It’s all about the giving and not receiving, right? Unfortunately, some people missed the message and transform what should be a fun and caring activity until one of dread, disappointment, and even hostility. I’ll start this post with a story. Let me know in the comment section below if you can relate.
Several years ago, the place where I was employed used to have a Christmas “party.” At this point, I feel that I need to stop and make my first group of disclaimers. First, the reason it was called a Christmas party was because all the workers in the building only celebrated Christmas (a.k.a., no Hannukah, Kwanzaa, etc.), which says something about the diversity of the workplace. No one objected to Christian activities that occurred at this event. If an employee did, indeed, celebrate another holiday or tradition during this time of year, they never discussed or acknowledged it with the majority of the other staff.
Second, when many people think of a holiday work party, many assume an afterhours event that employees bring a spouse or significant other. It would be a time for employees to let their hair down and socialize with dancing, catered food, adult beverages, and party clothes. However, that was not the type of party this was. The “party” that I’m referring to was really nothing more than an hour-long potluck lunch during most employees’ usual lunch break. There were few decorations, no music, and no adult beverages. The party began with everyone gathering for a group prayer over the meal, preparing their plate buffet-style, and then finding a place to eat in the small lunch area, conference room, or their office. During this time, the phones continued to have to be answered and business conducted. Thus, calling it a “party” is really an injustice.
When I first transferred to the building, which was comprised of multiple departments, the Christmas party also included playing Dirty Santa. I had no idea how this game was played and have later learned that there are many names and variation of rules. In a nutshell, the rules were that each employee would purchase a gift with a maximum value of $15.00 (later raised to $25.00). All gifts would be wrapped with no nametag and placed in a pile on a table. Each employee would select a number from a bowl to determine the order of which they would be allowed to pick a present. They would then unwrap the present for everyone to see. The players following had the option to either select a gift from the pile or “steal” (a.k.a., take) a gift that had previously been opened. The same gift could only be “stolen” twice before it was retired. Sounds fun, right? Well, it was—kinda—until Scrooge hit the scene.
Some of the problems were as followed. First, the departments had far more women employees than men employees. Many gifts purchased were gender-specific gifts, meaning usually male staff ended up with a gift they didn’t want or couldn’t use. Second, some employees were too lazy to put effort into purchasing an actual gift. They elected to purchase gift cards, and the game result in being a gift card exchange ceremony. Maybe it would have been slightly exciting if the gift cards had been from a variety of stores, but most were from Walmart. Those who were even too lazy to buy a gift card just put money in an envelope. And while I understand that many people appreciate cash as a gift, what is the point of playing a gift-giving game if it’s just swapping the same amount of cash? Is four fives better than two tens or one twenty? But the worst offense was that people complained about the gifts they selected as being cheap. (Remember, there was a maximum limit set.) They would argue that they had spent the full $15.00, and they only got a $10.00. One worker complained that she knew her Bath & Body Works shower gel, lotion, and body spray would have been worth $25.00 if sold at regular price but had been on sale but only $9.00 plus tax had been spent. They felt shorted because the gift purchaser hadn’t come out of pocket for the maximum amount. Yet, other contested the actual value of the gift that had been purchased, which resulted in hurt feelings from gift buyers. Needless to say, employees slowly began opting out of participating. Others resorted to leaving the price tags on the gifts to prove the value of the gift. This led to complaints of “tackiness.”
When I began writing this article, I couldn’t refrain from contacting a close friend who for many years has suffered from extreme holiday anxiety. At first, it may sound trivial, but anything that leaves a person close to your heart in tears and pacing the floor endlessly is not something that is easily overlooked. Her complaint is finding appropriate gifts for family members. Now, many people encounter this problem, and surely it isn’t something that leads to a trip to a therapist. However, her situation goes beyond this. Like many other people, she has a tight budget for purchasing gifts. To avoid too much holiday debt, she makes purchases throughout the year and sets them aside when she comes across a good deal. And when Black Friday approaches, she hits the sales for the best bargain. She legitimately spends hours considering and planning what to purchase for each person on her list to try in earnest to buy the perfect gift at a price she can afford. Only to, too often, find that her time and effort is met without appreciation.
To make matters worse, she purchases gifts for each person and is given a family gift in return. For example, she purchases individual gifts for her brother, his wife, and all five of their children, making a total of seven gifts. If she spends $20.00 per gift per person, that nearly $150.00 with tax. This can get expensive, especially when she has four brothers, four sisters-in-laws, and seventeen nephew and nieces. In return, she receives one gift from her brother in her family with a value of possible $10.00. Now, the value of her gift has never been a huge concern for her, and she isn’t concerned with quid pro quo. However, what has bothered her greatly is that gifts from her family feels like an afterthought. For example, several years ago, she was gifted stationary. Anyone who knows her is aware that she has not used stationary since high school over twenty years ago. Yet, stationary in and of itself on the surface does not seem like a terrible gift. However, had any of her family ever listened to her, they would have heard her express on multiple occasions of how she desperately was attempting to find ways to use up the stack of stationary she still had in order for it not to go to waste. In fact, she had inquired about places where she could donate it. The stationary they gifted her has yet to be used.
