Q: What should I do if I’m invited to a birthday or anniversary party and the invitation says “no gifts”? I feel awkward going to a party or sit-down dinner and not bringing something for the guest of honor. Would a bottle of wine or champagne be appropriate?
A: Invitations to celebrations often specify “No Gifts Please.” This is especially true of business functions, but it’s common in social situations as well. Either way, your action should be the same: Don’t buy or bring a gift. I’ve been to parties where I’ve honored the host’s request and not brought a gift, only to feel a bit awkward upon seeing that some people ignored the request and brought a gift anyway. By bringing a gift, the other guests were not only ignoring the host’s wishes, but were also making others (like me) feel uncomfortable. When a host requests no gifts, this indicates that your presence itself is what honors the host and is all that he or she wants. So go with a clear conscience and make your participation your gift.