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Etiquette: When You Receive a Present That Cuts

Posted By Talley Sue Hohlfeld On September 21, 2010 @ 8:00 am In Etiquette & Advice | 46 Comments

In our Fall issue [1] (on newsstands now!), there's a great story about registering for flatware [2]. (Which reminded me, I need to get some nicer steak knives.) Did you know there's a superstition about receiving knives as a gift? It applies to can openers, too, or scissors -- anything with a blade.

Apparently it's bad luck to be given something that can sever. The blade, it's thought, will sever the friendship. It's especially bad luck for a wedding gift, where the fear is that the sharp edge will sever the marriage vows.

Some people hold this superstition so strongly that they disapprove of giving knives as wedding gifts. But for most people, the solution is to have the bride "buy" the knife from you instead, for a token amount (usually a penny; sometimes a nickel). My relatives went so far as to insist I follow this rule even for something with as dull a blade as a table knife.

Some gift givers will include the penny for you to give back to them, but that seems to me to defeat the purpose; how much of a "purchase" can you make with money that's been given to you from the person you're supposed to pay?

Have you heard of this? Are you prepared with pennies? Or is this an antiquated superstition you won't be giving any attention to?


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URL to article: http://thebridesguide.marthastewartweddings.com/2010/09/etiquette-when-you-receive-a-present-that-cuts.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Fall issue: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/current-issue-fall

[2] registering for flatware: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/photogallery/registering-for-flatware

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