Ugly Gift Etiquette
July 17, 2004 7:50 PM   Subscribe

EtiquetteFilter: I've received an awful wedding gift from a couple of friends--a tchotchke so ugly and useless it makes me reconsider my opinion of the givers (worse yet, I know for a fact that it isn't a re-gift).

Any tips on a nicely worded thank-you note?
posted by adamrice to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, I'm dying to know - what is this offensive gift? Is your opinion of your friends really defined by the things they give you? I say the best thank-you note would be one absent of snark.
posted by Hypharse at 8:21 PM on July 17, 2004

"Your gifts are always so original" was the nicest fuck-you I ever got after unwrapping time.
posted by scarabic at 8:32 PM on July 17, 2004

Oh PLEASE post a picture. Then we can tell you how to word it.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:58 PM on July 17, 2004

Just thank them for their "thoughtfulness". That way, there's no need to lie about how much you like the actual gift.
posted by 4easypayments at 9:02 PM on July 17, 2004

Ooh, thread hijack time! What's the strangest wedding gift you've ever seen/received?

I have a good friend who got married recently, and who happens to be Jewish. A longtime friend of his mom's bought him a gift, which was received with some hidden trepidation since this person is known to be a little... unobservant at times. "It's probably a wall cross," quips my friend... and lo, it was...

Anyway, back on topic---this friend puzzled over how to write the thank you note as well. In the end, he made brief allusions to the actual gift, but spent most of the note (a) thanking the person generically for her consideration and (b) describing what had happened since the marriage---the honeymoon, their move (the couple happened to be moving), etc. I like this strategy. If you can't say something nice about the gift, change the subject. It fills out the card and makes the person feel included, I think.
posted by tss at 9:08 PM on July 17, 2004

I'd just keep it simple, thank them for their thoughtfulness, mention that the gift will remind you of them (that's no lie), and then as tss says, write a brief note about wassup. That's more or less what I did when writing the thank yous for our wedding gifts (I didn't say that we'd think of the giver every time we used the bedsheets we received, though...much as I wanted to).
posted by biscotti at 10:03 PM on July 17, 2004

What was the gift?
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:15 PM on July 17, 2004

You have to write thank you notes for wedding gifts!? Why have I never heard of this... is it some kind of American-only custom?
posted by reklaw at 10:37 PM on July 17, 2004

Haha, maybe our advice in this thread wasn't so hot after all ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 10:59 PM on July 17, 2004

My guess is that gift was meant to be funny and funky - lots of people like wacky stuff like this. How well do you know these people? How well do they know you? To write a note thanking them for their thoughtfulness when the gift was intended to be amusing and refreshingly off-the-wall would be a little awkward.

Maybe you could say something like "Thanks for the X - completely original, and such a fun reminder of you and our wedding!" if "fun" seems appropriate. If not, maybe just the one of the old standbys "great", "cool", "sweet" or "nice", and then the segue into you're glad that were able to come to the wedding (if they came) or the wassup.
posted by taz at 12:09 AM on July 18, 2004

how about a thank you card? that way, you can have the sentiment written for you by one of our fine card writers. so, sign the card, thank them for their lovely gift and for coming to your wedding.

posted by triv at 2:50 AM on July 18, 2004

Are you sure they weren't being funny?

We got an awful wall cross from a dear relative (we're not religious) and promptly regifted it to some also-heathen friends. (Along with some lovely Nambe candlesticks.) They didn't get it, and I'm glad I was there when they opened it. :-D

Taz, that lamp is awesome.
posted by mimi at 4:26 AM on July 18, 2004

I think I am usually pretty good at giving wedding presents, but my worst failure always makes me flinch.

We had some friends from Indonesia who invited us to their roommate's wedding. I was pretty excited to see what that was like, but I did not know the roommate or her groom at all.

I asked our friends over and over what would make a good present, and they told me each time not to bring anything. I just didn't feel right about that so I decided to bring a really nice bottle (pretty expensive) of wine.

