As followers of this blog would know, I’m not a very gracious recipient of gifts — from good close friends, anyway.
If I don’t have a particular use for a gift, I’m honest enough to say “no thanks”, rather than accept it and then give it away.
Still, despite such honesty, I’m occasionally stuck with gifts I’ve no use for — because I didn’t want to hurt the giver’s feelings or was afraid the person would be so offended, I won’t be given another present in future.
Also, when I accept an unwanted gifit, I probably would have someone in mind to whom I could palm off the unwanted gift; sometimes, honestly “hey, this is the 10th desk calendar I’ve been given; you want?”.
And sometimes, I recycle the gift, provided it’s in good condition and I know the recipient would appreciate it, with nary of word that it didn’t come from me.
Very occasionally, I recycle out of desperation, during festive occasions like now. Because when someone unexpectedly turns up at my home bearing gift/s and I’ve got nothing to give in return!
In the old days, a hongbao would have sufficed but nowadays, a hongbao in return for a gift is considered the absolute snub when the giver is one’s peer and friend.
That’s when an unwanted gift –such as a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon languishing in the store room, as I don’t drink reds as a rule — can come in useful.
Because I recycle gifts only as a last resort, I was entirely surprised by a gift that I received just be4 Chinese New Year.
A neighbour turned up at my home bearing a beautiful be-ribboned bag while I was having breakfast. Then neighbour left, muttering about having to go overseas.
I felt somewhat bad to be at the receiving end as we are not more than acquaintances, so quickly grabbing some mandarin oranges and two packs of Marks and Sparks bikkies from my own cache, I rushed to said neighbour’s home and handed over my contribution to neighbour’s family.
It wasn’t only till later thatg day, going over the various gifts that had arrived, that I found my neighbour had presented me with two mandarins, one of which was very mouldy; a tightly packed jar of dry scallops most of which had turned black and mouldy; and a jar of cookies which looked perfectly OK from the outside of the plastic bottle — but because of the other two items, I was wary.
You guess right where everything went.
But I’m still scratching my head over why I was given such strange items packaged so decently. Why give at all when obviously the gifts weren’t in good condition? Or did the giver not notice at all and so desperate to get rid of stuff be4 going on holiday?
That has to remain a mystery as I will certainly not be confronting such a wacky neighbour any time soon!