Some years back, I was at my elderly aunt’s house and offered to retrieve something for her in one of the back bedrooms. As I scanned the room, I noticed a raft of items in her open closet. I recognized a few of them as past Christmas gifts I and other family members had given her.
“What are all those gifts in the closet?” I asked her. “Didn’t you want them?”
She looked at me apologetically. “Oh I did; I just didn’t have anyplace to put them.”
I wasn’t buying it. “C’mon. Fess up. If you didn’t want them, we could have exchanged it for something else.”
She looked shocked. “You can’t do that,” she advised. “They’re presents.”
And so I found out that my aunt had a special place for her unwanted presents–never to be used but also never to be discarded. (I managed to get a few things re-gifted to me, though, with a little persuasion. 😉 )
I don’t need a Christmas closet because, with very few exceptions, I’ve always used my Christmas gifts. There were years when I had so many pairs of socks and nightgowns that I didn’t have any room for them in my dresser–but I wore `em out. Maybe this is a testament to the gift-selection abilities of my loved ones, or maybe it’s a testament to how low my standards are in the gift-accepting department. At any rate, there have never been any Christmas gifts getting dusty in my closet.
Gift selection isn’t easy. Even if you know someone really well, you may not score with your gift choice. My father is particularly hard to shop for. Now a perky, independent 93, he’s owned just about everything and what he hasn’t owned he knows by now he doesn’t want. Fortunately for his family, he’s a voracious reader and a proud owner of an iPad. You can never get a e-book worm too many books.
I fear the Christmas closet. I don’t want my gifts to end up there. I spend a lot of time trying to find the right gift, dammit, and I’d rather exchange the gift for a more useful one than have it languish in some Christmas gulag.
This past Christmas, I was somewhat fretting over what to get my little great-nieces, ranging in age from 5 to 1. Between them they have enough clothes and toys to set up their own store, as most loved children do. I happened to find these sweet little furry toys called Warm Buddies, which include a warming pack you can heat up in the microwave. How nice, I thought, for a child to cuddle with a warm furry critter on a winter’s night.
Appears this gift was a score. My nieces were kind enough to tell me that my gifts were a hit, and today this photo appeared on my Facebook page.
Makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?