Author Topic: Bad advice from Dear Abby. 3rd letter.. throw potluck party for your celebration  (Read 2828 times)

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hopeful4

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http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/2014/4/14/2#disqus_thread


Abby's response is already generating some negative comments.

siamesecat2965

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Oh i saw this too! If you can't afford a big party, then do what you can. Maybe cocktails and snacks, and a few close friends.

bah12

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There's nothing wrong with potlucks.  They are a type of party and perfectly legitimate...as long as the host/hostess is still providing something and up front about what guests can expect. 

Lynnv

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There's nothing wrong with potlucks.  They are a type of party and perfectly legitimate...as long as the host/hostess is still providing something and up front about what guests can expect.

I agree.

The only times I am annoyed by potlucks is when they are given for a "gifting" occasion (wedding, shower, birthday in which "no gifts" isn't stated, housewarming, etc).  An anniversary party isn't, at least in my circle, a gifting occasion.  So a potluck would be just fine.
Lynn

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shhh its me

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There's nothing wrong with potlucks.  They are a type of party and perfectly legitimate...as long as the host/hostess is still providing something and up front about what guests can expect.

I agree.

The only times I am annoyed by potlucks is when they are given for a "gifting" occasion (wedding, shower, birthday in which "no gifts" isn't stated, housewarming, etc).  An anniversary party isn't, at least in my circle, a gifting occasion.  So a potluck would be just fine.

I personally think "no potlucks" also applies to parties where you are the guest of honor.


*if it was someone else suggestion or already established rule for a group I think its fine*

POF

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I agree, in my side of the family - we will hae a lets celebrate everyone's b-day at once type thing..... its potluck - cause we are all guests of honor.  But ot invote people to celebrate YOU and ask them to help cater.... doesn't work for me. 

doodlemor

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I don't agree with Abby here.  I think that it is rather entitled to throw a potluck in which you are the guest of honor, and where people might also bring you gifts.

If I ruled the world were Abby I would have told the couple to organize a nice potluck picnic for their friends.  After dinner they could bring out some special wine and *then* tell people that it is their 25th anniversary, and that they wanted to share the occasion with their special friends, and so forth.  Then they could make some special toasts. 

That way no one would feel obligated to bring a gift, or to rearrange their busy summer plans to attend.

bah12

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I have never been to an anniversary party that required gifts.  It's just not a gift giving occasion in any circle that I've been acquainted with.

That being said, I still don't see the problem.  Potlucks are just as a legitimate type of party as any.  I personally don't like organizing them, so never throw them, but I have no problem going to them.  And it doesn't matter what the theme of the party is.  If someone I like very much said "We're having our 25th wedding anniversary and we want to share the day with our friends and family, come to the park for a potluck picnic, we'll bring the wine and my famous roast beef," I wouldn't think to myself..."well, I'd be all for the potluck picnic if it wasn't your anniversary and I'd be all for coming to an anniversary if I didn't have to make a macaroni salad, but since it's both your anniversary and I have to make a macaroni salad, I'm out."  Just doesn't make much sense.  And of course, if the macaroni salad/anniversary combo really does set you (general) off, then decline...doesn't make the party wrong though.

Harriet Jones

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As long as it's not a "BYO everything" and the couple is not expecting gifts, I think that a potluck could be ok.

SamiHami

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My own 25th anniversary was last Tuesday!

Anyway, while my friends were very congratulatory, I think it's an event that the couple celebrates and that it's a little precious to expect others to make a big deal of it (outside of family). We went out to dinner, and a few friends said they would like to come to celebrate with us, which was great. But we didn't plan a big event nor did we make our friends feel like they should make a big fuss.

 It just seems silly to me that the person that wrote in to Dear Abby seemed to think that having a party was obligatory. It's fine if you want to have one but really, if you can't afford to host one, don't try to pass the burden on to others. Just celebrate with your spouse.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

TootsNYC

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I have realized that I'm sort of weird w/ anniversaries. I don't consider them to be any business of other people's. Maybe it's the business of the couple's kids. And a 50th is a big deal (or maybe a 40th if the couple was older when they married)--at that point, you're really celebrating the community they've undoubtedly created, etc.

I find it offputting to get anniversary cards from anybody else, even my parents or ILs. I find anniversary parties awkward and strange, and 25 years isn't enough, to me for it to become a community's thing to mark.

But what's weird about a potluck anniversary party thrown by the anniversary couple is that it says, "Come celebrate us! And bring the food to do it with." That attention-grabby, to me. "Come celebrate us! We're hosting," that's asking for attention, but it's giving something out. "Let's all get together! And bring the food to do it with," is a nice organizing gesture, but it doesn't honor someone.
   "Come celebrate Other Person! And bring the food to do it with," is also organizing, and it's not asking for honor for the asker.

bah12

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I suppose it depends on how you view spending time with people and celebrating even minor milestones in others' lives.  I have been invited to a total of two anniversary parties, had a separate one thrown for me (surprise), and am aware of a handful of others. 

