Slowly but surely the commercials are starting to become more and more of the Christmas variety. It started the other night with a fairly innocent Home Depot "deck the halls" and have started to increase a little more each day. This is what lets me know it's about time to start going into list mode. By making lists, I give myself the illusion I actually have things under control and this allows me not to panic until it's too late. It's a good system I've spent many years perfecting.
Actually this year, for the first time ever, I'm slightly ahead of the game. With the cleaning of so many foreclosures, I've amassed quite a collection of holiday-related items. Decorations? Man, I have that COVERED. Our house will look like the Grizwalds' before it's all over. Cards, wrapping, bows, bags? Check, check aaand check. I even have several little gifts to use for those awkward gift-giving moments; you know, the work gift exchange where you draw names and end up having to give someone you don't know a present? Who comes up with this shit? But it doesn't matter, because I have several gender-neutral small things that no one would want under any other circumstances, but for this will be perfect.
I have to confess something.
I'm an unashamed re-gifter. There, I said it. Are you a friend or a family member of mine? Odds are you've been re-gifted by me at some point. And you probably used my gift to re-gift to someone else, so I don't want to hear it. I don't apologize - it's a great system and I think more people should do it. You get a gift you don't like, you basically have three choices:
2. Put away somewhere and try to remember to bring it out when the person visits.
3. Ascertain where the gift came from and return it, get store credit and get yourself something you really wanted.
I've done all of the above and let me tell you why the re-gift is the way you want to go.
When we got married, we got a lot of cool stuff. There was pretty much only one glaring exception, which came from one of his aunts and it looked something like this:
Except there were two of them and from what I recall, there was a lot more brass and crystal involved. They were meant to be used bedside, but since we'd lived together for a few years before getting married, we already had lamps for that, lamps which were way more attractive than these monstrosities. After everything settled down from the wedding festivities and we were back home, I tried to figure out the best way to handle the situation. Brian wanted to go with option number two, put away until needed. He's a better person than I am; we all know this. "But," I reasoned, "we lived in Florida; Aunt Shirely lives in South Carolina - what are the odds she'll ever come visit?" (This is foreshadowing.)
I convinced him there were many more things we needed besides a pair of ugly lamps and since they came from Lowes, oh what fabulous choices we'd have with store credit! The possibilities were endless! He grudgingly agreed, not liking the idea one bit. It ended up being something like $80 worth of credit, which we used to buy wood to build a sorely-needed bookshelf. He agreed it was sort of a good idea after all was said and done and our books were up off the floor and onto our homemade shelf.
Until his mom called one day and told us she and her sister were coming to visit us. You know which sister - Our Lady of the Lamp.
Cue Brian being all smug, saying "I told you!"
Cue me punching him.
It took a few days, but I finally concocted the story we were going to go with, should the need arise. Which of course it would. When Southern women come to your house, they are going to silently take mental notes on your decor and judge you. It's just a fact of life. When the awkward moment finally arrived and she politely asked if we were "able to use" the lamps, I told her the sad story of opening the boxes only to find they had broken somehow in transit. Both of them. Broken. Yeah. Great story. I happen to like this woman a lot and the shame from that day continues to haunt me.
I suppose had I re-gifted them the results would be about the same, which means I told that whole story without supporting my thesis. It doesn't matter. The point is, you're going to receive a lot of weird ugly gifts in your lifetime and I'm just trying to help you deal with it the best way I know how.
If people just paid more attention to Amazon wish lists, this type of thing could be completely avoided.