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Gift Etiquette


It seems as if there has been a storm of weddings this summer. Or maybe only two, but because I usually send gifts between 1-2 years late and I’m trying to catch up, it seems like a storm.

Anyway, my temporal laxity regarding wedding gifts is not the issue here. I’m interested in exploring the norms associated with wedding registries. Specifically, if some couple has a registry, should I feel honor bound to purchase something from it, or can I buy a gift on my own?

Over the last several years, I have developed a wedding gift rule. I buy people globes. A nice globe is a lovely piece of furniture. Looks great in any room. It’s also informative. In these trying days, it’s often useful to be able to discover the location of whatever country we’re invading this week. The globe is also an opportunity for personal expression. I study and teach international politics, and the globe reflects something about me.

Recently, I have been forced to suspend my globe-for-wedding program. People who shall remain nameless have told me that I have to purchase spatulas, cookware, tablecloths, and other items that people inexplicably put on their wedding registry list. If people do not register for a globe, I am told, they do not want one. Giving a gift is not an opportunity for self-expression, and my obsession with giving people globes borders on narcissism.

Or words to that effect. Anyone have an opinion on this question?

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