Published in Home For the Holidays issuu magazine November 25, 2022 (page 56)
Through personal experience, I’ve discovered that gifts given with love are always best, while re-gifts given in the spirit of convenience can be fraught with peril.
I smile in reverie recalling a time when I was given a most unexpected gift at Christmas – a bizarre little vase that surpassed the definition of ugliness, and which I promptly banished into the depths of my china cabinet.
It sat there and sulked for years, except for the one and only time it was whipped out and sheepishly stuffed full of tiny flowers, as the esteemed visitor dropping by for tea was the elderly relative who originally gifted me the vase.
I thought she would be pleased to see it displayed on the table, but she turned an odd shade of green and ceased any further eye contact with it.
Some time later, an annual spring cleaning coincided with the birthday of a certain Friend #1 who adored unusual things. Unable to provide a thoughtful gift in time, and against my better judgement, I re-gifted that odd little vase to her, and begged her to only open it at home. Feeling guilty for the re-gift, I took her out later that week for a consolation tea. When I asked after the little vase, she exhibited a terse frivolity and abruptly switched subjects.
Fast forward another decade, as to when I actually received this very SAME vase once more as a Christmas gift, from yet a different friend – a Friend #2. Trying not to recoil in horror, I think I clasped a hand lamely to my chest and croaked with all sincerity, “I can’t believe it! You shouldn’t have!”
Friend #2 misunderstanding my shock, smiled with blatant relief in her eyes.
Against my better judgement, I quickly regifted this vase as a “just because present” to an unsuspecting Friend #3 as she literally headed off for home after dropping by for a coffee.
About a year after that, Friends #4, #5, #6 and #7, and I met up at Friend #8’s for coffee.
To my chagrin, upon washing my hands in her bathroom, there IT was, perched triumphantly on Friend #8’s spotless bathroom counter. Oddly enough, Friend #8 had never, ever, met Friend #3.
Ironically, when we left that afternoon, Friend #8 hastily insisted that Friend #5 take the vase… as #5 had (foolishly) commented on how perfectly unique she thought it was. There were a few vehement tokens of “No, no, I couldn’t possibly” by #5, but it was to no avail.
It’s a fact. Covert re-gifting exists. It seems everyone does it… and I cling tenaciously to the hope that by now, that hideous little vase has been long since been recycled or crushed scathingly beneath someone’s heel.
What a Re-gifting Trail Tale that little vase could tell… but maybe it’s best not knowing.
Re-gifting truth is truly stranger than fiction.