Let’s have a bad gift exchange
Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:06 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
It’s time for a party! Christmas has gone and 2012 is not yet here. So what kind of party could we possibly have in late December? Hmm. I’ve got it! We could have the first annual “Bad Gift Exchange” party. So gather any gifts you received for Christmas that don’t quite work with your lifestyle and bring them to a party to be inflicted, I mean, shared with unsuspecting friends and neighbors.
For example, let’s say you’re a fairly sensible person. As a sensible person, you realize that your dog, Fido, doesn’t want to wear a red and green hand-knit sweater with a glitter snowflake appliquéd on it. He doesn’t NEED to wear a red and green hand-knit sweater with a glitter snowflake appliquéd on it. Fido has fur. He isn’t trying to land a movie role. He doesn’t need clothing or jewelry or a doggy biscuit shaped like an angel. But your crazy Aunt Mae, uh, I mean, your eccentric and adorable Aunt Mae who moved to Vegas in the ’70s sent Fido a precious Christmas sweater. Yes, it was a sweet gesture. Welcome to my party. It’s time to unload that sweater on a more gullible pet owner.
Then there’s always that relative who gives odd culinary gifts. Canned armadillo. Alligator jerky. Jelly they bought on vacation because it’s green and it’s made from a wildflower found only in northern Arizona. Habanera hot sauce that has to be stored in a nuclear-safe steel container. Pancake mix made from ground-up cactus root. If you have a relative who loves to give odd food, I think it’s time for you to put on your party clothes, friend. You definitely need to come to the gift exchange. I might be able to find a big box of Bisquick that will make your heart sing.
Another common gift mistake? It’s what I like to call the gift with an unspoken motive. Here are some examples: The 2011 Biggest Loser cookbook for chubby Cousin Carla. The latest work-out video for lazy Aunt Louise. A case of Nicorette for Uncle Charlie. An anger management book for Grandpa Jim. A self-esteem book for Sister Susie because she tends to choose bad boyfriends.
May I have a word with all you “motivational” gift givers? We all get what you’re doing. Perhaps your motives are honorable. You want Carla to lose weight and Uncle Charlie to quit smoking. You’re tired of running criminal background checks on Susie’s boyfriends and picking up the emotional pieces when the relationship goes south. I get that. I have compassion on you, Type A friend. But today in this column I’m going to do you a big favor. A favor that will change your life for the better. I’m going to tell you the truth. People don’t like you much. Ouch! The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Give the people on your list something they really want or something they will use. Trust me. Your own healthy lifestyle and a heart of compassion toward others will preach a far better sermon than a “motivational” gift ever could.
Bad gifts aren’t really bad. They can be quite entertaining. So let’s have a little compassion, yes? If Uncle Billy gave you a big ol’ can of armadillo this year, just smile and be gracious. You’re invited to the party, friend.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.28.11
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View