How and when did this happen? It seems that all of a sudden, the masses consider most any occasion a gift-giving situation. Taking it a greedy step further, the gift-crazed often create personalized gift-giving events. Even worse, these gift-miners inform their dollar-poor guests what gifts they prefer. To that I must say, “Yikes!”
Some etiquette rules evolved due to this phenomenon. Whereas in the past, it was inappropriate to mention ‘no gifts please’ in birthday, graduation, vow renewal and anniversary party invitations, now we can. It was inevitable. After all, when so many feel entitled to a gift because they sneezed, we need a little guidance.
Let us try to remember the basics. Gifts should be given from the heart and because we want to give. Most importantly, we should never expect them for any occasion. Here is a bit of Q & A to help get us back on the proper etiquette road.
My daughter is graduating from high school. She has no college plans, as she prefers to work at her current job. On her graduation party invitation, how do I inform guests that she prefers to have cash gifts? Does the fact that she is not attending college make any difference in what type of gifts she receives?
Dear Proud Mom,
I am sorry, but it is not appropriate to request gifts, especially cash. Can you imagine receiving an invitation for a graduation and reading that you are expected to bring your wallet? A graduation party is not necessarily a gift-giving event. The graduate or her /his family hosts the party to celebrate academic accomplishment. Focusing on gifts imply that the receipt of gifts is most important. Instead, use this as a teachable moment. This is the perfect time for her to learn that gifts are not the focus of human interaction. Sharing time with our loved ones and friends is most important.
What is the proper way to ask for a housewarming gift?
Dear Wants Gifts,
This would not be polite. In fact, a housewarming party is not a gift-giving event per se. Gifts are typically insignificant and inexpensive, like candles, coffee table book, bottle of wine, or a card. Avoid hinting as well, since it is viewed as whining or begging.
Question Two from Mr. Wants Gifts
So on the invitation, is it proper to say, “If you would like to give me something, gift cards are greatly appreciated”? Is it proper to indicate the colors I use in my house?
Dear Still Wants Gifts,
Sorry, but no. It is never appropriate to request gifts. Requesting cash or gift cards is even worse. You are hosting a party for yourself, so it appears as if you are only inviting people to your home to receive gifts. This is not polite. Mentioning your decor is hinting and therefore impolite as well.
A housewarming is supposed to be a party, or gathering, to warm your home with the love of your family and friends, and to get to know your new neighbors.
How do I ask for money as gifts on the invitations to my birthday day? There will be a Wishing Well also, how do I list this?
Please do not do this, as it is inappropriate and impolite to ask for money, especially for an adult birthday party. Moreover, people view wishing wells for any type event as gauche. The only type of gifts request mentioned on birthday invitations would be to request none. The number one rule for hosting a party is that a guest should never have to reach into his wallet.
Read more by Rebecca
Etiquette 101: Gift Giving in the Dating World
Etiquette 101: How-to Host an Adult Birthday Party that Will Please Your Guests
Etiquette 101: How-to Plan Your Child’s Birthday Party