I love to give gifts. I love finding just the right present for someone and then seeing their reaction when they open it. The problem occurs when you don’t think of the right present at the right time. Sometimes you just stumble upon something and realize it’s perfect. But most often, I’m racking my brain trying to think of something wonderful, and I just end up mad at myself that I have to get them something average. I set the bar pretty high, and then am disappointed that I’m getting them something “just to get them something.” Not that they usually care… or notice. I’ve never had someone turn up their nose at a gift I’ve given, haha. It’s my own problem.
One of my dearest friends got married last weekend, and I struggled with the present. She told all the bridesmaids that we didn’t need to worry about getting them a present because of the cost and sacrifice that goes into being a bridesmaid. But that’s just ridiculous.
The biggest dilemma for me when it comes to friends’ wedding presents is that I want to get them the greatest, most touching thing ever. My close friends are the best — we have so many incredible memories, have had so many amazing conversations, and we’ve truly been there for each other at life-changing times. What do you get someone like my friend — after we’ve shared the trials of freshman year, deep conversations about the present and the future, the agonies of crushes-gone-wrong, the uncertainty of senior year and graduate studies, the joys of a shared spirituality– not to mention a life-transforming spring semester in Rome?
Wedding presents are hard, though, because they should be for the couple. And so I decided I needed to lower the bar and not look for a present that encompassed everything I possibly felt towards my friend. I didn’t need to thank her for the last ten years, as much as it seemed I should.
So I decided to get them this.
I went to a craft festival and fell in love with the spoons at one of the booths. They were gorgeous, hand-carved spoons — each one a little different, all surprisingly light-weight. I really fell in love with a ladle, that had an awesome handle and a perfectly-shaped deep bowl. It was extremely out of my price range, however, so I picked my second-favorite spoon for them. This weird-looking stirring spoon is designed to help you reach the corners and base of your pot! Isn’t it great?!
To go with my spoon, I visited a booth nearby that was selling these beautiful cutting boards. Since I decided the couple probably already had a cutting board (you don’t live on your own for 5+ years without a cutting board), I chose this small one because I thought it was something you probably wouldn’t buy for yourself. And it could double as a nice serving block for cheese. : )
So I was happy with my present, even though it didn’t radiate meaningfulness.
I went down a few days early to help my friend and her family get ready for the wedding. It was such a treat to be there with the family before the final craziness (although it never really was crazy, because they were so well-prepared). A few nights before the wedding, the groom’s family came over to meet the bride’s family for the first time. I was there as comedic relief. Haha, just kidding. It actually was a really enjoyable evening, and again, it was a treat to get to know the groom’s family before the craziness began.
We spent the afternoon making dinner. I had two main jobs– cutting and stirring. At one point in the evening, while the families were meeting, I was content to stay in the kitchen, out of the way, stirring the vegetables to death.
When I went to give the present to the bride and groom the next day, I was struck by how perfect it had become. Instead of just some nice things for their kitchen, it had become a reminder of that day — the treat of our time together, the feelings and emotions as we cooked dinner and prepared for the future in-laws, and the friendship we shared as we spent that last day together before the wedding crowds came. What I had done with my friend– whether it was comedic relief or just chopping vegetables — the couple would now do together.
Some presents get better with age.