good suggestions have been given. Hopefully, they helped OP.


Overall I do agree, but she's asserted that the HC are rude for "expecting" gifts.

Hopefully she will return with some clarification.

aussie_chick

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2014, 06:51:50 AM »
You are under no obligation to give a gift in this instance.
I would think about the post from Toots about considering what kind of relationship, if any, you hope to have with this cousin in future.
Either way, a card would be nice, but certainly not mandatory. And if you really don't approve of weddings and/or marriages (i'm not sure on this part) then send a "wishing you all the very best for your future lives together" without mentioning weddings or marriages.


TurtleDove

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2014, 07:19:54 AM »
I also got an "off" vibe from the OP, which made me fear she wants to use this wedding as a platform to make her views known. I think we all agree that would be wildly inappropriate.

I can't tell whether the OP is against wedding and marriage for herself or against weddings and marriage for all people? I have never heard of this and am interested to understand the reasoning.

Send a polite no, but don't make someone else's happy day about you.

sammycat

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2014, 07:27:42 AM »
I also got an "off" vibe from the OP, which made me fear she wants to use this wedding as a platform to make her views known. I think we all agree that would be wildly inappropriate.

I can't tell whether the OP is against wedding and marriage for herself or against weddings and marriage for all people? I have never heard of this and am interested to understand the reasoning.

Send a polite no, but don't make someone else's happy day about you.

POD

ladyknight1

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2014, 10:37:24 AM »
^ POD. Your personal beliefs are yours only. I think declining the invitation is the polite thing to do.

I find it questionable to assume the happy couple are expecting a gift and then to say that they are rude.

mime

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Re: Giving A Gift Is Against My Beliefs - What Do I Do?
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2014, 12:24:14 PM »
If my wedding were approaching and one of my invitations was sent to a relative who didn't believe in weddings or wedding gifts (and assuming I didn't know this information), and the relative has chosen to honor her beliefs by not bringing a gift (as it appears the OP has decided), I can see it playing out in a few ways:

1- The relative RSVPs "no" to the invitation, with or without any simple note of regret or best wishes.
No big deal. Not everyone can be there, for whatever reason.

2- The relative RSVPs "no" to the invitation, along with or followed by an explanation of her beliefs leading to the "no".
If the note was a kind and simple sentence or two, I would not find this rude. I would make an effort to be sensitive to her beliefs in the future.
If the note was preachy and/or unkind, I would likely leave that relationship distant and exclude her from future invitations of any type.

3- The relative attends the wedding, and brings no gift. I have to admit in all honesty that I would find that odd because bringing a gift is the typical behavior by a huge margin. I wouldn't dwell on it though: I may assume finances were tight and let it go-- after all, nobody is required to buy me something! (note: I did have a guest who attended my wedding and brought no gift, and this was roughly my reaction.)
If the no-gift came with an explanation of her beliefs that includes "I don't believe in weddings" I would wonder why she chose to come to my wedding in the first place, especially if our family had drifted apart over the last 10 years!

I think that to keep behavior and beliefs consistent, I would neither attend nor send a gift. This can be handled with absolutely no rudeness whatsoever.