The topic comes up every year around the holidays... to regift or not to regift? Its always the questions, because every single one of us always has some bizarre gift given to us by one of our relatives or friends that we really have no use for. However, I will never regift thanks to my mother and what happened when I was in the seventh grade...
I went to a small school where it was customary to give your teachers a little gift for the holidays. That was back before gift cards were everywhere(God, that makes me feel old!). You actually had to buy gifts and picking out what to get your teacher was never easy. It had to be something nice, but not too personal. As a kid I always left the responsibility of shopping and selecting a gift up to my mother. My only part in the entire ordeal was trucking the nicely wrapped package to school and not tearing the paper before gifting it.
So, one year when I was in seventh grade my mother must had forgotten that it was the last day of school before Christmas. I asked her what she had picked out for my teacher when her eyes widened in horror. The bus was going to arrive in a few minutes so she began dashing around the house. Moments later she emerged from a closet with a very odd bird feeder that was still in its box. I recognized it from last year's Christmas. It was a colorful duck, with real life features, size, and coloring, that was hollowed out in the middle where you could put bird feed in it. In all honesty it was quite the bizarre and unattractive feeder, but I knew that my grandmother, had picked it out last year and given it to my mom. Immediately I began to protest her choice for a gift.
"We can't possibly use that for a gift, mom! Your mom gave it to you for Christmas!" I exclaimed. She just seemed annoyed, as if she couldn't understand what the issue was, but I was horrified. All I could think about was the time my grandmother spent picking out that feeder. My twelve year old self had visions of her carefully selecting it with hopes of it hanging outside a window and drawing in countless colorful birds that her grand kids would lovingly watch through the glass. How could my mother do such a thing to her gift?
|This is a pretty close example to the bird feeder, at least how I remember it.|
She hastily wrapped the feeder in shiny paper, handed it to me, and gave me a stern look that signaled I better take the gift and head to the bus stop without further objection. The entire bus ride I sat and thought about how the gifts that I had diligently picked out for my parents could be re-wrapped and sent off to other people without so much as a thought. I was consumed with sadness. How could someone do such a thing and had someone done that to one of my gifts? The whole idea of gift giving was tainted in my middle-school mind.
As I arrived in class other students had placed their gift on the teachers desk in an uneven pile. I added mine to the stack and took my seat. Near the end of the day the teacher unwrapped all her gifts. When she got to mine, broke through the shiny paper that revealed a duck bird feeder, she look at me with a smile and said thank you. All I could think about was how my grandmother's gift was going to my seventh grade teacher. I managed a smile, but it was a superficial one.
For all I know the teacher went home and regifted the same bird feeder to someone else. It certainly wasn't a real practical gift, but the experience has still lived with me. Every year I have a faint mound of sadness inside when I think about the possibility of my gifts being regifted and I never ever regift anything given to me. It really is the thought that counts, not the gift that matters.