Art of Re-Gifting by
Maggie Van Ostrand
time my kids ask what I want for Christmas (or birthday or Mother's Day), I now
tell them "nothing." Last year, I told them "Nothing I have to dust," but that
didn't work and I got a bunch of nice presents I have to dust. Thanks, kids. They
must get their gift ideas from their grandmother, who continued to send me a pair
of white gloves every single Easter, even though I moved to Los Angeles where
nobody wears gloves except the coroner. |
Last Mother's Day, when my son
asked what I wanted, I described a knee-length, white terry cloth robe with belt.
Nothing fancy. I just wanted a robe like the one that had literally worn through;
small wonder, I had it since I was about 18. In fact, there was a robe exactly
like the one I wanted hanging on the back of his guest bathroom door. I showed
it to him. "Get me one just like this! This is it!!"
What did I get? I
got a robe all right, but it wasn't knee-length it was floor length; it wasn't
white, it was dark blue; it wasn't terry cloth, it was velvet. My son had done
it again. He got the robe he thought I should have and not the one I wanted.
before that, when he and his sister were teenagers without much money to spend,
they asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, "A sharp knife to replace
the dull one in the kitchen drawer." I added, "If you haven't got the money, then
please take this old-but-good knife to the sharpener man who comes to this area
every Tuesday." You probably already guessed that I did not ever get either a
new knife, or a sharpened old one. What they bought me was a juicer. That very
same juicer is still in the original box, and sitting on the top pantry shelf.
Why should a perfectly good, new juicer go unused? Why should a beautiful
velvet robe go unworn? Why should a dozen pair of white gloves sit in the drawer
and turn yellow when there are so many people with cold hands? That brings me
to today's topic: regifting.
Post's granddaughter, Peggy, says she has no qualms about regifting "when done
properly" and supplies some regifting tips:
quiet about it being a regift
Well, Ms. Post may advise silence, but she
doesn't know my family. They'd all be right there yelling, "Say, that's the same
thing I gave you last year. How could you give it to somebody else."
Peggy Post thinks we'd give somebody not only a gift we received before, but one
that we've worn? Just remind yourself to wash off the dried pieces of potato from
that ricer you're rewrapping.
Track of Who Gave It to You
of course, or you might end up giving the same gift back to the person who gave
it to you in the first place. It's all right to regift surreptitiously, it's not
all right to get caught.
Never Regift Certain Items
Peggy Post is talking about soaps, candles, and popcorn poppers, reasoning that
it will be too obvious that it's something you don't want and didn't take the
time to actually go shopping. I disagree. As long as the soap doesn't have the
name washed off it, the wick of the candles isn't blackened with use, and there's
no unpopped corn in the popper, you're ahead of the game. She does advise you
to clean the lipstick off the rim of the glasses you're regifting.
is an art, easily learned using Ms. Post's tips. Or you can take my way out, sometimes
called The Coward's Solution. I just put a blue velvet robe, a juicer, and a dozen
pair of white gloves on eBay. Just don't tell my kids.
Maggie Van Ostrand
December 19, 2009column
Christmas in Texas
Texas | Online
Magazine | Column |