While our little half-acre of the internet is called The Free Financial Advisor, sometimes I think people go overboard on the “free” part.
Re-gifting isn’t something I frown on. Two weeks ago we received a bottle of chocolate wine. If I could find a friend who I thought loved that sort of thing, I’d re-gift that baby in a heartbeat. They’d be happy in their alcohol and chocolate stupor, and I’d get that little slice of counter space back. Win-win.
In some ways, I agree wholeheartedly with Greg at Control Your Cash. Giving “stuff” at the holidays is silly, and the older I get, the sillier it seems. Creative re-gifting to “fit in” this holiday season could help some budget-tight families make it through this period without falling into debt. But re-gifting just to unload used stuff to someone who clearly isn’t in the market for an item is ridiculous.
Regift away, but make it thoughtful, people.
In early November we shared OG’s Halloween experience on the podcast and on Facebook. It seems that someone, unhappy with their choice of candy gifts during an earlier holiday, gave OG’s son this little beauty for Halloween.
Not only does OG NOT have a girl….it also isn’t Valentine’s Day, and hasn’t been for about roughly eight months. Luckily, Fun Dip will survive a nuclear winter, so what’s a half-year to a bag of sugar?
Let’s continue the fun. What are your worst gifts ever….re-gifted or not?
My 3 Worst Gifts
Cheryl’s sister used to brag about their income level (“Lou makes so much money….but how can you live on $400k per year?”). She’s gotten better recently, but that doesn’t stop us from chuckling about it every six or seven seconds. A few years ago, during the height of her “monetary influx discourse,” she gifted me a book about the Enron fiasco, something that she thought I’d love as a money geek. She was right on the money, and I told her. She said, “Yeah, when Lou (husband’s name changed to protect the guilty) read the book, he thought you’d really like it.” As I flipped through it, pages was dog eared and some food stains marked several pages. That’s when I realized that Lou hadn’t liked “that title.” He’d liked “that actual copy of the book and now that he’s read it, we’re gifting it to you for the holidays….because how many books can you buy on $400k?” Don’t get me wrong: this is #3 NOT because it’s a used book, but because it was a used book passed off as a new one by someone who brags about how much income they make.
The second culprit wasn’t gifted to me exactly, but to Cheryl. While I’m a Catholic boy, my wife is from a Jewish family. That makes Christmas travel easy: I win. That also means her family gets Thanksgiving every year. No family battles for the Saul-Sehys. Initially it made for some funny moments when my well-meaning mom tried to do the right thing. One year, early in our marriage, she decided–in an effort to show no favoritism–to give both sister-in-laws the exact same gift. Christmas morning, after the stocking were emptied and we’d moved on to the gifts, she laid huge boxes out in front of Cheryl and my sister-in-law (a different one than above), with instructions to open them at the same time. I feel bad remembering this, because she was clearly excited as they opened the boxes.
In front of both women was a beautiful hand-made ceramic Nativity scene.
Cheryl stared at it. Nothing says “welcome to our Christian family” to a Jewish girl like a Nativity scene.
The room was super-duper quiet. Finally my dad, sitting in the corner, said, “I told you it was a bad idea.”
We laughed about that one out loud then, and for years after. I still feel bad for my mom, but she’s given us so much over the years, you knew she wasn’t going to be right on every call. God knows I haven’t.
This one is truly bizarre. Some gifts were mixed up at our wedding as they were transported back to my apartment. The next day we worked through them all. For the most part, they were easy to figure out. Only Uncle Stan would have gotten us those German beer steins. At the bottom of the pile, after all the gifts had been assigned, was a beautiful crystal (wait for it…….): frog.
It’s a nice enough frog, but the gift raises a few questions. Who the hell looks at me and says, “You know what would be perfect for Joe? Two words: Crystal. Frog.” I have difficulty imagining someone walking through a department store, searching for that special wedding gift, thinking, “Hmm….salad chopper. No. Pillows. No. Knife set. Nah. Oh, check this out. A crystal frog! Perfect.”
The Funnest Part
Honestly, today’s post was less about me sharing, as it was me being curious about what you’ve received. I can’t wait to check out the comments to hear some amazing “worst gift” stories. Step it up below:
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