And as soon as I got there and presented it to the bride, my friend wisked me off and explained that as everyone there was very stictly Muslim, no one at this party would drink it. The bride and groom were completely gracious about it but to my utter embarressment, they ended up serving it to us. Sigh. Lesson learned to think about things a bit more....
posted by ugf at 8:15 AM on July 18, 2004

I second the request for a pic. If it's that obnoxious I might offer to buy it from you ;-)

MetaAuctions, anyone?
posted by Shane at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2004

At least you didn't bring a bag of pork rinds, too...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2004

I had this happen. We were registered for very reasonably priced stuff, and the only person that brought something we didn't register for was a couple who gave us this godawful picture frame. Fortunately we got married before them, so when they got married we likewise ignored their registry and re-gifted some uber-ugly frame someone gave us for some reason... what goes around comes around.

We still talk about that picture frame to this day. In fact, I'm sure there were people who gave us nothing, but we can't remember a single one of them.

We later found out that these people like Professional Wrestling.

And, oh, yes.... you should always send a thank you note when you receive any present. It's just the right thing to do.

On the topic of weird gifts, once at work we had a Yankee trade (or whatever it is called where you open a random present and then the next person does, etc.) Everyone brought in a wrapped present and left it on a table. We snuck one off and replaced it with a dildo (wrapped up). Madness ensued over the very inappropriateness of it.
posted by pissfactory at 11:29 AM on July 18, 2004

Response by poster: Alright, I have posted a photo of the article in question. For some reason, my camera refused to focus sharply on it (as if it knows!). In addition to being innately awful, the thing is poorly made-assymetric, with sharp edges all over. If anyone wants it, I'll be glad to work something out with you.

The givers are former neighbors; they still live only a few blocks away, so I see them pretty regularly. I don't think it was intended as a gag.
posted by adamrice at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2004

OK, is there a manufacturer's mark on the bottom of this thing. I want to see their entire catalogue.

I'm totally going to have to go with thanking them for thoughtfulness and changing the subject. I can't think of tactful way to say thank you for it, it keeps coming out as snide, and then i giggle.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2004

The givers are former neighbors; they still live only a few blocks away, so I see them pretty regularly.

after they read this thread, you'll never have to worry about possible future gifts from them.
posted by quonsar at 12:04 PM on July 18, 2004

That is truly hideous. I suggest you never talk to them again.
posted by cbrody at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2004

They gave you that on purpose? They must really hate you. The only thing you can really do is say (as suggested) above) "thank you for thinking of us" and leave it at that. Anything less would be ungracious, anything more would be either dishonest or mean.
posted by dg at 11:29 PM on July 18, 2004

"tchotchke" is much too general for any meaningful advice to be given. I mean, one man's tchotchke is another man's treasure! For example, I love that lamp tax linked to--I think it's fun and if you have a room decorated in a fun, carefree manner (with the right colours!) it would fit in wonderfully.

It always amazes me that people are willing to be such assholes over something like this. So it's not something you liked--big deal, move along. It reflects poorly on you that you'd want to make it known to them that you didn't like the gift instead of just forgetting about it.

We later found out that these people like Professional Wrestling.

Indignantly said the metafilter user whose name was 'pissfactory.' Like, oh my god, they gave us this awful picture frame, and then, like, later, we totally found out they like wrestling!!!! Ohhhhhh-kay. Maybe you deserved the frame ;)
posted by The God Complex at 11:52 PM on July 18, 2004

taz, not tax!!! late night = me not typey so good.
posted by The God Complex at 11:52 PM on July 18, 2004

It's a glass Womble in a wedding dress!
posted by salmacis at 3:17 AM on July 19, 2004

It reflects poorly on you that you'd want to make it known to them that you didn't like the gift instead of just forgetting about it.

You're making an assumption about adamrice's motives that are not supported by the statements he's made. Nowhere does he suggest that he wants the thank-you note to subtly indicate they don't like the gift.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:47 AM on July 19, 2004

How much do you want for it? My aunt collects blown glass and would love it.
posted by headspace at 5:05 AM on July 19, 2004

Oooh, that's ugly. Bad ugly, not good ugly. Not good, bad and ugly. Sorry, adam, no can buy.

By the way, I shamelessly and without guilt make fun of people who get into pro wrestling.
posted by Shane at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2004

« Older Thorough Powerbook checkup suggestions?   |   Scientific Advancement Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.