Published by Rachelle Disbennett-Lee
Sunday, May 5, 2002
I received a wedding invitation from a friend who is getting
married in June. This is not his first marriage or the first
for the bride. The invitations were wonderful and provided
all the information we needed right down to the note on
the bottom of the reception card, "No gifts."
I often receive invitations from friends for birthdays,
anniversaries, or some other type of celebration with this
notation on it. In my opinion, it is simply rude. Whatever
we give, we receive back many times over. If we are not
allowed to give, we cannot receive. Giving is one of the
best gifts we can give ourselves. Oftentimes giving makes
us feel as good if not better than the receiver. When you
get right down to it, giving creates benefit for the givers,
which is forfeited if they are not allowed to provide their
I also resent the host telling me what to do. I am an adult
and can make up my mind if I want to give a gift or not.
The truth is when I see this statement I simply ignore it.
And you know what, when I bring my gift with me to the no
gift event, I have never had anyone refuse it. No one has
ever said, "You were told not to bring a gift. Take
it back." Actually, what happens is the person acts
very happy to receive the gift.
As much as giving is a gift, being a gracious receiver
is a gift too. When we are able to open up to the gifts
the world has to offer we will truly receive. Closing off
to receiving is breaking the cycle. We must be able to receive
to truly prosper. Giving and receiving are a natural process
and, when allowed to happen naturally, can create magnificent
Do not try to decide for your guests what is appropriate.
Giving is the gift that keeps on giving so do not deny your
guests the pleasure of providing gifts. If what you are
really thinking is I do not want to receive a bunch of junk
I do not want, then let people know what you want. Nowadays,
you can register just about any event at your local department
store. Even ToysRUs has a gift registry. Let people know
what you would like by registering or providing a list.
This is not tacky. It is helpful. If you feel funny doing
that, request cash or gift certificates. If you really don't
want gifts, how about asking your guests to donate to your
favorite charity. And don't forget, if you truly don't want
gifts, you can package them all up and take them down to
the local shelter. Someone there will appreciate receiving
Be a gracious receiver and allow others to give to you.
If you are afraid you won't get what you want, then ask
for it. I once attended a party where the hostess asked
that her gift be a large bouquet of flowers. She received
over 40 bouquets. It was beautiful. When I asked her why
she had asked for flowers, she replied, "I didn't want
to wait until I was dead to be in a room full of flowers."
If you truly don't want gifts, ask your guests to donate
to your favorite charity. Another friend of mine asked that
all her birthday guests donate to her granddaughter's travel
fund. Her granddaughter was going on a school trip and needed
to raise $2000. With the help of her grandmother, she was
able to raise the money she needed and warm the hearts of
all the guests.
Are you a gracious receiver?
Receiving = Giving
"In suggesting gifts: Money is appropriate, and one
size fits all." William Randolph Hearst
"We do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds
us is in some danger of being bitten." Ralph Waldo