Published by Rachelle Disbennett-Lee
Sunday, May 5, 2002


No gifts? No way!

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 gifts.

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 results.

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 a gift.


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?

Daily Success Formula

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 Emerson

Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee


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