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'Tis the Season for Regifting

The ethics of regifting is always a hot discussion at Christmastime and the weeks that follow various office parties and family exchanges. Apparently, there are those who insist that regifting is a tawdry practice, and there are those who have practiced it for years and see no harm. For those who might not be familiar with the concept, Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary offers a helpful definition: To regift is “to give an unwanted gift to someone else” or “to give as a gift something one previously received as a gift.”

In any case, two out of three people say they have either regifted or are considering regifting. And while there are no doubt many successful regifters among us, there are also unfortunate stories to show for the less successful, which make the discussion entertaining. Imagine opening the very gift you had given your mother-in-law a year earlier.

So when a colleague of mine referred to Christmas as the “season of regifting,” I was certain he had been the victim of too many unfortunate gift exchanges. Except he wasn’t talking about unwanted scarves or random gift-cards. He was talking about the mysterious gift that is resurrected each Christmas and presented again as if new. Year after year, we reopen the story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the magi, and the star. “God is a regifter,” he said. The child is the gift.


Jill Carattini, “Mathoms and Myrrh,” RZIM.org: A Slice of Infinity (1-06-17)

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