June 22, 2011 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #597566bicycle2Participant
Here is my current dilemma. As everyone knows the times are tough economically. I find myself living basically paycheck to paycheck and because recently of certain circumstances now having debt on a credit card.
Most of us are invited to many simchas. Due to friendships and the feelings of community and achdut, we feel obligated to attend most of them. The religious community is usually described as tight-knit. However, my current strained budget leaves little room for giving gifts. In these economic rough times are people behind in their gift giving? Do people gift according to their means or feel obligated to gift according to the lavishness of the simcha? Maybe, should one not attend a simcha, if they cannot leave a gift? What would be the token minimum gift for a modest bar mitzvah or wedding? Do celebrants who do not receive a gift feel chintzed/cheated or ill-will to those friends whose budgets are strained?
Looking forward to your thoughts.June 22, 2011 6:37 pm at 6:37 pm #779833yeshivabochur123Participant
You can get nice looking gifts for really cheap sometimes. I know there’s a store in E”Y that sells discount siddurim and machzorim sets and things with the name on it for about $10. Also, you can get nice looking but cheap challah covers and put a name on it. Then everyone thinks you spent a lot but it was actually cheap. If anyone you know is going to E”Y ask them to pick up some siddur/machzor sets from you from the discount outlet store (where they have these things that are printed slightly the wrong color or something else usually not noticable).June 22, 2011 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #779834always hereParticipant
yeshivabochur123~ not ‘cheap’… ‘inexpensive’ 😉June 22, 2011 7:11 pm at 7:11 pm #779835commonsenseParticipant
bike, i have the same questions! i spend thousands a year on gifts that don’t even look like anything. We have takonos on many things, i think the Rabbonim should make a takana that no one except close relatives give gifts. I used to be happy when i got invitations in the mail, now my first thought, many times, is about the gift.June 22, 2011 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #779836
I don’t give presents when i go to family weddings, as a single i don’t think it is expected or necessary for me to do so.June 22, 2011 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #779837YW Moderator-80Member
you could give a very nice, boxed pen and mechanical-pencil set to a Bar Mitzvah for about $10-15, a challah cover for very little.
if you are single, people dont expect you to spend much, but if possible its nicer to give a gift
expresses a chiba between the parties, shows that you care (as does coming to the Simcha)June 22, 2011 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #779838
Bar Mitzvahs i do give to, weddings not.June 22, 2011 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #779839RABBAIMParticipant
My daughter got married within the last year….. fewer than 20 percent of the people gave any gift. This is own from 3 years earlier when over 35 percent gave a gift to my older child……. still not the 70 percent that gave at my wedding a few decades ago. I guess the economic downturn has taken a toll in this area. Join the club!June 22, 2011 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #779840zahavasdadParticipant
If I cant give I dont go, I do not feel its proper to go unless I give a gift.
A simcha costs $50-$100 or more a plate and its not fair if I dont contribute in some manor.June 22, 2011 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #779841
oh well less thank you notes to write thenJune 22, 2011 7:50 pm at 7:50 pm #779842adorableParticipant
GOQ- you can come to my simchos even without a gift!June 22, 2011 7:55 pm at 7:55 pm #779843spiralParticipant
I have B”H been marrying off children for the last 20 years. The amount of people giving gifts has really gone down considerably. Family members that used to give gifts don’t give anything anymore. I don’t know if it’s only due to economy. In large families there are B”H many weddings and it’s hard to give. Several of my children married into large families and have between 20 and 30 siblings from the two sides.
My friends also say that many people attending weddings don’t give anything the last few years. At the most recent wedding I made we had 175 couples for the meal. We received gifts from 42 people. At a wedding I made 18 years ago I had 150 couple at the meal and received 59 gifts just from my side and 51 from the other side. That’s 110 gifts from 150 couple attending.June 22, 2011 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #779844
ty adorable may you have many simchos!June 22, 2011 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #779845minyan galMember
Goq – you said that because you are single you don’t feel it is necessary to give a gift. Well, it depends on your age and stage of life. In another thread you said that you don’t ever expect to get married. I don’t know how old you are, but if you are a 50 year old bachelor, you can’t get by using the reasons you now use. If you are lucky enough to still have parents and you are young, your parents can include your name on their gift, but it isn’t the right thing to do after you reach a certain age.
