Bah humbug, it’s that time of year when the holiday Grinch in me comes out in full force. I never like being invited to holiday parties because people are expected to bring things. Hostess/host gifts give me a headache as they involve: wine over fifteen dollars a bottle, food baskets filled with sausages, individually wrapped pears, nuts, cookies in the shape of stars or Santa, and imported expensive cheeses whose names I can’t pronounce or smell bad. I have half full bottles of wine which I would be happy to gift because I’ve given it up for expensive vodka and will definitely not share the Grey Goose. I have three raisin oatmeal cookies left from a package of five, four little Swiss cheese squares but no crackers and a third of a bag of prunes. I would generously bring the Cologuard test I have never opened and foresee myself schlepping with me for years to come. Don’t ask.
Holiday gift giving kills the merriment for me. I know it’s the thought that counts but thoughts can be expensive. My DNA is cheap thanks to my Dad. Btw, Dad returned every gift I ever gave him. I finally gave up on ties, books, scarves, and sweaters and resorted to unreturnable bakery goods. I think he tried to exchange the brownies for lemon tarts but failed.
I am also a terrible gift wrapper and as a result the present looks like it went through a wood chipper. I usually end up bleeding from the serrated edge on the scotch tape and am always out of band aids. I once ended up in the ER getting stitches. Ironically when I was a little girl my dream job was to grow up and be a gift wrapper at Marshall Fields. I abandoned that thought after I bought Christmas paper for Chanukah and realized I didn’t have the focus it might require. I have a friend who is a master wrapper. I have no idea how she does it and have seen her at work; so patient and precise with the scissors and tape, as well as attaching bows, glorious ribbons and flowers. It practically brings me to tears, but no desire to learn how.
I struggle with receiving presents also. I am very picky. I appreciate the gesture and thought but usually return the gift. How about a little note that says “here is a gesture and thought.” Why don’t people give me gas cards, windshield wipers, a certificate for new tires or a complimentary oil change? These are things I hate paying for and would love them gifted instead. Although recently I received a portable space heater for my birthday and gave it back as I already have one. In the appliance genre one space heater is enough regardless of its practicality. And since it was my birthday I would have preferred a diamond tennis bracelet or big chocolate cake.
I think re-gifting is a brilliant concept. It takes a lot less time and helps avoid pushing though holiday crowds, as well as parking in giant mall lots with the fear of not remembering where you left the car. I once had to call the lot police at 9:00 p.m after I spent forty five minutes sweating, crying and searching to no avail.
My friend Mary mentioned she will be doing a lot of re-gifting this year. I would love her to re-gift me her black Prada purse. She has quite an impressive list: scented candles that have been stored away in a drawer due to a smell she hates, stainless steel straws for lack of places to take them, socks she bought and never wore, and souvenir chopsticks from Korea Town. She adroitly pointed out you have to be very careful you’re not giving the items back to the person who originally gifted them to you! I’m glad she mentioned that as it could spoil any notion of generosity and holiday spirit. I could easily make that tragic faux pas. Sadly since I return 99% of the gifts I get I have few options except the Cologuard and a pile of bubble wrap I just found in a closet. I hate to part with it but will. Bubble wrap is like gold.
Yesterday however, I got a genius idea from a friend of mine who knows my gift giving and receiving history. Why don’t I re-gift an old boyfriend? (FYI he’s the space heater giver, so in a not so subtle way was he suggesting himself?) It would eliminate the stress of wrapping. Many of my boyfriends were really great and I could name a few I should have kept but stupidly didn’t. Maybe one would make a nice holiday present for a single girlfriend. I like this plan. It might however, be difficult locating anyone as so much time has passed except for Mr. Space Heater. Hmmmm, it was his idea…
Have a great holiday! Drink up! Celebrate! And remember wind shield wipers are a lovely gift.