My Facebook feed has become populated with people who were gifted. And I don’t mean like they can do long division in their heads or could play Chopin in kindergarten (these two feats carry equal weight in my world). One person gushed about how she was gifted a beautiful peace lily. Nice. One woman had been gifted some homemade preserves. I like preserves. One woman was gifted a repurposed…you know what? It doesn’t matter a repurposed what. The fact “gifted” and “repurposed” were used in the same sentence by someone not demonstrating cheap summer crafts with bendy straws on the Today show was enough to make me remove her from my cocktail party list. (NOTE: My cocktail party list is totally fictional. Having a cocktail party would involve people. And cleaning the 472 cases of sparkling water and Dr. Pepper out of the dining room.)
When one gifts rather than gives, one makes it all about the giver. The recipient is just an innocent bystander forced to accept a vintage crying clown rendered in porcelain because it was fabulously kitschy. Had the recipient been given the sad clown, she might have thought, “Wow. My friend saw this and thought of me. She must have remembered the conversation we had about my Aunt Mitty-June who collected porcelain clowns and how as a child I was simultaneously fascinated and petrified by them.” When the same friend is gifted, the conversation is more like the giver thinking, “I remember a story of something about clowns scaring the crap out of her. I’ll give her this Pagliacci figurine to show her I’m both cultured and an active listener. Plus no one else will be in on the joke so I’ll get to tell the whole story at the party.” Ninety-five percent of all items bought to be gifted are bought at Anthropologie. True fact.
Gifting is selfish. Gifting is done by people who spend too much time on Pinterest and believe every occasion must be marked by giving out personalized cupcakes and renting a photo booth. If you’re being gifted, I can just about guarantee it’s by someone who doesn’t know how to change a tire. I have a firm policy of not making friends with anyone who can’t change a tire. It’s like trusting someone who has no tools. HOW CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH THAT PERSON? Who doesn’t need a screwdriver? Gifting is trendy. Gifting is the friend who wears a seersucker shorts suit and gold platform wedges. Giving is your friend who would smack you upside the head because a grown-ass, 45-year-old woman should know better.
It might be better to give than to receive. It certainly is if you’re on the receiving end of a set of placemats repurposed from your friend’s children’s juice box straws.