Monday, October 26, 2009

Re-gift


My favorite season is just around the corner. I'm not talking about Halloween, since I've never been big on dressing up. I'm referring to Christmas. I just love the gift giving, the eating like there's no tomorrow, the happiness all around, the crisp cold air. What's not to love?

Here in the Philippines, we have a habit of giving gifts early. So, there's plenty of time for, umm, re-gifting. I know that the concept may sound crass and unbecoming. But who needs all those scented candles and potpourri, fruit cakes (see story below), cute figurines (I call them "dust gatherers".), keychains, etc. I just think that, since I'm not going to need them and I certainly need to save money during these tough times, the next best thing is to recycle them.

Dear reader, you've probably re-gifted at one point in your life. And, I think that some of the gifts you've sent have been re-gifted as well. It's not a bad thing though. (We just don't have enough keys to use all those keychains.)

When you're a bibliophile and you've lots of friends who are book lovers as well, re-gifting books and book-related items can be quite tricky. Unless you're filthy rich, you probably can afford to give books or, even better, Amazon gift checks to all your friends. (I usually hate filthy rich people, but they become my best friends during Christmas.)

I can't bear the thought of regifting books unless they're of the self-help variety. No Coehlos, Chopras, Carnegies, et al will ever get near my shelf. And, in the few instances that I give books as gifts, I can't imagine them being re-gifted. So, here's what I do:
  • Inscribe the books with a very personal note such as "Let's talk about this book soon, Alex! Bring it with you next month at Starbucks." Or, "I can't wait to see this book on your shelf when I come over to surprise you one of these days, Martha!"
  • Write innocuous notes on random pages of the book. Granted that this wouldn't prevent the person you gave it too from re-gifting. But, if the receiver does re-gift, the look on his or her face would be priceless once you ask if he or she has read the personal notes you wrote on page 37, 203, and 412 of the same book.
  • Tell them that you'll be calling them frequently to ask how they're liking the book. This would be better if you have the same book. This way, you can easily ask them about their thoughts regarding specific pages.

The Fruit Cake Myth

There's actually only one fruit cake in the world. Come Christmas time, this fruit cake gets passed around to different people. Since the fruit cake is made of tons of sugar and alcohol, it's virtually indestructible, allowing it to survive one Christmas season to the next. I don't this is true though. I love fruit cake. Or, as an alternative to the myth, all the fruit cakes in the world get passed around and eventually end up in my tummy.

22 comments:

mental wayfarer said...

I love fruitcake (especially with ice cream and strong black coffee)! I know of only 3 of us who still eat the stuff. Good thing we're fo few, because not many people think to give them as gifts anymore.:P

Peter S. said...

Hi, mental wayfarer! I gorge myself on that stuff! I especially like those with extra brandy and walnuts. Yum!

Sumthinblue said...

I always find it amusing when I get an inscribed book at book sale.

I think I have a small collection of those books by now :D

Ryan G said...

I shuddering just thinking about fruit cake. I'm not sure if there is anything worse in the world, well marzipan is a clost second for me.

josbookshelf said...

LOL! You are a mischievous one, Peter. And I think I will follow your advice, just so I can see this:
"the look on his or her face would be priceless once you ask if he or she has read the personal notes you wrote on page 37, 203, and 412 of the same book."

Tee hee!

Btw, throw all those fruitcake my way. I simply loooove those!

David Wagner said...

great thoughts today, thanks. You know, you could combine holidays and dress up as Santa for Halloween! Two birds, one stone...

Hope you enjoy this year's fruitcake... by the way, I wrote you a personal message between bites 26 and 27...

Charlie said...

I think you were right the first time: there IS only one fruitcake in the world, so you keep eating the same one.

The best present I can get is a gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I gift the same, unless I have access to a friend's wishlist.

Bookmarks are nice inexpensive gifts, too.

caite said...

I happen to be a fan of fruitcake as well. In fact I make my own and will be making my grand Christmas cake soon. In the Irish tradition, I top it at the last minute with a layer of marzipan and royal icing. It is rich but a small slice is lovely with a cup of tea on a cold day.

Krista said...

Oh, I hate Fruitcake! That story made me laugh, though :) I hope you enjoy it :)

That is a great idea to write little notes on the pages! I'd love to see the looks on there faces as well :)

Peter S. said...

@sumthinblue: I know! Very amusing indeed:

@Ryan G: I wonder why a lot of people don't like fruit cake. It's actually quite good.

@josbookshelf: And finally one more person who loves fruit cake!

@David Wagner: Thanks! I'll check those out!

@Charlie: I love giving away bookmarks too.

@Caite: I have yet to try an Irish fruit cake.

@Krista: Hating fruit cake is quite umcommon. Although I wonder why people still give those away.

scribesexpress said...

Eh-he-he-he!

I found your suggestion of leaving personal notes on the re-gifted book quite amusing! I don't know if you're really sincere in giving that book away or just want to get rid of it. :)

I have never re-gifted in my life though. I keep everything as a souvenir from the giver.

With regards to the filthy rich thing, I just found out that when Christmas comes, my cousins and friends suddenly show up. They present the same attitude whenever I treat them to stuff during my birthdays. I wonder why?

I am a certified fruit cake hater. Sorry! A combination of fruits and pastry just doesn't appeal to me.

Peter S. said...

@scribesexpress: Now I've discovered another polarizing thing -- fruit cake.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

The only person I know who actually eats the fruit cake he is given is my dad. I've never actually re-gifted. I'm always afraid of being found out. :)
Thanks for cheering me on during the Read A Thon. It was daunting, esp. as I hadn't done one before.

Peter S. said...

Hi, A Buckeye Girl Reads! You're welcome. I just love looking at all the updates during the Read-A-Thon.

Petunia said...

I have no problem with re-gifting. If I can't or won't use it then I would rather it go to someone who can and will. But I only re-gifted a book once. It was given to me by my grandma for xmas. I liked it and I knew she would like it too so I gave it back to her the following year. :) Great post.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Petunia! Thanks for sharing that wonderful anecdote, and for validating the practice of re-gifting! Hehe.

StephanieD said...

Re-gifting is being environmentally responsible!

Peter S. said...

Hi, StephanieD! It sure is! Again, another great reason for re-gifting!

Portobello's coffee said...

If you have relatives from the states, I highly recommend you have them bring that Kirkland fruitcake from Costco. It's so filled with fruits and things and it's the richest fruitcake in. the. universe.

definitely something i WONT re-gift!

Peter S. said...

@Portobello's coffee: Mmmmm.... I already am loving it!

lilly said...

Lol! I love your 'dust gatherer' name for the figurines. So accurate! I really really cannot stand the things.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Lilly! So nice to meet someone who's not a big fan of figurines!