May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I’m Happy for Them. No, Really.

Everyone I know is getting married. Or going for an MA in International Relations from Columbia. But for the most part, it’s marriage. Now that I’ve graduated college, I can’t glance at my Facebook feed without seeing a slew of fresh faces happily announcing their upcoming nuptials. Some of these people are “Facebook friends,” i.e., friends of friends, or vague acquaintances. But a sizeable number are my peers from elementary or high school (respectively Moriah and Frisch, in my case), with a few cousins mixed in for variety. It’s this latter group of former classmates and inveterate relatives that leaves me with something of a problem: what gifts am I supposed to get for these people?

It should be said from the start: it is impossible to pigeonhole Jews. Ashkenazim differ in their traditions, habits and preferences from Sephardim, Persians have idiosyncrasies that would seem strange to a Syrian, and so on. But there appears to be a common acceptance of the wedding gift as socially significant, with some notable influences from American culture. For instance, it can probably be said safely that the preparation for most weddings includes the compiling of a registry, a list at a website or store that helps communicate the gift preferences of the lucky couple. Or perhaps that should come with the caveat of “supposed” preferences, leading us to gift option one.

Gift Option One: Cash

In this recovering but decidedly lackluster economy, there is plenty of financial insecurity to go around. This is especially true for young couples attempting to establish simultaneously their own individual careers as well as a home together. So no matter how thoughtful it may be to get Moshe and Chana that nice ceramic cup from their list for netilat yadayim, giving them the money directly can provide them with a sense of freedom and autonomy, gifts whose cost cannot be measured.

Gift Option Two: An Experience

Maybe you think they could use some R&R after months spent planning the wedding; maybe you know them to be adrenaline junkies. This is a gift that can be a genuine opportunity to surprise and delight the couple receiving it. Best of all, breaking the bank is not a prerequisite. Some couples have made online registries for their ideal honeymoon, which crowdfund (a la Kickstarter), meaning you can choose to chip in however much you like. This category of present is broad yet personal enough that you can get a group of guests together and buy a spa day or skydiving lessons and, based on how well you know the betrothed, it’ll be a hit.

Gift Option Three: Membership

You’re of the mindset that the honeymoon will be adequate as far as experiences go. A viable alternative is signing the two of them up for something ongoing, low-maintenance and fun. A gift repeatedly given, purchasing them memberships to a museum or to a wine- or fruit-of-the-month club (one option for the latter: Harry & David’s gourmet food clubs) could serve as a reminder for the two of them to take time out of their schedules to enjoy the finer things in life as well as quality time with one another.

Gift Option Four: Tickets to Hamilton

I hear it’s great, and if you can score tickets to what is likely Broadway’s hit for the next one to five years, it would be an amazing coup that would keep the newlyweds talking for weeks. I’m sure they’ll love it.

By David Hammerschlag

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