Just like pretty much everything else in life, how anniversaries are viewed (private affair vs. reason to celebrate outwardly), is going to differ from couple to couple, circle to circle.  And I don't think there is anything wrong with either.  For me personally, going to celebrate another couple's anniversary is no different than celebrating someone's new job, promotion, getting a professional certification, etc.  It's just a reason to go out and say "Hey!  We're friends. I like you.  You're happy right now, so let me come here and be happy with you.  Cheers!"  If it's not your thing, it's not your thing...but it being a turnoff to you, doesn't make it wrong.  I have never given someone an anniversary gift nor have I ever received one (from someone other than my DH).  Not to say that other circles wouldn't consider them gift giving occasions, but that's not a universal thing...not mentioned in the Dear Abby letter, and not, IMO, really relevent to whether or not a potluck is appropriate.

So potlucks.  They are a type of party.  Afternoon teas are a type of party.  There are also formal dinner parties, dance parties, sales parties, business parties, etc...and what is asked of the guests and provided to the guests can vary a million different ways within each kind. And I just don't see what the significance of the reason the party was organized to begin with plays into it.   What is required, I think, is a clear communication of what guests should expect to bring and what they will receive...and I think there are good ways to host and bad ways to host.  But arbitrary rules of no potlucks for anniversaries...I don't think so.

miranova

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I have realized that I'm sort of weird w/ anniversaries. I don't consider them to be any business of other people's. Maybe it's the business of the couple's kids. And a 50th is a big deal (or maybe a 40th if the couple was older when they married)--at that point, you're really celebrating the community they've undoubtedly created, etc.

I find it offputting to get anniversary cards from anybody else, even my parents or ILs. I find anniversary parties awkward and strange, and 25 years isn't enough, to me for it to become a community's thing to mark.

But what's weird about a potluck anniversary party thrown by the anniversary couple is that it says, "Come celebrate us! And bring the food to do it with." That attention-grabby, to me. "Come celebrate us! We're hosting," that's asking for attention, but it's giving something out. "Let's all get together! And bring the food to do it with," is a nice organizing gesture, but it doesn't honor someone.
   "Come celebrate Other Person! And bring the food to do it with," is also organizing, and it's not asking for honor for the asker.

I'm with you completely.

A 50th anniversary I could totally see as it would likely be more like a family reunion, after 50 years you've left a legacy at that point.

Other anniversaries I just don't see as public celebrations.  They can be very special, to the couple involved, but really when almost everyone you know is married, you can't go around celebrating everyone's anniversary all the time. It would be too many celebrations.

Also, and this might just be me, but.....I think it's weird when I receive an anniversary card from someone other than my husband, it always make me feel just a bit like "really, you are that impressed that I've stayed married for 3 years?" LOL.  I know I sound terribly ungrateful....I would never say that.  And I only get anniversary cards from my mother in law, no one else, but that's the affect it has on me.  I know it's my anniversary, and I don't expect anyone else to celebrate it.  But then again she also sends out cards for EVERY single family member (Individually, even kids living in the same house) for Valentines Day, Easter, etc etc.  I often wonder if she spends her entire life in the Hallmark store and post office.  I know, I know, I'm being mean again.  The thought is nice.  Just seems like overkill at times.

gellchom

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I don't really have a problem with this party.  There is nothing wrong with a potluck party, even to celebrate an anniversary.

I would, though, put "no gifts, please" on the invitation.  I know it isn't etiquette sanctioned (although it is so common here, I would say that the local etiquette does sanction it).  But it really is the perfect solution, in my opinion.  I don't know how else you can have a party for your own anniversary, birthday, graduation, or whatever, even not a potluck, without doing so.  And I do think it's okay to host parties for your own milestones provided it is very clear that gifts are not expected -- even if you are paying for the party, not doing a potluck.  So the only solution I can see is to put "no gifts, please" on the invitation.   

peaches

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I've been to a number of milestone anniversary parties. Some were hosted by the lucky couple and others by their children. The point is, they were hosted. And the guests were truly guests. 

I've never been to an anniversary potluck. To me, that says "We're so special you should give us a party."

I do think that anniversaries are mostly personal. I'd much rather have a great evening out with DH on our anniversary - or a weekend at a fancy hotel - than to spend it surrounded by friends and family. I might make an exception for anniversary #50 but haven't crossed that bridge yet.

I don't mind cards on our anniversaries. We have gotten some, and I think that's sweet. I have sent a fair number of cards to others for special anniversaries, 10th, 25th, 50th.