Thursday, December 23, 2004

Thinking back to the days when I attended Whittier Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey, during the Christmas season my class would annually hold an event called a Pollyanna, and to this day, that is what I call it. However, when I moved to the West Coast In the 1980’s, it appeared that no one had ever heard of a Pollyanna, in my then , new hometown, Salinas, California, it was called a gift exchange or a Secret Santa. Whatever name you use, it usually means useless gifts.

I was the king of useless gifts, no matter how cleverly the event was disguised. No, I was not the one who gave out worthless gifts, I was usually the recipient. Case in point, one year, I went the extra mile and gave away a three bottle box of wine as a gift. I got a slightly used United Airlines travel kit with hair still attached to the plastic comb.
To this day, I strongly believe I invented the recycled gift phenomenon, or what is presently called re-gifting.

Ah, re-gifting, the art of giving away gifts that you absolutely have no use for, like singing ties, Christmas mugs, and the all time useless gift, cha, cha, cha, Chia. (I so look forward to those commercials every year!) Are you aware that there is an art to giving away useless gifts? Assigning this task to an untrained re-gifter is a disaster waiting to happen. Passing off a recycled gift could come back to haunt you, if you don’t plan your strategy carefully. At best, you could end up with the same gift several years down the road; the worst is you give that really bad gift back to the same person who gave you the item creating what I like to call a paradox.

First, you have to make a secret list of useless received gifts, you must keep this a total secret or else a disgruntled family in a moment of anger could squeal on you, at the next family gathering. Make sure the right name is associated with the right gift. This is important; you have to carefully remove all the wrapping paper and avoid accidentally peeling away the colored label or you will be stuck with that useless gift forever. The best way to unload a useless gift is donating them to charity, there is a fair chance you will never see that horrible thing again, unless Aunt Martha asks you whatever happened to that wonderful pink picture frame she gave you.
Wait a minute, if you could just donate it to charity what would make me create that secret list. The truth is that most people never recognize a useless gift until at least a year later, when you find that old box of stuff for Christmas, that you have never used. Once you have created your secret useless gift list, next year you will know where that fruitcake came from, so you don’t make the mistake of giving it back to Aunt Martha! Am I a genius or what?

Never ever, give a recycled gift to a family member as a new gift, because one day when you least expect it someone is going to recognize that was the gift they gave to Uncle Butch last year. Follow those rules of engagement and you can never go wrong!

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and a Happy New Year, to everyone from everyone at We8there Communications.

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