The Awkward Gift-Giving Situation I'm Not Sure How To Handle


I think I speak for most women when I say I love to get presents. Birthdays, anniversaries, St. Swithin's Day -- all occasions that demand presents, in my opinion. I love getting presents so much that I devised a plan to rotate among different religions throughout the year in order to increase my gift-getting opportunities. (And in the process I learned that three separate holidays intersect on February 2--the Druid Imbolc, the Christian Candlemas and the secular Ground Hog Day. Store that little nugget away for your next trivia night.)

It's important to note that I am the ideal gift recipient. I don't require expensive purchases and I am extremely easy to please. From aardvark-shaped candles to dry erase markers, I think everything is a treat. Once I even graciously accepted a pair of black XXL pantyhose from a student -- and gave growing into them a real shot when another student gave me a gift card to Ben & Jerry's.

But recently I have run up against a gift-getting situation that I'm not sure how to handle. On three separate occasions, from three separate and unrelated people, I have received various anti-wrinkle potions formulated for "aging skin." I'm not talking about fancy body lotion sets that are more cosmetic than therapeutic; I'm talking about down-and-dirty, pull-no-punches wrinkle cream for industrial strength Shar-Pei faces. And each person that "gifted" me implied pretty much the same thing, saying, "I saw this and thought of you" or "I wanted to get you something you could really use." Seriously? Did no one but me get the memo that 70 is the new 20?

I can't decide whether to be grateful or insulted. On the one (wrinkled) hand, these are expensive products, ones I really did want to try sometime, but on the other (liver-spotted) hand, shouldn't I be the one to determine that the time has come? I was silently contemplating this very question when my husband walked in the room.

"Hey, what are you doing just sitting around?" he asked. "Lesser Quinquatrus starts tomorrow, doesn't it? I figured you'd have the whole house decorated by now."

He was right. It was the eve of Lesser Quinquatrus, the ancient Roman holiday celebrating flute players, but I wasn't feeling particularly festive. "I've decided to cut back on holidays for a while," I said with a shrug.

"But what about your big plan to increase your gift-getting opportunities?" he asked, somewhat shocked.

"I'm putting that on hold for now," I replied. "Let's just say it developed a wrinkle or two I hadn't foreseen and leave it at that."

You know what, folks, here's a little tip -- next St. Swinthin's Day, just say it with cash!

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