How much to spend on a wedding gift

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’ve got lots of weddings to attend — some requiring significant travel and hotel costs. I’m not complaining about that (well, I am a little) but after I’ve spent hundreds or even more than $1,000 to be there for my friends, how much is enough to spend on a wedding gift? I don’t want to look cheap but I also don’t want to be on a weeks-long ramen-from-the-microwave diet when I get home from the festivities.

— Elizabeth B.

Dear Elizabeth: The best advice I can give you is to figure out how much you can comfortably afford and don’t go over that. Now more than ever (inflation!), all but a lucky few of us are on a budget. Especially for weddings that require traveling, don’t go overboard on the gift just because you think you might look cheap. After all, your presence is part — likely a large part — of the wedding present. You should give some sort of gift, and here are some frugal suggestions: Go for the low-end items on the couple’s bridal registry, a photo of the couple in a nice frame (try Michaels, michaels.com) or matching kitchen aprons from Walmart for under $10 and have them monogrammed if you want to spend a bit extra. One more thing: Whatever the gift, have it sent. It’s a huge pain for the couple to haul gifts back home, especially if the wedding site is nowhere near where the couple lives.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My boyfriend wears socks with his shorts that are half way up his calves. It is a doofus look with gym shoes or deck shoes. He says the no-show socks slip and bunch up under his feet. What’s the answer?

— Meredith K.

Dear Meredith: No-show socks for men (and women) have come a long way, with silicon strips that keep them in place and a different cut than those you’re familiar with. Some to try are those that are shaped more like a woman’s ballet flat than the old-school ones shaped kind of like a canoe: Mens Non-Slip Grips Casual Low Cut Boat Socks (Joulli brand, 6-pack, on sale, amazon. com, $13.99); women’s Peds Smooth Edge Low Cut (amazon.com, 6-pack, $15.50).

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Lots of lap swimming readers share Sally A.’s lament there’s no swim cap that really keeps hair dry. But they do offer some suggestions to keep chlorine damage to a minimum. Before the swim, Virginia B. and Kathryn P. soak their hair in tap water, then apply conditioner beneath a basic swim cap. After the swim, they thoroughly rinse. Adrienne L. soaks her hair with tap water —no added conditioner — “to seal it from the swimming pool water.” Joanne S. skips the tap water rinse and goes straight for Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream (sallybeauty.com, $5.89) under her swim cap. Georgette C. recommends using the “lifesaving crawl” which keeps the head out of the water altogether “without ever taking the face/eyes from looking ahead.”

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On another hair issue, readers want to help Carrie S. whose curly hair turns to frizz. Jeanne S. likes Mixed Chicks Coil, Kink & Curl Styling Cream on wet hair then air dry (mixedchicks.net, $12): “It does dry a little ‘crunchy’ but you can scrunch it to get rid of the crunch.” Jill B. recommends Kiehl’s Crème with Silk Groom (kiehls.com, $26; sephora.com, $25). Though instructions recommend use on damp hair, Jill has had better luck on dry hair: “My hair sleeks down and stays there.”


Especially for weddings that require traveling, don’t go overboard on the gift just because you think you might look cheap, says Answer Angel Ellen Warren.

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