Of wedding gifts

I went to a wedding reception not so long ago. The air was so ecstatic!

The bride and groom were dressed in the most fashionable attire one could imagine. The decoration was out of this world, transforming the venue beyond the imagination it could be in this same sprawling dusty expanses of Lilongwe.

Then came the gifts. Beautiful packages to brighten a rosy day!

It is at that moment I got reminded of a ‘wedding gift illness’ that, as a society, we have caught beyond cure.

We have run into a tradition of ‘forcing’ ourselves into buying ‘gifts’ so as to look more moved or caring in the face of the gathering. Most of the times, however, the gifts we buy may end up less celebrated than cash in an envelope would have done.

Why do I suggest so?

Well, sometimes, if gifts are not that unique or well researched, chances are they may not be so memorable or valued.

This far, don’t even think I don’t know that sometimes gifts are unique more because of their origin, and not their value. I know that. That’s why a small set of cheap chinaware from ‘that family’ would matter more than a microwave from that other family.

But the case in point in my whole entry is about gifts ‘on average’ in our cities and towns.

So, on average, no matter how well-draped a gift may be, you’re safe to ‘prophesy’ that inside the beautiful wrappers lie not so much more than too many glass tumblers, plates, flasks, plastic jugs, trays and plastic basins.

On a lucky day, the couple may get a sandwich maker, toaster or a microwave.The luckiest may get a fridge or cooker! The point is not about how large the gift is, by size or value, I repeat! It is about how different it is.

So, as the people rush home from the wedding reception, the couple of the afternoon might as well be double sure they have one whole weekend beyond their honeymoon to dedicate to unpacking not less than five cartons each of tumblers, flasks and plastics jugs.

For instance, have you wondered who bewitched us as a nation that every wedding committee only settles for a mattress for a gift?

Yes, the ‘soft’ thinking may be about how useful or unforgettable a mattress would be – for starters, that the couple would spend hours on their backs on that mattress and easily remember you in every comfort they get, and secondly, that the mattress would give the couple a hearty start to their nights together.

But take a quick survey among newlyweds and ask them what they would prefer for the same price as a mattress. You would have a clue on what to buy the next time you are look for a gift. n

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