The Gift of Emily Post

Vanity Fair, December 1933

People love presents. We get them on birthdays, Christmas, even on a day to remember a guy who came back as a ghost (possibly with a rabbit) three days after he was crucified. We’re so obsessed with gifts that we add new holidays to the calendar every year just to be sure we receive enough of them. Although Grandparents Day usually warrants no more than a pleasant card, one can easily be ostracized for showing up empty handed on Sandwich Day.

I enjoy gifts so much that I rank family members and friends based on how good their gifts are.  But I have never felt so guilty about asking for presents than I do about asking for ones for this wedding. Maybe it’s the fact that I am already asking people to travel hundreds of miles to New York City during one of the coldest months of the year to come to a four hour dinner party that makes me think twice about asking for a present.

Sebastien and I went out to dinner with some friends last Saturday and a friend asked if we made a wedding registry.

Sebastien and I exchanged suspicious glances. Was this a trick question? Did they know that we may or may not be in a depression depending on the politician you speak to?

“I feel weird asking people for gifts,” I said.

“But you have to,” my friend said. I was surprised considering I thought this particular person was in a lot of debt. That’s when Sebastien brought up the teachings of the great Emily Post. Now I don’t know Emily Post from Aunt Jemima, but the more I hear about this woman the more I want to puke. The woman who was so concerned about proper etiquette had enough money to pay her way out of a fart. Of course she never cursed because she never had to mop a floor or iron her clothes.

“Well people are going to want to get you gifts,” my friend continued. And she said it helps to put everything on a registry so people don’t have to guess what to get us or give us something we don’t need. I suppose if takes the stress out of having to buy a winter coat or find a decently priced hotel in New York.

Sebastien conceded that it might be good to as for gifts. He said he just wants money. I agreed, thinking maybe we could get enough so I could sit around and fart and write books on proper etiquette.

About JadedBride

Amy Kraft is a print and radio journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Discover, Popular Science, The Week, Psychology Today, and Distillations, a podcast out of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She is currently working on a book of humor essays. View all posts by JadedBride

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