zahavasdad – I am with you. If I feel I can’t afford a gift, I don’t go. I may send a donation card (18.00) anyway. Recently there was a Bar Mitzvah at my shul that I was not invited to. I do see the mother and the Bar Mitzvah bochur every week at shul and often share a table with them for kiddush. I am also active in Sisterhood with the mother. So, even though I wasn’t invited, I gave the boy a card with a check for 18.00. I thought of a donation but thought that the boy would prefer the money. 3 weeks later, they are both still thanking me and telling me how thoughtful I was. The boy had his thank you cards mailed within a week. Surprising but wonderful.
yeshivabochur – “inexpensive” is far more elegant than saying “cheap”. I had an aunt who owned a ladies wear shop. Her staff were instructed to never use the word “cheap” no matter how the customer worded things. If something was too expensive the staff would say ” I will find you something that is “less costly”. The word “cheap” was forbidden in the store.June 22, 2011 9:34 pm at 9:34 pm #779846ImaofthreeParticipant
Maybe people aren’t giving gifts because they are making or contributing to the sheva brochos. Food is very expensive these days….
I like to give gifts and I try to stock up on things on sale, like nice drinking glasses for the shabbos table, a picture frame, a nice naigel vaaser cup. and I write a nice note wishing them mazal tov and all the brochos!
If you can’t afford a gift I think your gift is attending the wedding which does cost you gas and your time.
May we only have more simchas in klal yisroel!June 22, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm #779847oomisParticipant
On principle, if you go, you should give at least a TOKEN gift of some type. Go into Amazing Savings and buy a candy dish or cake plate for $5-10, for goodness sake. It will not cost much. I would never, even if poverty stricken (and I have been, at times),walk into a simcha empty-handed. Some people even give a gift when they could not attend (but I think you can fudge on that one, if you are financially challenged).
Posters are also correct that contributing to Sheva Brachos or a limo (a new shtick these days, G-d knows why), or being part of a group gift of some other type, are all viable ways to participate without emptying your wallet too badly.June 22, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #779848littleappleMember
18, 36, 54, or 72 when you multiply it by 100 or so guests adds up and most bar mitzva boys or chassan/kallahs have some better off relative or two they receive bigger gifts from so I have found that the simcha helps in receiving each gift in the right spirit as Mod 80 expressed above.June 22, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm #779849commonsenseParticipant
zahavasdad, the gift usually goes to the young couple or the bar mitzva boy, so you covering your plate doesn’t help the parents. People want guests at their simcha. the guests enhance a simcha so gifts should not be a requirement. years ago gifts were given to help a couple begin a new life because many couldn’t afford to buy the basics. today most parents set up their children with the necessities. Unfortunately we have held on to the gift giving requirement. Ka”h today, most people go to many many simchos a year so the gift giving has become very costly.June 22, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm #779850RABBAIMParticipant
Z Dad – Maybe you should tell them not to set a place, but certainly go, give Brachos, dance a bit. show your simcha and ahava. Imagine if no one would go………… ouch!June 22, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm #779851tomim tihyeMember
Bike: The matter of gift-giving has a lot to do with your circles.
You sound Sephardic, so some of what you hear here may not be applicable in your circles.
Contributing a dish to a sheva brachos with a note attached might be a cost-effective option for you.June 23, 2011 2:01 am at 2:01 am #779852minyan galMember
Just remembered this one. I had an uncle who decided that because divorce was becoming so common, he would no longer give a wedding gift until one year had passed. He made a note in his date book and sure enough, if the couple were still married, they received a gift on their 1st anniversary. You could be invited to several weddings for the same bride or groom. At least a child has only one Bar/Bat Mitzvah.June 23, 2011 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #779853yeshivabochur123Participant
Wow! I didn’t realize the word cheap was so offensive. I didn’t mean anything by it only that these things are not expensive. So you should know those wrong color or whatever siddurim and machzorim are good quality.June 23, 2011 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #779854apushatayidParticipant
Dont think of a simcha as a fundraiser. It isn’t. You are not obligated to cover the cost of having you at the simcha and you are certainly not obligated to pay for your meal with a gift. Give what you believe is appropriate and that you can afford.June 23, 2011 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #779855tomim tihyeMember
minyan gal, we sometimes also wait until a couple’s anniversary before giving a gift. Different reason, though. And it’s often a baby gift, by then.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.