Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Say Thanks for a Mystery Gift

Dear Social Grace,

I am in a quandary. I recently celebrated a milestone birthday and was thrown a lovely surprise party. It was a great evening, and many friends generously bestowed gifts upon me. But one gift did not containe a card revealing which of my friends was the bestower. I can't bear the thought of not thanking the person, but short of asking each person if he or she brought the gift I can't solve the mystery. The obvious solutions do not work: process of elimination is out because everyone who came did not bring a gift, and calling the store where the gift was purchased was a dead end; they had way to trace the item. What do you recommend?

--Birthday Girl

Dear BG,

First of all, happy birthday! Aren't surprises wonderful?

But on to your question.

Your best option is to write effusive notes to all who came thanking them for helping you celebrate your bday in such festive and fun fashion. This way, the mystery giver will receive a note of thanks, and if there is any confusion about the gift, she can contact you and ascertain that you did in fact receive the scented candle, cashmere scarf, or Ferrari that she left your as a token commemorating your milestone.

The only other possibility is to have a third party make discrete inquiries, but this is complicated and this is fraught with pitfalls. Upon being asked, those who did not bring a gift may feel uncomfortable and obliged to dash out and deliver one; even if you ID the right one he/she will be embarrassed by the gift tagging error. The person you appoint will have to be something between a True Grace and Mata Hari and that is a rare combo.


Ruby's said...

This is such a wonderful idea.

Sarah said...

My method in this situation would be to contact the closest friend that did, in fact, bring a gift, and ask them discreetly whether they noticed who had brought the mystery gift. If this yields no results, then the thank you notes to all would be a safe bet, to be sure. Good luck and happy belated birthday!