When I came along there was no word for regifting. The little pile of unwanted gifts in the closet was something you never wanted anyone to know about. When I was young and someone gave us a gift that was truly unsatisfactory, it went in the hall closet on the 2nd shelf down on the left hand side. The blankets were pulled over them. I have no idea why they were covered but perhaps it was to keep the pile secret.
According to the website Regiftable.com, regift is a verb. They quote Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary of English (v 0.9.6) that regifting is giving an “unwanted gift to someone else, to give as a gift something one previously received as a gift.” Apparently the word was first used in 1995 on an episode of Seinfeld.
There were not a lot of gifts in the closet at any one time but over the years a more than a few things sat on that shelf. When a present was called for, and we absolutely knew that the person who gifted us with it would not see it, we picked something from the shelf. I always felt a bit underhanded about it.
Regifting means something different to me now. Two important regifts have been given us. Both moved us to tears.
The first regift was a copy of a scholarly book that I had edited. Some years ago I gave a copy to my then graduate student. She regifted it to me. I was so touched by the gift that I could not read the accompanying card for several days. Yesterday a most surprising regift arrived. A friend from three decades ago sent a granny square throw and a book that been gifts to her from my mom. As she was succumbing to cancer, my mother made hundreds of granny squares. Some she made into throws before she died in 2008. This was one of those. The book still had the card that my mom had put in it when she gave it to our friend. The book had been one of my mom’s favorites, as she said in her note, “picked from her shelf” and given in love. The gifts came to us in love.
Last night I pulled the throw over my lap, cold from the air conditioning vent that was beside me. It is still very hot here. The air is filled with smoke from the wildfires burning in Idaho and Montana and Utah. After two months, it is a hard reminder that our fire has come and gone taking everything with it. Among our new things, we now have a brightly colored throw made by my mom, and made all the more special by regifting from a friend.