The holidays are still upon us, and by now you might have some extra stuff lying around your house. (I bet it’s nice stuff. People love you.) If you want to keep it all, great! You should! Find a spot for it and let it bring you joy.
If you don’t want to keep it, then I think it’s time we talk about what to do with it.
Let’s talk about re-gifting.
You’ve probably done it. You got a duplicate of something, or someone gave you something that wasn’t exactly your taste. You left it in the packaging and found it a nice, new home. No one admits to it, even though most of the time, you can kind of tell that something is a re-gift.
So why do we hide it? Is it to be polite? If you’re re-gifting something you know the recipient will like, then why does it matter if you didn’t buy it? If you’re re-gifting something that you suspect the recipient will find just as useless as you did, then isn’t that more insulting? I think this whole culture of quid pro quo gift exchanging is annoying and unnecessary, but maybe that’s just me.
The semi-public nature of what I’m doing here means that all my people know I am not spending money on them. It’s pretty much all I talk about. A few months back, I floated the idea among a trusted group of friends that instead of making everything for my family (of origin, plus spouses), I would give them things I already own. Not junk — just nice stuff I have used and enjoyed, but that I know each of them would use and enjoy more. This is not re-gifting in the classic sense, where you just give away something that it still basically new and unused (although I do that too). This is a new kind of nonsense I was trotting out.
I really wasn’t sure how tacky this would be. The focus group gave their stamp of approval, but still I worried. Even on Christmas Day, after my family opened their (re)gifts and (re)acted happily, I had my doubts. It’s not like my family are the type to hold back, it’s just that the whole idea of wrapping up stuff that I clearly already owned and putting someone else’s name on it still seems pretty weird.
I think they liked them. Later that same day, my brother and sister-in-law sent me a couple of pictures of their new (my old) stuff in their space. They found spots for it and it looks much happier there. Don’t you agree?
This powder blue teapot was a gift I received a few years ago. It’s basically a tea set for one. You can brew tea in the top and there’s a cup underneath. It’s cute and I used it a few times, but Jessica collects teapots and I think it looks sweet on her shelf.
This banker’s lamp was a Sally Ann find from a couple years back. It’s solid and works and I’ve always enjoyed the look of it. Christophe placed it atop our paternal grandfather’s antique desk from his old law office, and now I’m super-glad I didn’t paint the Green Lantern symbol on the lampshade.