Open thread

by EPI Staff on June 1, 2009

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Sean-Thomas Flynn June 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I have read many questions on here regarding gifts and when and how they should or should not appear on an ivitation. That’s great. But I have a question on how to handle a situation. In the past few years, as neices and nephews and the whole family age, we have started having “No Gift” Christmas and Brithdays. I am a single home-owner so I appreciate this and frankly, even for my own birthday, there is nothing I need. But I feel INCREDIBLY guilty when my mother or eldest sister decide to just buy a gift anyway. At Christmas I feel embarassed and a bit ashamed. And even at my birthday when I didn’t want gift, yet they buy anyway even when I have communicated as much to them. How do I handle these situations? Am I the only one to go through this?

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Daniel Post Senning June 2, 2009 at 8:22 am

Hi Sean-Thomas,
What you describe can be quiet awkward. When people request “no gifts please” or families agree not to give presents, it is best to honor the request or the agreement for just these reasons. We suggest that when a guest brings a gift despite being asked not to that the host wait until after the event is over to open it and thank the giver. This way other guests are not left out. The same is true for no gift pacts. It is best if people honor them.
Sometimes it simply goes against the nature of a family member to not give a gift and this creates a difficulty in a large family where it does not make sense for everybody to get a gift for everybody else. Another solution might be to have a lottery amongst family members similar to an office gift exchange so that each family member gets a gift for one other family member. This way people get to buy presents for each other and the family gathering can still have a gift exchange component without the pressure and inconvenience of everyone buying something, often time unnecessarily, for everyone else present. We have been doing this among cosines in the Post family for many years.

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