Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our Home Vs. Our Wedding Gifts

We love every person who came to our wedding to bits. They are, quite literally, our favourite 142 people in the world. They are family, friends, shoulders to cry on, hands to lift us up, legs and feet to dance all night with. They're the people we spend December with, ring in the New Year with, party through our birthdays with, enjoy picnics and camping trips with, build houses with. They are the most important people in the world to us.

But... the gifts they gave us for our wedding? Maybe not so much.

Let me explain.

We live small. We always have, as a married couple. Hopefully, we won't always have to, but as it is, everything that makes it into our home must fit into this paradigm of 'small'. Not all of our wedding guests a) knew this and b) understood this. On top of all that, not all of our wedding guests have quite the same tastes that we do. So, here comes the conundrum: how do we honour our wedding guests and the thought they put into the gifts they gave us while also honouring our own tastes, especially as we attempt to bring two people with two unique sets of tastes together?

I don't know.

To be honest, there's still a small pile of wedding gifts sitting the corner of my parents' basement waiting for the day when we'll figure out what to do with them, and how to incorporate them into our lives. But this is a story of one particular gift: a large mirror with a thick, ornate frame in a brushed brass colour.



Not my style.

Not the Husband's style.

Definitely the style of the gift giver herself.

But, when we needed a mirror for our bathroom, I thought about it. It wasn't quite right, but perhaps a coat of spray paint could fix it right up? My parents brought it from the gift pile on one of their visits, and I knew, at first glance, that it wasn't right. It was too big, and even a coat of paint wouldn't make it right for our teeny tiny bathroom. We leaned it up against the wall in the bedroom and left it there. For months.

Until a couple weeks ago. I needed a mirror and the husband was in the bathroom. I picked it up, ripped off the protective cardboard corners and leaned it up on my bedside table. Stepped back. Hmm.

Really?

It works?

I think so!


The fancy-schmancy-ness of it seems to be toned down a bit by the plain bedside table and the country feel of our wood bed frame, and I actually love the way dust coats the design. I'm pleased enough with it to leave it there for now, though that coat of paint may still come. 


One of these days, I might hang it properly. Or I might find a new home for it, especially once we find something we like for above the bed. But it's good enough for now. And at least it's not still leaning, neglected, against the wall on the floor. In the end, I feel like this mirror has actually played a role in shaping my own sense of style. Maybe a thick, brass coloured, ornate mirror isn't so far outside of my tastes.

How do you deal with gifts for your house that don't fit? Do you find a place for them and end up surprised, allowing them, in the end, to change your own sense of style? Or are you one of those people that puts away the vase until the gift-giver comes to visit?

On the flip-side, how would you feel if a gift you bought for someone got a make-over - a can of spray paint, some reupholstery, a total deconstruction?

17 comments:

  1. That mirror has gorgeous sculpting but for those who don't favor gold, it might be a little problem. Of course before changing it, I would think about the person who gave it to me. Some people may take offense to changes and wonder if you think they are tasteless. Others would want you to put it to use however you want. It also would depend on how far away they lived and how often they visit. If I never visit anyway, then I would paint it.

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  2. I haven't figured it out yet either! I can't say that we received anything that we really didn't like, but we just don't have enough space for the things that people gave us, like lots of serving bowls and dishes that don't have a practical, everyday use. Most of these things are still in their boxes or stuffed in a corner somewhere and will have to be dealt with at some point. I feel really badly about getting rid of anything (which is why I haven't dealt with it yet), but I'm also not the type to keep things around that we will never use and just end up taking up space - space that we don't have!

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  3. Absolutely! I've been delaying doing anything with this mirror because I'm not sure how the person who gave it to us would feel about us changing it. They never visit, but that doesn't mean they won't someday! Fortunately, the mirror is in the bedroom, so even if they did, it would be our choice to actually show it to them.

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  4. Now that this mirror has rubbed off on me, there isn't anything we really don't like either. We got so many wall hangings and picture frames, so only a few have made it to our walls -- I feel a little bad about that, but what can I do? I want to pick some out myself too, and we only have a limited number of walls!

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  5. Oh I love it!! I love it in gold, and where you put it. Do you have a fireplace? Could be a good over the fireplace mirror too.

    Don't paint it quite yet. :-)

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  6. Thanks! I'm surprised how contented I've become with the gold. Perhaps my tastes are maturing? No fireplace, unfortunately. Hopefully in the next house!

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  7. I can relate to this so much, even with 3months between our wedding & now, everything is still stacked in a corner gathering dust. From wall hangings to serving-ware I have a feeling it'll be difficult to incorporate any of it into our daily lives, which leaves me feeling a teeny bit guilty. But! I think it's a given that most gifts won't be what you would have bought yourself and most people understand that tastes vary. In the end it comes down to you being happy; whether a gift is to your personal taste or style doesn't mean you can't appreciate it. Whether you use it for a long or short period of time, or if you end up deciding to spray paint the frame colour it's a pretty small thing in the grand scheme of it all.

    But is always a bonus to find a use for something you already have without buying new!

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  8. This is exactly how I hope everyone thinks when they give a gift!

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  9. We live at least 3 hours from the relatives that give us hideous gifts. The close ones know better.

    I do like that mirror though. Oh gosh, what does that say about me? :P

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  10. ummm I love that mirror! When I saw the first photo of it I thought, if she doesn't want it I'll take it! :) Love how it looks leaning, I think if you hung it properly it would be too "done". Sometimes things grow on you over time.

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  11. It probably says that you would do a beautiful job of finding a way to incorporate it into your home if it were yours!

    I'm really glad we tried it out. If I'd dismissed it based on my initial reaction when I unwrapped it, I would definitely be missing out.

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  12. I like how it looks leaning too, but it does take a lot of extra space from my bedside table. Perhaps it's time for a new beside lamp that takes up a little less real estate?

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  13. When we were newlyweds, we tried to incorporate everything we'd gotten as gifts into our home...a very small mobile home. We used that approach for far too many years because we thought the gift giver would be upset if they thought we weren't using their gift. This is really common with newlyweds. :-)

    But after several years of marriage, tweaking our styles (finding out our style..haha!), realizing that in reality most of the people at our wedding were not going to be visiting (or if they did they weren't "authorized" to be "Wedding Gift Posse" ...LOL!) we actually put away and/or gave away things that just weren't us.

    We still get gifts for our home from well-meaning friends or relatives occasionally. We smile, say thank you then put it in our "regifting closet" or donate it to a thrift store. Our home has become "us" and those who come to visit see "us" in our home :-)

    Some of the things you have that aren't your style now, may become so in the future. Some never will make the grade. The key is to make your home YOURS with no fear of offending a gift giver. A true friend will understand :-)

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  14. Thanks for sharing Connie! I was chatting with a more-newly-married-than-I friend a couple months ago about this and she has had the same conundrum. Perhaps it's time for us to sort through things and start our own 'regifting closet'.

    This mirror, however, will not be in it. :)

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  15. The frame is so pretty, it really seems a shame to paint it. Maybe you could just try bartering (or selling) it for something more to your taste on craigslist.

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  16. You think so? Maybe... seems like a number of the other commenters agree! You might be right, and it has grown on me significantly since I've actually put it into use. I certainly won't be selling it though!

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  17. This wedding website is really useful to me.

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