I'm glad someone started this thread! This is one of my pet peeves! I work in a large ICU with over 100 employees, just in our unit. Plus the pharmacists and techs that work in the satellite pharmacy, the respiratory therapists with whom we work closely, the house staff, housekeepers, Social Workers, Physical Therapists, dieticians . . . . you catch my drift. Because I work in a University teaching hospital, it's a young, fairly mobile crowd. Someone is always getting married, having a baby or moving on. This month alone there are 7 babies, 2 weddings, a wedding recaption, an engagement party, 1 combination baby shower and going away party, and a bereavement. At first, I tried to keep up and contribute for every occaision, but I can't do that anymore. It doesn't stop the selp-appointed social directors from asking -- I just cannot do it!
I finally decided that if I'm not invited to the wedding, I'm not going to the shower (or contributing a gift). As far as the babies -- unless I see the new parent socially outside of work, I don't contribute. Going away parties -- if it's someone I'm close to and will miss or keep in touch with, I participate. Otherwise, I just sign the card that goes around. I bring food to the potlucks. As for bereavements . . . I tackle that on an individual basis. When our manager's brother was killed on his way to her daughter's wedding, I contributed. When the new employee's mother-in-law died, I didn't. (I wasn't even sure who the new employee was until someone pointed out her picture on our bulletion board.) Her preceptors and the other new employees that were hired about the same time participated, and that's great. They knew her!