William & Kate: Bad wedding gifts are a rite of passage

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After a few months of speculation, William and Kate have now confirmed that in lieu of wedding gifts they would like donations to be made to charities of their choice through a special website. Which is all wonderful and good. But for those of us who like receiving gifts, extremely insufferable at the same time.

10 years ago a friend of mine was planning a housewarming party of sorts for me. I suggested that instead of receiving any gifts for my new home, like candles, picture frames or oven mitts, that guests could bring an item to donate to a food bank (yes, though I like gifts I can also be altruistic too). Though she liked idea she replied: 'let your friends be your friends.' Meaning, let them give the way they want to give. So I received said candles and picture frames and oven mitts with gratitude.

Setting up a website for donations to charity solves the problem of 'what do you give to the couple who have everything?' William and Kate are in a unique position in that if they don't already own an item - like a blender - they can afford to buy it. This could possibly be a pre-emptive strike against those who would criticize them when there are so many less fortunate without a blender of their own.  And let's face it, those are the types of gifts that people give, whether it's practical or not. In 1947 Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) received a sewing machine as a wedding gift. An thoughtful item which she would have had no use for personally. But isn't it the thought that counts?

Giving money is easy and it requires no thought. Despite the good intentions behind the request, money is impersonal. Allow people to express their goodwill in their own way. Even if it means receiving a thousand tea cozies. They make great wedding gifts for others.

So if Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wants to re-gift that bread maker she received as a wedding gift from you? Accept it with gratitude.

© Marilyn Braun 2011
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