So, what did you get for Christmas?Christmas gifts

That can be a really loaded question, especially if you have received what I call an “OMG, what were they thinking” gift.

Many of us have received those gifts. The brie cheese baker received by the person who is lactose-intolerant, the pierced earrings received by someone who has no holes in their head, (no jokes!), the item that is so not right. So we send our thank-yous to the giver (Dear Aunt Ethel, thank you so much for thinking about me at the holidays…) and then…what? The item takes up space, collects dust, makes us feel guilty…

There is a better way. Have a Re-Gift Party! I have a friend who has been doing this for years. (At her request, I am going to call her Sandy.) Below are excerpts from our chat about her Re-gift Party tradition.

So, Sandy, tell me about your Re-gift Party. “It’s simple. really. Near the end of wine and foodJanuary, a group of us have a little evening with some wine and some goodies, and we each bring something that we received, but that we can not use. And then everyone gets a turn to choose something to take home with them.

It started about 10 years ago. A group of friends were over, we were having a little wine – wine seems to help when we are coming up with good ideas – and we all started exchanging stories about the “OMG” gifts we had received. But the funny thing was, the more we talked about the gifts, the more folks said “I’ll trade you my OMG gift for yours”, and it just started from there.”

Okay, so are there any rules for the party? And who gets to choose first? “Well, not rules, exactly. But there are some obvious sorts of guidelines. First, it can’t be something that anyone else at the party has given you. Second, it has to be completely new and unused. You can’t try the shower gel and then bring it! And it can’t be monogrammed, unless someone else has the same initials or name. Other than that, it’s pretty broad as to what you can bring. Everybody must bring at least one item, but you can bring more if you want. The goal is to have someone else make use of it and get the item out of your own home. And you don’t have to take anything home with you if you don’t want to.

As for the order of choosing, we have done lots of things. The first few times, people just negotiated with each other, but that didn’t always work well. So, usually what we do now is everyone draws a number from a hat, and that tells you when you get to pick.”

Do you ever feel guilty? “No. Once someone has given you a gift, it’s yours. And wouldn’t they rather that it actually be used?”

Have you ever had anything that no one wanted? “Yes, a couple of times. But the agreement is that anything “left over” is simply donated to the MCC Thrift store.”

This sounds like a neat idea. Any words of advice to someone who might want to hold their own re-gift party? “Try it. It’s a lot of fun. E-mail the invitations so everyone will know who is going to be there. Remind your guests that it is not about the monetary value of the item. They just need to bring something. And have lots of wine!”

Sounds good to me.

Blog post written by Mary Melnychuk