Friday, June 5, 2009


Is there such a thing as gift-receiving etiquette? Or more specifically, a gift-rejecting etiquette?

Eldest, my daughter, was recently presented with a gift that she felt she could not accept. The gift was one that she really liked -- making this even more of moral dilemma than it would have been with something less desirable.
How in the world does one deal with that: accepting it would have been wrong, she felt, but rejecting it would definitely hurt the feelings of the gift-giver!

Without going into any details -- it basically involved a very expensive gift from a young man she barely knows, whom she feels she does not want to be "indebted" to -- what is the best way of dealing with such a situation?!?

I think my daughter handled the situation the best she could -- she returned the gift, but tried to stay kind, and, as she put it, avoiding any "high drama". But she also took off packing, so to speak -- there's no pretending nothing happened.
Ultimately, in a case like this, it causes the relationship to fundamentally change: it can never be same -- this is a situation where there is no going back to how it was before!

The guy made a mistake, one could say, or even go as far as berating him: "What an inappropriate gift! Did you think you could buy this young woman's affections?".

Photo credit: Marie Claire


honeypiehorse said...

Wow. I don't think I've ever refused an expensive gift. How else does one get expensive things one can't afford? I did once give one back, however, after a time.

PattyP said...

Another example of the strength of your daughter...I'm not sure I could've done it.

A schoolmate gave my daughter $30 as a present for her 9-year birthday. I thought is was completely inappropriate, but I let her keep it because I didn't want the girlfriend to feel awkward. Still, what kind of parent is behind that?

Naturelady said...

I've noticed that even with something like B-days and Christmas, there can be a certain "gift inflation" -- after receiving a $30 or $50 gift certificate, then the receiver sort of feels "obliged" to spend that much on the next occasion -- and it keeps on going up...!

Children's birthdays are a great example: gifts are expected, and it's difficult to break the cycle. BUT sometimes you must do it -- I know one family that started asking B-day guests(this was for a child) to only bring a donation for some good cause (homeless families) -- therefore making it clear that the present would not be kept but passed on... Perhaps that seems extreme, but it made a good point about B-days not being about money!