|Thirty two years ago we had a Hawaiian style wedding (my culture) and got married in the same church my husband's parents were married in.
Today Jeff and I are celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary so of course I have been reminiscing and taking notice of the items that we got all those years ago as wedding gifts that we still use on a regular basis today. Jeff and I also received our second invitation last week to weddings that will be held this Summer. That got me to thinking about wedding gifts for the newlyweds to be and what would actually be appreciated and used. I don't want to get them things that will just end up gathering dust, be regifted or donated or sold at their next yard sale. 😉
Let's be honest here, although the thought was nice, there are many gifts that we were given that we never or rarely use. Those napkin rings, while pretty to look at, just were not something that my husband and I (or anyone else we know) use. We are not fancy people at all. The beautiful Japanese lacquered serving trays have been used once. I was terrified for something (or someone) to drop hard on them and ruin them. The fancy cocktail bread molds, well unless you throw a lot of cocktail parties or tea parties, they are not practical at all and besides that, they are a bear to clean. I know this one is going to be hard for some people to accept, but that beautiful fancy (and delicate) china, although I really wanted it and was blessed to get some of it, I have used two of the plates (I have four complete place settings along with one of the serving platters) exactly one time. We had three boys and my husband is tends to get a little heavy handed when using a knife so again, I was afraid of my china being broken or scratched. It does look lovely in the china cabinet though and in the spirit of being totally transparent and honest, I do collect pretty china pieces because I am drawn to them and I will use some of them myself (mainly the pink Haviland patterns) because they bring back warm and wonderful memories for me of eating off the family china on holidays at the Grandma's house. I did inherit all that china from her plus another set of her china, but it is packed away at the moment.
So let's get onto the more practical (and appreciated) gifts ideas that will be used. Remember that some of these items, especially the Winter type linens, are on sale at many stores right now. Go get some and put them in your gift closet for those upcoming wedding gifts and even graduations. Here is my list...
~Tupperware food storage containers. I am still using the set that my Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ed got us when we were married and I have added to it over the years. This is probably my most used wedding gift because they are in constant rotation in my refrigerator storing leftovers or bringing something to family dinners.
~Blankets, sheets, towels, kitchen towels, and oven mitts. These are items that get a lot of use. Invest in good quality towels please while they are on sale. My husband and I prefer the huge "bath sheet" sized towels and find that most of the people that we have given those kinds of bath towels too love them. Same goes for sheets, buy the couple a nice high thread count set while on sale. Nobody likes scratchy sheets. Don't forget about the beach towels!
~Cloth napkins. No, not the fancy damask kind, but practical cotton napkins that can be used on a daily basis and just thrown in the wash after use. With so many people trying to "go green" or be frugal, this is a wonderful and much used item. They are also easy to sew and you can find fun fabrics that match the decor and interests of your recipients. We use our's on a daily basis and our kids have grown up using them so now they have them and actually request them as gifts.
~Pyrex glassware for storage or baking. These are things that we and everyone we know uses on a regular basis. One of my favorite gifts to give is a Pyrex rectangular baking dish with it's insulated carrier.
~Mixing bowls. My favorite mixing bowls are rubber with handles and a rubber ring on the bottoms that help it to drip to the counter while I am mixing something up. They are a nesting set that we were given when we got married and are still going strong and seeing lots of use.
~Good knives. Everyone needs good sharp kitchen knives that can be sharpened when they get dull. Steak knives are also on my list of things that are much appreciated and used.
~Cookie sheets, bread pans, cake pans, and cooling racks. Again, these are items that see a lot of use in my home.
~Rubber spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons, wisks, a good potato masher, ladles, large slotted spoon, measuring spoons and cups, Pyrex glass measuring cup that can also go in the microwave, splatter guards, and a kitchen timer.
~Good pots and pans. These make cooking so much nicer and easier. I also think everyone needs a good heavy duty stock pot to make soups in or to cook for a crowd.
~An immersion blender. I love these for making creamed soups. They are so easy to just put directly in the crockpot or regular pots and puree up things like lentil or split pea soup.
~A nice mixer. This can either be a good quality hand held one or if the recipient does a lot of baking, a nice KitchenAid, Bosch, or Oster one.
~An Instapot pressure cooker. I really want to get one of these for myself because I have heard such good things about them and they make it easy to get a nice meal cooked quickly. This would save so much time and money for anyone!
~Matching silverware (stainless steel). I know so many young people that have mismatched silverware and would love a nice set of matching good quality silverware. I am still using the set we got as a wedding gift.
~Nice water glasses. Again, this is something that I have seen appreciated over and over again.
~Cleaning supplies. Fill a heavy duty laundry basket with cleaning supplies for the newlyweds who are setting up their home together. I include paper towels, all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, dishwashing soap, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and dryer sheets.
~If the newlyweds will be living in a house as opposed to an apartment, you can get them shovels (both regular and snow), rakes, hand shovels, hoses, and outdoor gardening stuff. Big trash cans for garden waste are also a good idea.
~A small toolbox filled with a hammer, both Phillips and regular screwdriver, duct tape, assorted screws and nails, picture hanging kits, eye hooks, and a measuring tape are also much appreciated and needed.
~A customized cookbook. It is so special to gather well loved recipes from family and friends that will bring back wonderful memories for the newlyweds. Who doesn't want to eat Grandma's special angel food cake, Nana's meatloaf, Uncle Brad's "secret" marinade for steaks to grill, Mom's shoyu chicken and many other special foods. Gather those together and make a cookbook. Many of those recipes will be lost as people pass on and this will become a treasured family heirloom as the years go by.
~A calendar filled with all the family birthdays and anniversaries written or printed in. You could make your own filled with family photos or beautiful scenery shots that have special meaning to the recipients.
~If you are a quilter, a handmade quilt in the newlyweds favorite colors is a much treasured gift. My mother makes quilts for all the newlyweds in our family. She also makes baby quilts for all the babies to follow.
~A family heirloom (if you are related to the newlyweds). Maybe there is something that one of the newlyweds cherished as a child that can be passed down on their wedding day. My MIL gave some of the family china to one of my nieces. It is something that my niece cherished and uses. For me it was a needlepoint picture that my grandmother had been working on for me before she died. I loved her needlepoint pictures that she made. When my grandfather remarried, his new wife Hazel, who had been good friends with my grandmother, had it finished by another friend and gave it to me on my wedding day. She told me about how my Grandma Jean had been trying to get it finished before she died to give it to me as a wedding gift. My husband and I were not even engaged yet when she started it, but Grandma told me I would marry him shortly after I first met him and he would take good care of me after she was gone and she was right. That needlepoint hangs up in my livingroom in a customized frame that my sweet hubby's father hand made for it as a reminder to me of her love and also of my FIL's love for us.
~I gave my DIL Heather my pearl earrings that I wore on my wedding day as a gift and she wore them on her wedding day. I would have given our Rachel some jewelry too but she is allergic to so many metals and I did not have anything that she could wear that would not cause an allergic reaction.
I'm sure there are many other things that I am missing here and that are special to the newlyweds in other people's lives. I like to mix practical with unique and meaningful to the recipients. This is just a start of what could become a very long list but I hope that it helps remind me and gives others some ideas to help out with all those weddings coming up.