I think today is the biggest day for people to return gifts to the store. I went to WalMart for groceries (and to get my nails done along with Sissy for her birthday) and it was busier than I'd seen before Christmas.
Which brings me to the idea of re-gifting. Re-gifting has a bad reputation, the idea of pawning off some unwanted or cheesy gift on another poor soul. But I have a different take on it. In this age where we have an abundance of STUFF, so much so that we can't park in our garages and we have to rent storage units to contain all of it, it seems to me that we could easily share some of this stuff with other people. After all, if it's crammed into our garage or stuck in a storage unit, how much good is it doing us anyway?
But beyond that, some of the best gifts I've ever received have been re-gifts. The first one is the quilt that covers my legs this very moment. I remember my mom making it for my grandparents. It's a queen-size lone star pattern, hand quilted. It took my mom forever to make, back when she was in her quilting phase. I think this was in the early 80s. My grandmother gave me the quilt, along with a typed history of it, when I got married. It was the wedding gift that meant the most to me--and frankly, probably the only one I still have.
Fast forward ten years to another re-gifting event. I led a team of writers at Saddleback Church who turned the sermons into weekly small group Bible studies. For whatever reason, our group had really gelled and we'd become good friends. One Saturday night before Christmas Dana surprised all of us with gifts. Each was an item she'd had around her house that made her think of each one of us. She spent quite a bit of time thinking about the gifts and each one fit us perfectly. A collectible small car for the one guy on our team, who happened to love cars. A historical Disney postage stamp in a case for Peg, our writer who has had a long history with Disney. And a whole set of voice and music tutorials for me, because, as Dana said through tears, I was trying so hard to make my dreams come true.
An amazing set of gifts that only cost some time, but brought more joy than anything store bought could have.
So maybe next year, or throughout this year, think of "redistributing the wealth" in a slightly different way. Who could be blessed by something that's taking up space in your house?