Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gifts That Keep On Gifting

“We like lighthouses.”

Oh, how I’ve lived to rue those words!

When Brett and I were registering for wedding gifts, we decided to go with a lighthouse theme for our kitchen and hallway bath, a Northwood’s theme for our living room, and a leaf theme for our master bath.

Hardly original, I know. But we were young, stupid, and style less.

It seemed all anyone remembered was that “we like lighthouses.” As I opened lighthouse gift after lighthouse gift at each of my seven bridal showers, I was forced to repeat those words.

People bought us everything with lighthouses – stuff for EVERY room of our house.

Stuff definitely not on our registry.

Now, I don’t know about the majority of you, but nothing annoyed me more as a soon-to-be-bride than people buying CRAP NOT ON OUR REGISTRY.

That’s the WHOLE point of creating a registry.

If people didn’t want the ugly gold tray they got for their wedding, why did they think we’d want it?

(We did in fact receive a hideous gold tray that I’m completely convinced will turn me to salt if I look at it in direct sunlight.)

P.S. to all the people who think the bride and groom won’t know you’re re-gifting YOUR wedding gifts…they will. They ALWAYS will. Whether you believe it or not, stuff goes out of style. And it makes you look bad. And cheap.

Also, people bought random kitchen gadgets and stuff that I KNOW they got on sale and decided to throw in a bag as opposed to going by the OFFICIAL registry. Just to save a few bucks.

This is why we have three sets of distinctly different drinking glasses – all NOT on our registry – stored in our basement.

We also have two toasters, a fondue set, four 1990’s style candle sets, and one set of trolls in wedding clothes with our names engraved on them.


I’m not re-gifting those as a matter of principle.

Buy what’s on the registry, you know?

My cousin Candice and I went though this before her recent baby shower. She kept telling me – “I hope people buy what’s on the registry. I NEED THAT STUFF, not tons of clothes.”

Thankfully, she got both. By the time she was done opening gifts, it looked like the baby section of Target had exploded in Mom’s living room.

My policy is – if I want to get the recipient something NOT on their registry – I, at least, get something small that IS on their registry so they’ll remember me in a positive light.

Back to the lighthouses, it also turned out to be something people remembered.

On every birthday, someone inevitably bought me a figurine, tapestry, or book featuring lighthouses. One secret sister at church even managed to give me a lighthouse-themed gift for EVERY occasion.

I didn’t even know they made lighthouse shaped trick-or-treat buckets.

By the time I got around to letting people know we weren’t all that crazy about lighthouses anymore, it was too late.

Now, anyone who wanders into our house will begin to yell, “Avahst, matey, you’ve got a lot of lighthouses.”

(Which brings me to the actual point of this post – wow, THAT took a while!)

Do you have a completely useless gift that people continue to give you year after year?

It doesn’t have to be a themed gift, like our experience with lighthouses; it can just be a common item.

For instance, I am a bath and candle FREAK! Making me quite possibly the easiest person you’ve ever shopped for – I like bubble bath, bath gel, shower gel, lotion, and just about any candle in just about any scent.

Easy. Cross me off your list.

However, OTHER people are NOT bath freaks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone receive a bath set - I would have DIED for - exclaim, “Huh. I’ve got so many of these. I don’t take baths, just showers.”

I have another friend who told me that if someone gets her another stationery set, she’s going to use it for kindling in her fireplace. “I’m on my computer 24/7, and people are buying me STATIONERY?!” – her exact words.

Every year people buy scented candles for Brett’s sister. This is not the ideal gift as she’s DEATHLY allergic.

See what I’m getting at?

You should at least know your recipient enough to know what NOT to get them.

So, here’s mine. Photo albums and frames.

People keep buying me frames. I don’t need 'em, don’t want 'em, and won’t use 'em.

Maybe when we have kids and can fill those frames with little Humphrey or Frugbert playing the cello, but while it’s just the two of us year after year?

Um, no.

Cause, see, we look worse year after year, not better, and WHY would I want to chronicle the same two deteriorating people in an endless parade of frames other people picked out?

And before anyone asks, yes - we take photos of the bunnies, and no - we don’t decorate our house with those photos.

So, there you have it. My opinion on the whole gift giving process.

Oh, and while we’re at it, Mom doesn’t need any more tea.

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Thank you! for x number of reasons to simply not give gifts at all. No one re-gifts what you gave them, no one squirms uncomfortably or struggles to at least look appreciative...and what an ease on the budget! =) I'm sorry that you've gotten so many lighthouses... I did remember that about you too =)

Ann-Marie said...

My friend - yes! I remember you are not a "things" person. Bless you! I wish I could admit to being less materialistic, but alas...I am most definitely not.

I realized re-reading this that I sounded a tad bitter. I think it's because I received five (count'em) MORE frames as gifts this year which I had to throw in a drawer that is already filled with frames!

I was like, "I'm SO sending out a bulletin about this. If nothing else to relieve the weight on my frame drawer!"

You're right about the gifts, I know. I know.

(I feel like we're living together now, and you're letting me know about "eternal" and "temporal" - thanks for the reminder!

Love always...just the way you are!

Alice said...

If I ever draw your mom as a secret sister, now I know what NOT to get!

What IS it with lighthouses? Darren made it known once that he likes lighthouses. I could donate a huge box of lighthouses (stored in my basement) to your collection.

Also, I got three crockpots for our wedding. Three. Now, I'm all about the slow cooking. But I've never needed three at one time.

Juliet said...

Dearest Daughter of MINE...That was really funny to me. (I hope those FRIENDS who did give you...lighthouses and frames take your comments in love..knowing it has happened to them also.)I also do not need more frames either...

Alice, if you do become my secret sister..I do like The Republic of Tea..many varity and I love them all. Plus I think it would be great to give Ann-Marie that box of lighthouses..give her something to write about on her blog. HA HA HA

As Always..loving you, MOM

Juliet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

oooo, how I'd love to know what was on the commented deleted.

People who have been there before sometimes know more than you do what you need in a beginning house or for a baby.
Trust me, sometimes I have wondered what in the world I would do with something, but have always found a use for it. I am just grateful to have a shower thrown for me or to be thought of enough for someone to buy me a gift.
As far as the crock pot lady, keep the one you want and return the other two for something else on your registry. That simple !!

SturgillMom said...

Oh MAN!!! I just bought your mom some tea...ha ha By the way, I am definitely a bath person, too -- HATE showers! I couldn't take a bath for 6 weeks after my surgery and I hated every stinkin' shower that I had to take!

WendyJanelle said...

Okay, I also love bath stuff, candles...and TEA. YUM. I'm easy to please, like you!! But I once made the mistake of saying (when I was pregnant) that I liked Winnie-the-Pooh. AGH!! I got Winnie-the-Pooh CLOTHES, EARRINGS, SOCKS from Fred's family that year. I appreciate the THOUGHT, but ...What?!?! I meant for the baby. And then I decided that I did not so much like Winnie (too close to Wendy anyway), so we went with Noah's Ark. And I regifted all the other stuff. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Why not give things that you know someone will like, regardless of whether it was already given to me.

WendyJanelle said...

And, Tob, you totally crack me up. That's why I always worry about giving you things. You are NOT a clutter person at all, and I don't want to clutter you up. :-)
But I'm glad you wear the coat!