Okay, maybe you’re thinking that the stationary was an unfortunate misfire and that her family members got their wires crossed. The print on the stationary was completely not her aesthetic. Again, anyone who knows her would have recognized that she would dislike the print. It’s the last that indicates that no one considered her as a person when selecting a gift, and she felt like it was purchased out of “obligation.” According to my friend, she indicated that she would rather have been given nothing at all than given something meaningless that would do nothing but collect dust.
Now, what does any of that have to do with today’s topic? In a word: re-gifting and making those not-so-great gifts to you work for others. What? Re-gifting is tacky? Hold before tapping out and hear me out.
Over the years, my friend compiled a stack of gifts that she couldn’t or wouldn’t use. In her closet, she had a box where she would stack these gifts. At first, she would attempt to regift them to coworkers, but her coworkers didn’t want them, either. So, she decided to get creative and regift in a different form.
- Never regift a gift the same year it is received. In the case of my friend, she’d label who it was from and when she received it. This would ensure that it would not be given to the original gift giver, and if by the off chance the original gift giver saw it being opened by another, they likely would not have remembered gifting it the first time. (Many of the gifts were pretty forgettable.)
- Packaging is everything. When possible, remove the gift from the original packaging and re-box with fancy wrapping. This is when the dollar store can be your friend. Grab some inexpensive bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper and head over to YouTube for a gift-wrapping tutorial. Create an exterior packaging that looks like it could be on a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. The receiver will be so blown away by the wrapping, the contents will be a less disappointing.
- Repurpose the item. My friend with the stationary issue used it to make origami. (She checked out an origami book from the local library.) She then purchased inexpensive frames and matting from the craft store and created tasteful wall décor, which she gifted. Another friend who had been gifted holiday kitchen towels used them to make throw pillows.
- Create the illusion of expense. Nearly everyone has someone on their Christmas list that erroneously associates cost with quality. Just because something is inexpensive does not mean that it is poor quality. For those who fail to grasp this concept, there is a solution—give gifts that cannot be easily priced in confusing packaging. An associate told me the following story. She is a makeup enthusiast and often receives free samples with purchases. Some of these samples were small vials of expensive perfumes such as Tom Ford and Dior. For years, she’d disregarded them in an old jewelry box. On a whim, she decorated the jewelry box with deconstructed white craft pearls, shells, and stones as a container for the scents. She found a dollar store plastic tray that she covered with a piece of velvet fabric she had lying around to create an insert to hold the vials. Here is where it becomes interesting. Proud of her project, she decided to share a photo on Instagram. Of course, on The Gram people like to have glam shots. With no mal intentions, she prepared a small display. When she took the photo, however, she ended up unintentionally snapping a portion of a giftbag from an upscaled department store that was sitting nearby. She hadn’t noticed the giftbag in the background when she uploaded. She posted the photo without a caption. Some people assumed that she had purchased the box as a sampler from the upscale store. One of those people was a snooty relative who without fail snuffed any gift that she perceived to be less than $100.00. She assumed the DIY projection was some mega expensive, limited-edition designer perfume set. Well, guess what she got gifted that year?
- This is a gift that can go a long way and bring a great many smiles without a huge cost. Break out those recipe books or search the internet for some homemade holiday yummies. Many people go for the traditional sugar cookies, gingerbread, or fruitcake. While these are more than acceptable, if giving as a gift, one may want to be more creative or step their game up a notch. This may mean searching for recipes that aren’t readily available in stores or almost exclusively found in bakeries (e.g., Pfeffernüsse or peppernut cookies, macarons, gingerbread fudge, Millionaire shortbread, or red velvet cheesecake bites). This can easily turn into a family activity and a fun way to spend an afternoon. Tins in all shapes, sizes, and designs are sold in multiple types of stores, or even go all out and gift in a ceramic cookie jar.
So, there are five last-minute holiday ideas that can brighten the day for anyone and/or relieve some stress of decorating or gift-giving. No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, have a very merry and safe time.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these points? Did you find any of this information helpful? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.
Penalty Kill, book #4 in the Locker Room Love sports romance series is now available for purchase. Grab your copy at Amazon or at https://books2read.com/penaltykill for more options. Continue reading for the blurb and more information.
When the scandal of a double homicide threatens to destroy his career, this billionaire hockey player hires an ambitious sports agent to improve his public image. It’s time to let the puckery begin.
Timothée Croneau is that jock—the bad boy superstar with the naughty reputation. He’s handsome, arrogant, and a billionaire. He’s also the number one person-of-interest in a double homicide and recently traded to a losing team who is showing him no love. And wouldn’t it be just his luck that his career splashed in the toilet six months after his long-time agent kicked the bucket? Now, he’s stuck with Ryker Kitsch. An agent is supposed to fix his life, though, not break his heart.
Speaking of breaks, ex-athlete Ryker Kitsch wants his in the sports agency realm. He sees his chance to make a name for himself by helping rebrand his agency’s newly acquired hockey star, Timothée Croneau. The guy needs every lick of positive PR he can get. So, why is the devilishly gorgeous forward fighting him at every step and leaving Ryker to wonder if he’s been hired for a babysitting gig?
The mess Timothée is stirring was never in any contract Ryker was hired to handle. One thing’s for sure. Whether it’s a forecheck or backcheck, collision is inevitable.
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For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.
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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.