Friday, November 10, 2006

No thank you!

I thought the arguments about the wedding would be over... but the consequences of the guests live on! So for those unaware of the Chinese tradition of old folk giving gifts to the parents, that's what happens. It is just a side benefit that their kids happen to have gotten married -- they get all these gifts as if they had a great big, old birthday party for themselves. While I am extremely grateful for being raised by such great parents, and the out-laws have been quite generous, I am/was a little miffed that I put in all this effort so that my parents could reap loads of cash. But I've gotten over that. Yesterday, a HUGE argument ensued with the out-laws b/c they are too DAMN lazy to write their own thank you cards.

I was beginning to sort out the cards that I had begun to write when they walk over and ask if they can some cards. After some vague comments, I counted out 30 of them so that they could get started writing theirs. Imagine their shock when she looked inside the card and it was BLANK! It wasn't enough that there was a simple "Thank you" printed in fancy lettering on the front, she wanted words on the inside as if she expected us to write notes to people we don't know thanking them for gifts we didn't receive. I can see writing a note to someone thanking them for coming, but there is no way I will write a note thanking someone for someone else's gift. Can I write this: "Thank you for coming. It was great seeing unfamiliar faces on our very special day. We're glad you were able to bring your uninvited child to the wedding and we're just ecstatic that you gave our parents a generous gift. It will be come in very handy for their upcoming retirement party or when they go crazy buying tchotkes at the garden center."

There was screaming and much offense. I kept hearing "But it's YOUR wedding!" when we'd say something like they were YOUR guests (never mind that we don't know their names or that they may not even be able to read English, the only language we can comfortably write). They thought we were selfish bastards for not wanting to thank people who didn't give us a gift (which may be true, I am a selfish bastard after all, but I find it odd to send someone 2 different thank you notes -- one from us thanking them for coming, and one from the gift-recipient thanking them for the gift and thanking them for coming. Why not just send one?!). They were very disheartened that they had to hear this. So they propositioned us to take a survey of everyone we know that has gotten married to see who writes the thank you note. So here's my survey. What's been your experience? (For the record, my co-workers all find this strange that the parents even get a gift, and hence, because the newlyweds got the gift in those cases, they wrote the thank yous.)

Oh and the sorta-solution will be for us to print a very generic "Thank you for celebrating our special day with us" on their cards and perhaps they will add a line or two and sign it. So if you receive a hand-written card from one of us, know you are special. But if you receive a pre-printed card with a generic message, know that the out-laws think you're (kinda) special.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too was recently married. I can understand your problem. I wrote all of our thank you card and sent them out. Although my husband and I received the gifts, not our parnets. If the parnets receiving the gifts is a chinese practice, then I would assume there are rules to dictate who writes the thank you cards. Did the parents "host" the wedding? If so I would think that it is their rsponsibility to write all of the thank you notes. If not then they should write the notes for the gifts they received. The least they should do is slip a small note into your thank you's(on a seperate sheet of paper)so that they arrive together. It does not make any sence for you to write thank you notes for other people unless you agreed to help (out of the kindness of your heart).