This really should go unsaid, but it has come to my attention from some readers, that some of us need a refresher course on gift etiquette. Hearing that a bride sold your gift on Craigslist while you are still swilling the champagne toast might make YOU want to smash cake in her face not her poor sucker of a spouse. So while there is a wealth of information on gift giving etiquette there is scant regard on the receiver's end.
So here are a few guidelines on gift etiquette- The Receiver Version-
1. ALWAYS be gracious. Even if you are not face to face when opening the present and you think it's the ugliest tea cozy you have ever laid eyes on. Write a thank you note promptly (note: a year is not prompt) and smile. Say you found it charming if ever confronted by the gift-giver. Don't be snide.
2. Smile. Again like Rule 1, face to face requires a smile. The person did buy you a present after all. The fact that it's the fifth set of frilly hand towels you received that are NOT on your registry is beyond the point. Smile.
3. Thank you notes. Some like the rule that the bridal couple has within a year of the wedding to write their thank you notes. I personally find this rule rubbish. Lazy even. Why put it off? Write it when your memory is fresh. Keep a list of the gifts you have received and write a thank you for it within a week. People will not only be touched but impressed at how thoughtful and organized you are.
4. Keep Track. Someone should have comprised a list of the gifts you received at your shower with a name next to each gift. If not they really should. Remember that for your next shower or party.
5. Returns. Don't tell the gift giver that you returned their gift, sold it, exchanged it, or even that there was a problem with it. If it broke in delivery that is not their fault so don't be snotty and tell them about it. If they ask you can be honest, but remember rule number one as well.
These rules may seem simple, but I'm continuously amazed at the comments I get from readers about showers and weddings they've attended where this type of behavior occurs. We all need a bit of a refresher course from time to time.