1. Gifts are always optional on the part of a guest. The lack of a gift cannot be used by a host as a barrier to admittance of a guest-even when the occasion is a birthday party, wedding, or shower.
2. Recipients must receive all gifts graciously. They must thank the giver and not dispose of the gift in the giver's presence, make negative comments about the gift, or indicate in any way that the gift is unwelcome or compares unfavorably with other gifts received. This includes rejecting gifts that were not on a registry. They are also not entitled to a receipt in order to return the gift although it is a kindness to include it.
3. If a gift is sent to a recipient, the recipient needs to send a graciously worded thank-you note to the giver; if the gift is given in person, the thank-you must at least be said to the giver. Written thank-yous are not necessary for gifts given in person (except for shower or wedding gifts) or for gifts given as thank-yous.
4. It is rude to regift in the presence/earshot of a giver, to regift items that have been engraved or otherwise customized for the recipient, or not to remove indications that the gift is a regift.
5. Unsolicited "no gift" and "cash only" requests are rude. They improperly assume control over the funds of others.
6. Charitable contributions are not appropriate as gifts to third parties or as "favors." Hosts and honorees should not use their own personal events to solicit donations to charities, no matter how worthy the causes.
7. It is not rude to choose not to register for wedding or baby gifts. If one is a potential giver, one is not entitled to expect the intended recipient to create a registry. It should be strictly the recipient's choice.
8. Registries should be limited to weddings and for babies and should not include the following types of items:
-Anything to do with reproduction (weddings only) or of a highly personal nature
-Items for children (weddings only) or pets
-High-end items only
-Mundane items that the couple would obtain in the course of ordinary life (e.g. groceries)
9. Registry information must never be included in invitations or given out unsolicited. When one is making a website, one may include an E-mail link that users may click to ask questions of the website owner, but registry information should not be included in a website.
10. It is not appropriate to use or withhold promised gifts to "teach lessons" to others.
11. When one is a dinner guest or houseguest, it is appropriate to give a host/ess gift to the homeowner.
12. One should not expect or be expected to "cover one's plate" by giving a gift of a specified value. It is not appropriate for hosts to expect their guests to reimburse them for the costs of entertaining them through their gifts. Guests should not ask hosts about the costs of entertaining with the intention of "covering their plates."
13. Although hosts and honorees are not entitled to "expect" gifts at their events, guests who attend showers and children's birthday parties should bring gifts with them. Wedding gifts should be sent to the couple before or after the wedding whenever practical in the US. In other places, it is acceptable to bring them to the wedding.
14. No guest need spend any amount that s/he cannot afford to give a gift. It is perfectly acceptable and expected to limit the monetary value of gifts to one's budget.
15. Unless the occasion is a shower or child's birthday party, givers should not expect recipients to open their gifts in their presence, especially when it is not practical to do so. It is a kindness to givers to open their gifts when they are present, but it must be done without disrupting the occasion or making others uncomfortable.
16. Guests of events that are not showers or child's birthday parties should not be subjected to "gift openings" by recipients of gifts-in the US, this includes weddings.
17. Once a gift is transferred from the giver to the recipient, it becomes the recipient's property to keep, use, or dispose of as s/he sees fit-even if the giver disapproves. It is not polite for a giver to inquire about a gift if its presence is not apparent, especially with the intent of "catching" the recipient in awkwardness. However, it is rude for a recipient to indicate that s/he plans to return all gifts received for their cash value.
18. Gifts do not require reciprocation.
19. Wedding gifts may be given within a one-year period of the marriage.
20. Thank-you notes must be sent timely-a good guideline is within six weeks of receipt. The rule applies to bridal couples-it is incorrect that they have up to a year after the wedding to send thank-you notes.