Gift giving is not supposed to be an opportunity to show us how special you are.

A friend and I were recently speaking about the upcoming wedding of a mutual friend. Specifically, we were discussing the gift that she planned on bringing to the wedding. I told her that I knew that the couple could use cash to help them pay for the wedding and had put the word out to their friends and relatives, but she said that she would never consider giving cash to the couple.

“Is it just that you don’t like to give cash?” I asked.

“Oh no,” she said. “I just have the perfect gift idea for them. They’re going to love it.”

“But why not just give them what they’ve asked for instead of assuming that you know better?”

“You don’t understand,” my friend said. “I have the perfect gift.”

“Is it at least on their registry?”’

“No, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to give them for a long time,” she said.

My friend is an example of the kind of person who associates gift giving with ego. A wedding gift is an opportunity to demonstrate her superior taste and discerning eye. Rather than giving the couple something they have asked for and need and waiting until their first anniversary to be creative, my friend is turning the gift into a moment for herself.

She is the same kind of person whose investment in the subsequent thank you card will probably border on obsessive.


I do not support this type of gift giving. If a couple is financially secure and nonspecific in their request for gifts, then the giver is welcome to be as creative as possible.

But when a couple is starting a life together by paying for their own wedding and were very specific in their financial and material needs via word of mouth and a gift registry, it is nothing more than ego, selfishness and self-centeredness that causes a person to completely disregard the couple’s need and give a gift that fulfills some hole in their own self-worth. 

Just send a check, damn it. It’s not about you.