It's the thought that counts

Hello all, here’s sunday’s column in case you missed it. Enjoy.


They say when it comes to gifts that it’s the thought that counts. Well, they are idiots. It isn’t really. That’s just something we say to be polite. It’s actually the gift that counts, and everybody knows it.

Since we’ve just come out of the biggest gifting season of the year, I thought it only appropriate to discuss bad gifts.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, of course all gifts are nice to get. But being the youngest of six children I’m no stranger to the dodgy gift. Family members must have cursed the blasted Nick family, no sooner had you finished with one birthday, wedding or baby shower and then the next one was just around the corner. It’s a good thing we’re Jewish, otherwise with 12 nieces and nephews I’d have to re-mortgage my home every Christmas to buy gifts. I honestly don’t know how the rest of you do it.

At a recent family gathering we got to chatting about some of the dodgy gifts we’ve all received over the years. It’s amazing how everyone has a bad gift story to tell. We are in recessionary times after all, and one must make do. For example, when one of my sisters got married some of our cousins clubbed together and gave her and her husband a box of quality street chocolates as a wedding present.

Not to be outdone, an aunt said her daughter got a bar of soap for her engagement party. I’m never sure about soap as a gift. Isn’t it really just an insult or a thinly veiled suggestion wrapped in a bow?

One of my many nephews got a Von Zipper peak cap for his Barmitzvah, which is a wonderful gift. However on closer inspection my sister noticed that it had a label stitched into it that read: ‘SAMPLE – Made in Bangladesh. Not to be sold.’

And even better, another family member got a nightie for her 50th birthday. The tag was still on it and when she went to the shop to return it the sales lady told her they couldn’t take it back because it had been bought on sale for 99c. I didn’t even know sales went that cheap!

Then there’s the bad gift’s uglier second cousin – the re-gift. That’s when you take a gift somebody gave you, which you have no use for, and you pass it along as a gift to someone else who you think might like it. Even better if you manage to salvage the original wrapping paper it came in. Nice work. That’s the true spirit of the re-gift. Although if I can offer a small piece of advice, be sure you check to make sure you’ve removed all forms of greeting card that might have been addressed to you when you were originally given the gift, since that can be a dead giveaway that you’ve re-gifted.

When carefully thought through the re-gift can be a perfectly viable option in the times we’re living in. But the path of the re-gift isn’t always a smooth one.

This Christmas The Grandparents pulled together some Santa Chanukah stockings for the visiting grandchildren, as one does. The oldest of the grandchildren excitedly pulled one of the objects out of his stocking, only to discover a small oblong capsule. It took us all a couple of minutes of fiddling to figure out what it was. The contraption, once opened and pieced together was quite a handy pocket sized corkscrew. In retrospect, perhaps not the most ideal re-gift for a fourteen year old boy.

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5 responses to “It's the thought that counts”

  1. Alwill that’s crazy. do you think it was by mistake, or on purpose to make a point?

    joanna, that’s hilarious. you have to wonder.

  2. love it, as soon as I read the title I was thinking,
    “bullsh*t, its the gift that counts!” and there you go. Can’t bear a bad gift (get them often from a certain in-law) would rather go without. Thankfully this year adults went without but then my baby daughter got a dodgy gift from said in-law! Bwahahahaha. perhaps she just can’t help herself?

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