Monday, November 11, 2013

In Praise of Regifting

Christmas and Hanukkah are creeping up on us. Will there be any "regifting" in your future?

If you're caught regifting, you're forever branded a pre-conversion Scrooge. You're cheap, you're a bum, you're philanthropyphobic. The next time you participate in a popularity contest in Vietnam you'll lose to Henry Kissinger.

I'm going to risk condemnation by the U.N. by announcing I support regifting. 4/5 of all gifts are totally unwelcomed (proof that no one really knows you). Everyone is always joking about having to pretend they're happy with what they received: "You shouldn't have" (no really, you shouldn't have). "Oh, it's a...juicer. We'll use a juicer, right honey?" (if upon opening your gift the recipient announces what you gave them or confirms what it is used for, you bought the wrong gift). And we all have a sweater we only wear when the sister-in-law responsible for it visits for Thanksgiving (no one is thankful for a pullover too hellish to be included in The Inferno).

Why not wrap up that unloved sweater and give it to someone else? You probably have a friend who has terrible taste in clothes. He LOVES turtlenecks that crush the larynx. What is so inappropriate about wrapping it up and giving it him? You're telling me it is better to let the unwanted gift accumulate dust in your basement? No wonder "Hoarders" has so many viewers.

Oh, but regifting means you didn't spend any money on the recipient! So what? How Christmassy is that accusation? Aren't we constantly hearing the season isn't about money (ironically the chorus usually starts around Black Friday)? If that's the case, by handing over an unwanted gift you're still capturing the sentiment of the season; bringing joy to others and thinking of someone other than yourself. If you were really selfish and money hungry you could have just as easily sold that juicer on eBay.

Everyone says the season isn't about money, but you're a pariah if you regift without parting with money. Everyone says we need to be more considerate about waste, but if you don't let bad gifts go to waste you're inconsiderate. And just when you thought every flaw in the regifting stigma had been explored: If you give away all your clothing after you've worn it for ten years, you're a hero! Those pants you'd keep wearing were it not for the Frisbee-sized hole in the crotch? Just drop them off at your local Salvation Army and suddenly that special needs lovechild you've ignored for 26 years becomes an afterthought. But if you dare give away that unused sweater someone gave you for Christmas, you'll probably have to enter the Witness Protection Program.

If we were honest about what we truly care about, we'd give each other receipts as gifts.

My Twitter feed is the regift that keeps on giving:

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