Monday the 6th was Joshua’s birthday, and I made him an amazing dinner of homemade fried chicken sandwiches from the Bon Appetit April issue (in fact, I cooked the cover). They were epic and awesome, and Joshua was quite happy. He is now 29, and declares that this will be his best year yet!

Last night, we went to dinner with Joshua’s family to celebrate both his birthday and Mother’s Day, after which his mom gave him the gifts his parents had gotten for him. They were two gift cards – one to Banana Republic, one to Express (woohoo – time to shop!!).

So I had a little question to throw out there to my blog readers (or, my family, who will most likely have opinions):

When Joshua saw the two gift cards, in their envelopes, it was quite obvious to all of us that they were gift cards. The way *I* was raised, we take the envelopes and say an enthusiastic thank you, because the meaningfulness and thoughtfulness and intrinsic value of the gift does not change, no matter the amount. I do not feel the need to check, because I would be just as grateful for a $10 gift card as I would be for the $100 gift card; I know that regardless of how much is on the card, the gift is an expression of the giver’s love. I see it as rude to immediately look for the amount.

The way Joshua was raised, it’s almost the exact opposite. He feels that his parents would have been disappointed if he had just taken the envelopes and expressed his gratitude without looking, because it would communicate disinterest in something they had done for him. The amount is the exciting part of the gift, and his parents would want to see that excitement.

(I asked him about this on the way home from dinner, just in case they happen to give me a gift card for my birthday, coming up in a few weeks – I need to know the protocol!)

So. Is there a right and a wrong way to handle the receiving of gift cards, or is it merely family culture? Should one conform to the culture, or react in the way they feel most appropriate?


2 thoughts on “birthday

  1. I guess it could be different in different families. But, I also think there might be a “correct” cultural way to handle this. Too bad gift cards weren’t around in Emily Post and George Washington’s time. 😉 I was always taught not to look at the gift card (or check) amount until later, because it would be rude. As you said, it’s not the amount that counts. It’s the thoughtfulness of the gift in and of itself. It doesn’t matter how much it is. But, I guess if you know which way would be appreciated by whomever you are dealing with, you would try to do it “their way”. 🙂 If you don’t know, do it the way you were taught. That’s my two cents. Miss you! (And Happy Birthday to Joshua!!)

  2. Pingback: triple digits | with this ring

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