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.

11 thoughts on “Cheap Gifts… Am I Being Ungrateful?”

  1. i went through something similar at a wedding shower last year. when opening a gift, the giver's precious four year old helped me. as i opened the dusty, ceramic, decorative plate, the child said, "mommy didn't want that anymore, so she said you could have it." yes, loud enough for everyone at the shower to hear. her mother was understandably mortified. the least one can do when regifting to gifting previously used items is clean them up a little bit. sigh.

  2. Hmmmm…coming from someone calling herself "One Frugal Girl", it seems a bit insensitive to me. Why not just wash it and use it? Some of the best loved blankets are old and threadbare. Granted, she could have washed it herself before wrapping it.

  3. i can see why you're feeling that way. the point of a gift is to send the message that you're thinking of someone. she didn't attend the event and didn't need to send anything, but she was still obviously thinking of you. in this case, just send the thank you, be gracious, and throw away the blanket.

    I'm with you though, in cases where a gift shows such lack of thought, it's better to have not thought of me at all!

  4. At my baby shower, a coworker gave me old baby socks from the swap meet…. I thanked her and threw them away when I got home. I sent a thank you card as well. Even if it's a poor choice of gift, they still took time out of their day to get it and buy it.. Some people just have different ideas of gifts I guess..

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. @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?


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