The true spirit of giving comes with a gift that is thoughtful, appropriate or somehow meaningful. The commercialism of society has pulled us away from the true meaning of gift giving and moved us into an “entitlement” mode of giving. We are all now on both the giving and the receiving end of gifts that are given out of expectation.
If your office culture dictates a “secret Santa” or some other form of gift exchange, you will most likely be out there at the mall seeking some mass market bunch of gifts appropriate to all the co-workers on your list. If you are invited to several holiday parties at the homes of friends, acquaintances or the guy across the street, you will likely be toting a bottle of wine or some sort of holiday bric-a-brac under your arm when you pass through their front door. If the ladies at the book club or the guys at the bowling league have a long standing tradition of gift exchanges, you too will participate this year.
These “gifts” are tokens of the season. They are the price of admission to the holiday festivities, if you will. They are not “gifts” in the deepest sense of the word. And so, since they are the game pieces of the holiday, it is perfectly acceptable to shuffle these items on down the line.
There is nothing wrong with taking the bottle of champagne you received from a co-worker in the office grab bag and handing it off to your neighbor down the street when you arrive at his house for the day after Christmas party he hosts every year. If you receive a box of chocolate covered cherries in appreciation for all your hard work at the charity group you belong to, there is nothing wrong with re-wrapping those chocolates and giving them to Aunt Matilda, the family chocoholic, at the family holiday meal.
A gift is a sign of appreciation and recognition. The fact that you think enough of someone to give them a gift at all should speak volumes.
A gift is not a gift because you spend $X.xx dollars in its purchase. Some of the best gifts do not come with a price tag at all. Any time you single out a person as a recipient of your generosity, it is an indication that you hold that person at some level of esteem. The truly deep, meaningful gifts in our lives can only be exchanged on a limited basis. Spouses, children, parents, best friends, lovers may all be entitled to a gift from the heart.
Beyond that relatively small circle, the holiday celebration game in society requires a certain amount of token gifts to be exchanged. There is absolutely nothing wrong with regifting and keeping up your part in the overall festivities.