Some days ago there was this interesting article in the newspaper about wedding gifts. The article spoke about how couples these days mention "No Gifts Please" on their wedding cards and how there are some typical wedding gifts that offer no use whatsoever. I was reminded of my wedding gifts on reading that and how I had planned to write about it. It has been almost two years since my wedding now and yet some gifts come back to haunt me every now and then. A wedding is a very personal affair, but mine was anything but that. Almost half the crowd of Bangalore was invited to my wedding and before I could realize, there was a huge pile of gifts wrapped in shining paper piled all around the house. I always feel that it is better to ask the couple what they want as a gift and then get it for them. If you are not close to the couple, then it is always better to gift cash instead of some tacky show piece. Even hundred bucks is fine as long as it can be used. The process of unwrapping the gifts was so tedious that it made me think why did I get married in the first place.
So a week after marriage, my husband, my mother-in-law and I sat down to sort out the huge pile in front of us. As if it was not enough, I had even got all the gifts from my mother's place to my new house to add on to the already overflowing heap. Well, we had no choice but to unwrap it and sort it out. I can never forget the first gift that I unwrapped. It was a delicate crystal bowl with a gorgeously carved lid. Since I'm a sucker for all things white and delicate, I thought this would look great as the center piece of our dining table. I fell in love with it instantly. I thought if all the gifts would be this great, then I would enjoy setting up my new house where I was to move soon. After this brilliant gift, the luck ran out. The next one was a standing clock. Like it doesn't sound bad already, the clock had pink, purple and red hearts in the form of bubbles. It went straight to the not for us bin. The not for us bin was a sack that we used to collect the gifts that we would not be using so that we can give it off to someone else. Give it off, not gift it. Although we did receive a lot of recycled wedding gifts from other weddings, we choose not to gift those to someone else and be a part of that vicious cycle. We have a heart, you see.
The most cliched gifts ever are lemon sets, dinner sets and tea sets, and that is exactly what we received the most. It drove me up the wall. In every house there are people who drink tea or coffee on a regular basis and hence they have cups and saucers. What is the need to gift that then? Same applies to the others as well. We received some dinner sets that were clearly recycled ones. Meaning it was a gift to someone and that someone decided to re-gift it. It is very easy to find out such gifts. The boxes have an old look and more often than not they are faded making the plates and bowls look a dull grey instead of white. The recycled show pieces are easy to identify, they have dust accumulated on them. Yes, some people do not bother to even clean the item before gift wrapping it. We received so many flower vases that we now have vases in every corner of every room. Bathroom included. The same applies to clocks as well. We are never late, and this is exactly why.
I told my friends to get me a stand mixer, since I'm a good baker and I have been wanting a stand mixer from quite a while. They got it for me. And I told my other close friends what I wanted and thankfully there were no surprises. We received some tupper ware sets and a lot of photo frames, most of which were useful. Someone gave us a set of beautiful red wine glasses and till date it is the most used gift in our house. Cal and I like to unwind every weekend with some red wine and a movie and these glasses have stayed with us since two years now. Since Cal and I were supposed to move into our own house immediately after marriage, my mother's friends had given me a cooker and some basic vessels. My mother on the other hand gave me half a steel shop, with every possible utensil in it, from a cauldron to heat water to a spoon. It is some custom I believe, but as of now it is lying unused in our store room. When we move out two months later, we might use it. Not sure of it though, as I do not like steel vessels much and I hate to see a lot of utensils around the kitchen. I'll just buy a set of non-stick cookware and stick to it for all sorts of cooking. Since it is just going to be Cal and me, I think it would be more than enough.
The best gifts we received were obviously cash, since we could use it to buy what ever we wanted. Some close friends gifted us vouchers which were awesome too, atleast you could choose your own stuff while shopping. But the cash gifts had a story to tell too. There were people who had calculated the amount we had given for their family occasions and decided to give back the exact same amount. That was years ago people, atleast you should have added the interest. Then there were those modified envelopes. First it said from XYZ family. And then right underneath it said from ABC family too and then LMN family too was squeezed into the same envelope. It is better not to give anything instead of being so frugal and obvious. A wedding is held to celebrate the union of two people who love each other. Others are invited to be a part of it. Gifts are not mandatory at all. And I believe that gifts have to be personal, else it has to be cash. Gifting just for the sake of it or calculated cash gifts seem so contrived and takes away the entire joy of the so called celebration. And then there are those people who gift cash according to the number of people who attend the wedding. Oh yes, welcome to India! The whole wedding scene is such a drama that you cannot stop thinking about it, just like the way I cannot stop writing about it.
But I think I should.
But I think I should.