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20-40-60 Etiquette---I want to take a gift anyway!

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To ask an etiquette question, please email Helen (hwallace@oklahoman.com)

YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!

By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: If the invitation requests "no gifts, please," is it bad manners if I bring a small gift anyway?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: No, it’s never bad manners to bring a gift.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: This is a tough call, as there's a reason hosts put that on the invitation, usually at the request of the honoree. But then again, it often feels weird not to bring something for the occasion. I don't think it's horrible etiquette to take a small gift anyway, but I would try to respect the initial wishes of not bringing gifts.

If you feel like bringing something, what about writing the honoree a card? Or you can acknowledge the occasion in a different way, at a different time, if you are close enough to the person being honored.

HELEN'S ANSWER: Sometimes it is hard to honor the "no gifts" request, but if the host requests that, you probably should not take a gift. It is polite to honor the host's wishes.

We have been to events and have not taken a gift when requested not to, but others have, and it is somewhat awkward. If you still feel it is necessary to give a gift, give it on a different day. Or send a card expressing your good wishes.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of the "Fashion Matters" Blog: The "no gifts" request is a struggle for many. I never think it's bad manners to give a small gift to someone to show your appreciation or that you care.

Consider delivering it to the recipient earlier in the day rather than taking it to the party or event.

Or send flowers.

At the same time, you shouldn’t feel guilty to honor the "no-gifts" request.

 

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Helen Ford Wallace

Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›

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