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bye-bye wedding gift blues give a great gift 
without going broke
by Michele Caldwell | 1 2 3

Ah, the joys of summer! Fresh watermelon and sweet corn. Long lazy naps in droopy hammocks. The perfect slice of day between afternoon and evening when the sunlight makes everything look dreamy. The exquisite partnership of frozen margaritas and sundecks. What a season! But as the old saying goes, every coin has two sides, and the ugly flip side of summer offers mosquitoes, tan lines, and the hard truth that only 1% of the population looks good in white pants. Plus, there's that irritating maintenance of body temperature between sweltering heat and artic air conditioning. And for many twentysomethings, there's one more dreaded thing that summer inevitably brings: weddings. An endless parade of seemingly every person you know in the world saying their "I do's."

Don't get me wrong; I'm not anti-love, nor do I have anything against the institution that has long-served to further the human race, but come on…how many weddings can one person attend? I think I'm going for Guinness Book here. Being in my twenties, it seems like all my friends, cousins, and childhood playmates are getting hitched. Not to mention all my boyfriend's friends, cousins, and childhood playmates. I won't even get into the absurdity of having been in a sorority. What gets me down isn't the free food and alcohol, the dancing, or that precise feeling of hope for humankind one only feels when witnessing a Daddy/Daughter dance. Quite simply, there's just one reason I get blue thinking about the wedding season: it's the gifts. No, I'm not a stingy, malevolent miser who hates giving gifts; I'm just a graduate student who makes under $9,000 per year. Wedding gifts are just these little surprises that never fit into the budget. This unique predicament of too many weddings and not enough money coupled with my innate desire to give great gifts has forced me to become truly resourceful. My boyfriend would rather scribble, "Have a nice life!" in a ho-hum card he picked up at a gas station, stuff two twenties and two crumpled fives in the envelope, and call it a wedding gift. Yikes! Of course, money is always appreciated, but fifty bucks is fifty bucks, and that can be a lot of money. I have managed to spend less than fifty dollars and still give creative, memorable, and useful wedding gifts. Here are a few ideas…

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