First, a brief history lesson from postconsumers.com:
The wedding gift craze as we know it . . . really began in 1928. That’s the year that retail giant Macy’s had the brilliant marketing idea of introducing the wedding gift registry. . . . And at first, the wedding gift registry did make some sense. In most cases, couples had not lived together before marriage and married at an age when they had yet to accrue most items that they would need in a shared household. The gift-giving tradition was aimed at helping them to get started in their new home.So basically, people compassionately gave young couples gifts so their homes could function because they often didn't have anything to their names! What a lovely and selfless tradition.
Unfortunately, things have changed over the years.
Kyle and I got married in August, and we heard more than one comment about how inviting more people equals more gifts. Kind of a tacky thing to say, even if it's true. And hearing that made me kind of not want to give wedding gifts to anyone anymore. As a wedding guest, am I merely a dollar sign? Or am I loved one invited to their special day, who is free to give a gift out of love and the kindness of my heart? Hmm.
In the end, we did get lots of presents.
And we were so grateful for them. I was sort of stunned with people's generosity. We got so many kitchen and home items I'd been needing or wanting super badly! Plus, we got gift cards and cash that allowed us to buy some other things we needed. It was fantastic and definitely made our home more of a home. The fact that so many went to the trouble of spending their hard-earned money on us made me feel pretty special.
And that's why I can't understand why it doesn't seem traditional anymore to say "thank you." The last five couples I've given wedding presents to haven't bothered to say any sort of thank you for my gift. Not even a Facebook message. Absolutely nothing!
I think it's pretty atrocious.
Maybe they think, "Ah, she knows I'm grateful for it! I don't need to tell her." Maybe they don't even bother to look at who gave them the gift. Who knows? All I know is that an in-person "thank you!" or handwritten thank you note for a thoughtful gift is the very least a new couple could do.
Just think of it. Someone buys you a $20 (oftentimes more) gift on your list (or not on your list—it doesn't matter), wraps it up, writes a card, and brings it to you or has it sent right to your door. You can't take 2 minutes to write a handwritten note expressing your appreciation and then mailing it with a 50-cent stamp? Really??
My hesitation to give wedding gifts because of the greedy gift-getting mentality has grown even more with this lack of gratitude.
I know wedding shenanigans and a honeymoon and setting up your lives together is time consuming and stressful—oh, how I know it—but showing your gratitude should never be given up for lack of time. Even if the thank you is a month late, it's still appreciated.
So to my single friends, keep this in mind for when your big day comes: please don't have an attitude of entitlement. Saying thank you will NEVER go out of style.
Stay classy, my friends.