My favorite "go-to" gift to give at weddings is a carbon monoxide detector. I think they can be such a lifesaving thing, and everyone should have one, regardless of whether they rent or own their home. Every winter, there are a couple stories of families who died, or nearly died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
I've always assumed that it was not a gift that the bride and groom squealed over, but I was ok with that.
A couple weeks ago, we ran into an old friend. We'd given her and her husband a carbon monoxide detector about five years ago. She thanked me for the gift, and told me the following story:
We had just moved into a new apartment a day or so earlier. We were exhausted from the move, and had just collapsed after a long day. We weren't feeling very good- a bit headachy and nauseated, and had chalked it up to the move. Suddenly, we start hearing a beeping alarm. We dug through the boxes until we found our carbon monoxide detector, howling like a banshee (ok, this is my description, not hers). We thought that maybe it needed new batteries, so we replaced them with fresh batteries. The alarm immediately went off again. We tried to call the apartment manager, but nobody answered.
The carbon monoxide instructions said to call the fire department if the alarm went off. We called, feeling a bit foolish to bother them. They acted like it was probably a false alarm, but came right over. They brought their detector with them, and tested the air.
Immediately, they got a very serious look and tone, and told us to get out of the building NOW, and get to fresh air. It turns out that our apartment had deadly levels of carbon monoxide in it. We had to find someplace different to spend the night, but that was the extent of it. The next day, the apartment manager was able to repair our furnace and we were able to live there just fine.
We are so grateful that we had that detector. If it hadn't gone off, we probably would've just gone to sleep in there, and the results probably would've been tragic.
Wow. Best wedding gift ever, isn't it?