Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Regift

by Katy on December 6, 2008 · 1 comment



I am a big fan of the regift.

We all receive gifts that are not our taste, not our style, not our cup of tea. 

And just because someone gave me a gift, doesn’t mean I have to keep it forever. Or frankly, even use it ever.

My favorite regift story is from a few years past.

My father and step-mother were getting married after 17 years of living together, which included a beloved 15-year-old daughter. Their wedding was the apex of casual — just a gathering of three friends plus family members in their living room. A minister officiated.

It was so casual that my little sister had to be called to come down from her room, because, “your parents are getting married!”

She wore jeans.

My father and step-mother were insistent that they didn’t want any presents. I tried to tell them that I would like to buy them something special, but they were quite firm on the matter.

So I snuck into their house and stole their Cuisinart food processor.

My step-mother is an incredible cook, and she uses her food processor on an almost daily basis. It is her beloved baby, and I shudder to think what would happen if she were asked to choose between the Cuisinart and a loved one. (I think we’d be out on the street faster than you could say, “pureed soup.”)

She called me up a few days later, asking me if I remembered seeing the Cuisinart when I was at the house last. 

“Hmm. . . I don’t really remember. Why do you ask?”

“I think someone broke into the house and stole the Cuisinart!”

“No? Really? That’s insane! Walked past the stereo and computer and stole the Cuisinart? There must be a rational answer.”

The evening of the wedding rolls around, and I show up with a big heavy present, wrapped in traditional shiny silver wedding paper.

My step-mom was dismayed that her wishes were not being honored.

“Oh no Katy, I told you we didn’t want any presents!”

“But I really wanted to get you something special. Something I knew you would use and appreciate.”

(I’m playing it for all it’s worth at this point, and having a lot of fun.)

We sit down and my step-mother opens her wedding present to find . . . her own Cuisinart! Complete with splatters of food and dustings of flour!

It was a hit.

And my step-mother still can’t tell the story of her wedding present without peals of hysterical laughter.

Like regifting stories? The website has a great archive of people’s most mortifying regifting stories. They’re wonderful, and it’s certainly the season for it.

Do you have any good regifting stories? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

lala2074 December 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm

I love your regifting story! Giving something that your stepmother actually loves ( even if it was hers to begin with!)

I always feel guilty when I regift.

But then I feel guilty when someone has bought me a gift with very little thought and it feels like it is an obligation present.

It really is the thought that counts, not the money spent. Which is why I feel so uncomfortable when I receive a gift where it is apparent that no thought whatsoever has gone into it.

In the past, I would either regift it to someone I know would actually like the kind of thing, or else I would donate it to Goodwill.

For a significant birthday ( ie a birthday ending in a zero) i once received hippy style Alpaca scarf bought from a market) from a parent. Given that at the time, I lived in Sydney Australia, and I worked in the corporate world wearing suits every day, there was never going to be a time that I would ever be wearing it. Plus, hippy style has never been my dress style. What were they thinking? It actually was very hurtful as there was obviously no thought given to who I was, or what I might actually like. It was forwarded to Goodwill, hopefully to Tasmania, where it actually gets cold.

I truly would much rather something they had made or baked, or a card with a heartfelt personal message.


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