Spring is here! I took a survey within my family to see what was the first thing that came to mind when they heard the word Spring. My daughter and the hub both said flowers. My son said vacation. Yes, his mind went straight to Spring Break. What comes to my mind? Re-gifting.
Long ago there was a commercial on TV that advertised a body soap called Irish Spring. The commercial featured a guy taking a shower outside amidst flowers and greenery. He takes a big whiff of the green bar of soap and proclaims (in an Irish accent) that he feels as fresh as an Irish Spring. Whether he meant a running body of water or one of the four seasons, I’m not sure but thinking about the bar of soap takes me back to when I was in 5th grade. I wanted to give my dad something for Christmas but I didn’t have money or time to shop for him. Instead, I went “shopping” in the house for something that I knew he’d like. Under his bathroom sink were about 10 boxes of Irish Spring (back in the day Costco was called The Price Club). I wrapped three of the bars of soap in Christmas wrapping paper and gave them to my dad. He was so happy when he opened the gift because that was the exact brand he liked and used. I felt great. It wasn’t until my mom was putting them away, that they discovered that the three bars came from his own stock. Busted. You could say that was my first experience of re-gifting although technically, the bars of soap weren’t mine to re-gift.
Yada, yada, yada...one re-gift story leads to another. In this next one, my intention was good but my execution was a mess! I had just gotten a new assistant who coincidentally was getting married to a very good friend of mine from high school. She was the cutest thing and a real go-getter who was very motivated. I wanted to make a good impression so I took her out to lunch and gave her a “welcome” gift - which you may have guessed was a re-gift. When she opened up the gift completely we both saw the gift tag that I had forgotten all about because it was shoved deep inside the box from when I first received it. Busted. I’m sure it took all of her effort to take me seriously after that as I tried to give her info about our department and tell her how she could move up the ladder quickly if she stuck with me.
And it would be very remiss of me not to pass along this next re-gifting story because it’s about assumptions and it proves the theory that I was indeed an ass. We have all received baby gifts (or just gifts in general) from loved ones that, for some reason or another, we would never use. Being a hoarder in my past life, I would hold onto these gifts and use for re-gifting. One evening, we were invited as a family for dinner at a university football coach’s house. The only info my hub gave me was that it was their first baby and they just moved from out of state. Not having much time and/or I wanted to get rid of some of the baby stuff that I was hoarding, I used really nice packaging to wrap up an awful clothing ensemble and a cheesy toy. The assumption was that they would be thrilled with the ugly outfit because it was their first born and they probably needed more than they had. Assumption number two - since I knew it was their first baby, I was thinking wardrobe presentation would not be top of the new mom’s priority list so I didn’t really dress up or put on a bunch of make up for the occasion. When the Garmin GPS device ended it’s route, we were parked in front of a huge, very swanky house in an upscale neighborhood. I asked my hub how a college coach could afford this house and location? Oh, he forget to tell me that this coach was previously an NFL coach and he’s loaded. Crap, minor details. We walked into a gorgeous house to meet the gorgeous new mom who told me that the reason the house was already completely unpacked and organized was because they hired people to do it all and it was also good that the au pair from Germany was there to help with the baby. BTW, this was their first baby together however, she had another daughter from a previous marriage. I wanted to nonchalantly throw my gifts in the garbage when she wasn’t looking. We also brought a bottle of wine that was only 1.5 steps up from Two Buck Chuck - because again, I assumed that this would be an upgrade for a coach who was just starting out. FYI - they had a wine cellar. The story ends with me writing a note to the gorgeous mom of two asking her to disregard all the gifts and later, I dropped off something more appropriate. I’m so grateful that she is an awesome person with the best sense of humor. We still keep in touch.
So in a “If You Give a Mouse Cookie” kind of way that’s why Spring makes me think of re-gifting. I have learned and evolved because of the many embarrassing re-gifting fiascos and I think those incidents have shaped me into being a better giver. Which leads me to a company that I have been pumped about because it makes re-gifting cool and super thoughtful. The Giving Keys. Last year, I attended a luncheon and as gifts, we were given lovely bracelets that had real keys for charms made by this company. Each key charm had a different word imprinted on it. The caveat was that we were NOT supposed to keep these bracelets. Instead, we were to read the word on the key and if we knew someone who reminded us of the word or we felt like someone needed a lift or something needed to be celebrated etc, we were supposed to pass the bracelet along to someone who needed it more. Re-gifting at it’s finest. The company started in 2008 with a celebrity who encountered a young couple living inside a dumpster. The celebrity, who had already been making the key jewelry, hired the couple to help her since orders were more than she could handle. The couple was able to get out of poverty and lead better lives. The business model of the company continues to employ the homeless in hopes to help them transition out of poverty too. I thought this concept was thoughtful on so many levels. My plan is to buy some of these keys so that I can give them out as pinches and hope that people re-gift them. The word on the key that I received at that luncheon was INSPIRE. I know the intention of the key was to be passed on to more than one other person but when my cousin Pia passed away last April, I slipped it on her wrist before they buried her. I wanted her to know that she inspired me and I didn’t think anyone would mind if she kept it.