You’ll not hear me argue in favor of banning weddings any time soon. I love bistro lights and I love salmon entrées. I love the Hora and bags of nuts I can take home. I love to celebrate it when my friends and family make big, serious commitments, and I love to party in a field under a tent. House red or house white, miss, you ask? Wine not both?
I’m not made of money, though, and weddings are expensive. I spent so much money enjoying the crap out of weddings this summer and fall that I’ve started buying generic dog food—much to my and my dog’s digestive horror. I’ve got a drawer full of “M+J 4ever” sunglasses and “To have and to hold and keep your beer cold” koozies, but I eat toast for dinner a lot. So, this year, I’m hoping to receive gifts that I can regift. No offense! It’s just that, to remain solvent, I’m going to need to take credit for buying gifts I didn’t.
There’s an art to the gift that can be regifted. It must be generic enough that the (second) giver could regive it to pretty much anyone, but not so plain that it’s clearly been regifted. Wine, for example, won’t do. Neither will food. It cannot be hand-made and cannot really have any sentimental value. It also cannot be something that the receiver clearly needs; it must be the type of item it is alright to have more than one of. It should fit in any home of any size, with any decor scheme, and in any climate. It should travel well, so plants are out. You should be able to mail it without breaking it or getting you arrested. It should make no assumptions about the style of the receiver, without calling her plain.
If you can imagine giving a gift to your boss or your best friend from college without having to do a lot of explanation to either, you’ve nailed it. Giving a gift that can be regifted is the greatest gift of all. It says “I love/like/know you from work, and I know how little you have for discretionary spending this year” without saying anything at all. Here are some ideas.
Oh brother, this soap! Having this $39 grocery item in your bathroom is the fastest way to signal to a guest that you are rich. Having this in your kitchen is the fastest way to signal that you are so fucking rich you don’t even have a clear concept of how rich you are. Give someone—anyone, and anyone she knows—the gift of pretending to be either of these kinds of rich by giving them this soap.
Baggu is one of those brands that doesn’t really say much about the owner because a Baggu belonging isn’t exactly a status item, but it isn’t exactly not. A leather pouch can hold pretty much anything and pretty much anyone can easily imagine what they’d put in one of these. Caveat: this is probably a bad choice if you have a lot of people in your outer gift-giving circle who are vegans.
Remember what I said about wine earlier? That applies to candles most years, but this year, candles are having a sort of moment; all the women who belong to the Wing have them, but so do moms who live near a Yankee Candle; many people take and then talk about baths, it seems; there is wellness. This particular candle smells terrific and has a cheesy name, so will elicit a lighthearted “lmao” from your very judgmental friend who works a website and an “oh, how nice” from your neighbor who dog-sat for you while you were at one of these weddings whom you’ve been meaning to thank, but about whom you know very little.
Aw, how did you know her apartment/office/house sometimes gets chilly?
Although jewelry is ordinarily terrible for regifting because it is either too fancy or too...purchased at, like, a craft fair in Ann Arbor, this is in the sweet spot, baby. The snake can be re-given to an “edgy” friend or to someone who has the word “witch” somewhere in her Instagram bio even though she is absolutely not one. It is also cute enough that it can also be given to a woman who eats mild salsa. It’ll work on moms; it’ll work on teens. It’s perfect for people from out of town because it’s from Brooklyn. It’s also perfect for people in town because it’s from Brooklyn. People like Brooklyn. It’s not weirdly fancy because it’s not shiny, but it’s not cheap either; it’s just from Brooklyn.