Monday, July 25, 2011


Sometimes I am baffled by the world. I keep politics off this site, so I won't get into that, but let me rant about something else for a moment.

I have a bunch of acquaintances this year getting married. Marriage in and of itself is a fine thing to do, but what I am puzzled by are all of the gift giving traditions we have gotten wrapped into.I understand why in the past a trousseau was necessary, and why a community would give gifts. What I don't understand now, is why we insist on doing this today.

People getting married today, not only have the wedding, but also the shower. Not only are you supposed to purchase a gift for one, but the other. Not only that, you are supposed to select a gift that is on their registry list.

Now years ago, this was probably a good plan. People didn't have huge weddings, and the couples were young, just starting out. I'm sorry, most people getting married today are old enough that they already own household items. In reality most already have an apartment, a house, or at least have items stored. They have an income, and can buy their own things. They are grownups. Not kids.

And let's look at the gift registry. Not only are you supposed to buy something from the registry there are rules on the amount of money you should spend. Some of the items border on the ridiculous (a 100.00 trash can?), and some on the funny (will years from now you look at your apple slicer, or egg dicer and go, 'wow, XYZ gave me this, isn't that nice?'. There's a 60% chance you'll end up fighting over that apple slicer in divorce court of course, in which case you may sincerely remember who gave it to you. But otherwise I doubt it.) And then there are the place settings.

Seriously, why, WHY, does someone need a 250.00 china place setting? Are you seriously going to use this? No, you're going to use the crappy plate from Walmart. After all, you might break the good one.

But let's look at the ethics of these lists even more. What good could 250.00 do in the world? It could feed the people starving in Africa. It could feed a kid starving next door. The people in Joplin certainly could use 250.00. So could those in North Minneapolis. A homeless person could eat for a couple months on 250.00. A single mom struggling to feed her kids sure could use it. Schools, who are having their funding cut drastically could use the money.

Does the couple seriously starting out need that 250.00? Possibly, but they certainly don't need that setting. Nor do they need the 100.00 trash can, or miscellaneous sheet sets. Do they not already live in a house with sheets?

I will go on the record stating I am not a hypocrite. If I ever choose to get married, people will get an announcement and a note asking in lieu of gifts to give a little something to a charity. I don't want those gifts. My grandmother's china is still perfectly useable, and each chip holds a lot more memories than any store bought china could hold.

And what am I giving everyone? Washcloths. Simple, useful, and cheap. The other 245.00 will go to feed those who need it the most. And not just for their dinnerware.

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