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Cheap Gifts… Am I Being Ungrateful?

The most amazing women in my life hosted a baby shower for me this weekend. I am rich in friends and family and all of my favorite people showed up to celebrate this special occasion. Words cannot express how much love I feel for these folks. If I were stranded on a deserted island many of these women are the ones I would want standing beside me.

I never imagined the amazing turn out or the number of gifts I would receive from this event. They filled the trunk of one car and the bed of a pick-up truck. Most of my guests selected items from my registry, but a handful found wonderful and useful gifts that I never would have considered.

I don’t expect everyone to spend the same amount on gifts, so I tried my best to find things for every price point. Funny enough one of my favorite gifts was an inexpensive package of baby hangers. When I got home from the shower I had just enough to hang all of the new baby clothes I received.

Every gift was as amazing as the giver with the exception of one. One guest, who was unable to attend the event, sent a box of dollar store items and what I believe may be a second-hand blanket.

The blanket smelled of must and mildew. It didn’t have tags on it so I can probably assume it’s not new. The gift came from a friend of my mom’s who is famous for passing off yard sale finds as gifts for special occasions.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve given used books as birthday gifts, but I always let the recipient know that the items are used.

Should it matter that the gift was picked up at a yard sale or plucked from the basement of someone’s home? Shouldn’t I just feel happy that someone thought enough to give something to me?

I’m sure that I should be grateful and just leave it at that, but I feel bad about the situation. I wish the woman would have just sent a card rather than a stinky blanket. In fact, since she didn’t attend the event she didn’t need to send me anything at all.

If she didn’t have the money to buy a more expensive present I wish she would have saved the money for herself. If she had the money, but didn’t really want to spend it on me, then again she should have saved her money. A card or simple congratulations would have meant a lot more than the items I received.

Something tells me I’m not viewing this situation in the best light. I suppose it’s the thought that counts, but based on what I received I can’t tell if there was much thought put into this gift at all. Of course no matter what I think, I’ll still send a thank you note. Perhaps I’m wrong about the gift giver’s sentiment. Maybe she thought these were very special gifts.

Donna Freedman

Sunday 25th of September 2011

I agree that she should have washed it first. Maybe she DID wash it but the smell still clung. Or maybe she knew the folks giving the yard sale and figured, "They're clean people, so this baby blanket is probably clean."The main fact is that she did think enough of you to give a gift, even if it's a gift you could have done without. Another thought, although this may be way off-base: Perhaps she has the beginnings of dementia, which can take years and years to develop fully. Maybe this behavior which seems a little irrational to you is perfectly logical to her.Or maybe it's just like any other inappropriate or outright weird gifts we ever get in our lives: We smile, we say "Thank you so much for thinking of me" and we dispose of it privately. Or not: A woman I know received one of those knitted toilet-paper-cover-dolls from a friend's mother. It was nothing she would EVER use -- but she accepted it in the spirit in which it was intended, and she hung on to it. When the friend's mom was in town visiting she stopped by -- and my pal made sure the toilet-paper-cover was on the spare roll in her bathroom. The mother happily reported to her daughter, "She really liked the cover I gave her!"It was my friend's chance to be gracious, and she made someone else happy by doing so. Your accepting the woman's gift (even if you privately deplored it) probably made her just as happy. "I'm contributing to her baby's warmth and comfort. I'm making a difference."

One Frugal Girl

Friday 16th of September 2011

@Athyn - I couldn't agree more! I think the smell of the blanket caught me more off guard than the fact that it was used.

@House of Sykes - That's a crazy story. I bet that mother will think twice about regifting!

@Anonymous - I donated the blanket. We received quite a few from my shower and wrote a very sweet note thanking the woman for it.

@Anonymous - I was wondering if someone would bring up the frugality of her gift. Again I think the state of the blanket, (being smelly), was the thing that caught me most off-guard.

@Newlyweds on a Budget - Blanket donated. Thank you note written and mailed :-)

@Merveilleux - Excellent point. Everyone has a different idea of what it means to give someone something. I always wonder how these people would feel if they received used gifts themselves. Would they be offended or think nothing of it? Too bad I can't ask.

@Michelle P - Agreed.

@Kaylen - The gift giver is probably not a reader. I mean she could be, but the odds are very unlikely!

@Donna Freedman - That's an interesting thought. Maybe she didn't realize the blanket smelled, but if you're going to give a used blanket shouldn't you wash it first no matter what?

Donna Freedman

Wednesday 14th of September 2011

As we age our sense of smell diminishes. It could be that she honestly didn't notice the mildew-y smell -- that she thought she was getting one heck of a bargain on this baby blanket.I'd give her the benefit of the doubt on this one, and write a "Thank you so much for thinking of us" or a "Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift" note. The fact remains that she did think of you and she did send a present.


Wednesday 14th of September 2011

I would have felt the same as you do, and certainly would not have used it for the baby. However, I would have hesitated to post it online - what if the gift giver is a reader?

Michelle P

Wednesday 14th of September 2011

I agree with Athyn, it doesn't seem like the person put much thought or effort into it.