It's my birthday this month! Before giving me (or anyone else) a gift, please read this carefully and adjust accordingly.

I have a birthday coming up this month. In the spirit of giving, if your intention is to gossip about me behind my back to anyone if you give me a gift and I fail to reciprocate with a thank you note, then please DON’T GIVE ME A GIFT.

thank you

Regardless of my reason for failing to reciprocate, I find the need for people to gossip about the social faux-pas of others to be eminently more disgusting and despicable than the faux-pas itself BECAUSE IT IS.

Even if I fully intend on sending you a thank you note, which I probably do, things happen.

Mail is sometimes lost.

Lists can be inaccurate.

A gift can be overlooked.

Life can sometimes throw you a curve ball. I’d rather not take a chance on you further defiling our world with your inane, ungracious, and ignorant gossip so that I can receive one more gift.

It’s just not worth it.

While a thank you note is nice, an expected thank you note amounts to nothing more than a bad trade.

“Here’s a fifty dollar sweater. Now give me a fifty cent thank you note, plus postage or I’m going to call my mother, my brother and my three best friends and tell them how ungrateful you are.”

Don’t laugh. I’ve watched it happen with my own eyes.

This is not gift giving. If you truly want to bestow a gift upon me, great.  Wonderful, in fact. I will receive it with an open and warm heart, and you will likely receive thanks. But treat your act of generosity as a gift, with the expectation of nothing in return.

And when six months go by and your empty, pathetic life has afforded you the time and opportunity to take note of the absence of a thank you card, LET IT GO. Forget about it. Keep your big mouth shut.

Don’t call your mother. Don’t email your sister. Don’t mention my lack of appreciation to coworkers or friends. Instead, find a dictionary and look up the definition of the word gift, and take note that a gift does not require reciprocation of any kind.

Also note that the act of gossiping about a friend or relative over the absence of a 5’ by 7’ greeting card is insane, petty and cowardly.

It should be noted that this post was not inspired by any recent gossiping or gift-giving event, though I’ve heard more than my fair share in the past.

My daughter recently celebrated her birthday, and with the sporadic way that gifts have arrived for her, I thought about how easy it would be for my wife to lose track of a thank you note in the process. While most people wouldn’t even notice that one had not been sent, I also know that there is a small, ugly band of gift-giving martyrs out there who take notice of such things.

If this does happen, leave her alone. I mean it.

If you are a member of this small and ugly band and are thinking about giving me a gift on my birthday, make an anonymous donation to a charity of your choice in lieu of any gift, and don’t tell me about it.

Please. Your silence will be gift enough.