Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

A World Without Gratitude Is a Bleak Place Indeed

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am attending the (first) wedding of an old friend. The couple is registered at traditional sites.

I'd like to do something less boring than cutlery or towels. These guys are in their 40s and have a reasonable household established. It's OK for me to choose my own gift, right?

GENTLE READER: What a radical idea -- that you, as a friend, would put some thought into giving them something that might please them!

Does anyone but Miss Manners remember that that is not only the real tradition, but also the entire justification for the custom of exchanging presents?

By all means, do so. Let us hope that your friends and others will appreciate this and take it up as a novelty among those who otherwise merely exchange shopping lists.