The Regifting Queen of the Family
Dr. James L. Snyder
Sitting around the Christmas tree with my family and opening up Christmas presents stirred fond memories of my Aunt Edith. She was known as The Regifting Queen of our family. And believe me, she earned that name quite well.
Most of the family didn’t catch on to what she was doing. I know I didn’t realize it until several years before she passed.
Little did we know that when we gathered as a family at Christmas time, the gifts we received from Aunt Edith were regifted. I had no idea what that meant then, but I was to find out what it was all about.
One of my cousins caught on first. One Christmas, he received a gift that he remembered from last Christmas, which was given to her. At first, he thought he was imagining things, but as the gifts kept going around, he began to notice that the gifts given to his family members were given to his Aunt Edith last year.
She had it very well worked out because nobody got a gift from her that they gave to her the year before. When my cousin mentioned this to me, I thought he was joking, and I just went along with him. But I was to realize that maybe what he was saying was true.
I started paying attention to the gifts Aunt Edith gave to the family so I could remember them for next year. And sure enough, the following year, people received gifts from Aunt Edith that had been given to her the year before.
My cousin looked at me, looked back, and we just smiled, hoping we could keep our secret.
Based on that thought, my cousin and I gave Aunt Edith a present we would want the following year. Sure enough, those gifts appeared to our family from good old Aunt Edith. Everybody smiled, thankful for Aunt Edith’s thoughtfulness at Christmas time.
That was the one thing my cousin and I looked forward to each year. And the thing was, everybody got from Aunt Edith a present they gave her the year before. She was very good at this regifting.
We discovered that when Auth Edith got a Christmas gift, she always put the giver’s name on the gift. That way, she would not get the gifts mixed when she regifted them.
My cousin and I let it fly because we did not want to embarrass Aunt Edith. She was such a wonderful lady, and we felt that if that was her way of celebrating Christmas, so be it.
As the years went on, Aunt Edith got older. No surprise there. Everybody gets older. But as she got older, her memory began to play tricks on her.
I began to notice one year when Aunt Edith gave me a Christmas present that I gave her the year before. Up to this time, that had never happened. She was very particular in how she distributed her regifting.
As I opened my gift from her, I began to chuckle because it was what I gave her last year. I didn’t say anything because I respected her and everybody makes mistakes. I just went along with her regifting program.
I almost told my cousin, but I thought I’d just better leave everything under the table at this point. After all, Christmas is a merry time of the year, and I didn’t want to sabotage the merry element.
Watching Aunt Edith throughout the year, I noticed her memory was slipping. With that in mind, I was anxious for Christmas to come and see how Aunt Edith would handle her regifting.
As it turned out, that year was the last year Aunt Edith was around for Christmas. It was a special Christmas, although we did not know it then.
As the gifts were being passed around and as people began opening their gifts from Aunt Edith, people began to recognize that this was a gift they had given her last year. It was hard for me to believe, but everybody got from Aunt Edith what they had given her the Christmas before.
After all those years of meticulously regifting those Christmas presents, it was finally catching up. Nobody knew what to do or say at that point. Everybody just thanked Aunt Edith for her wonderful Christmas presents. Nobody realized what was happening, but Aunt Edith confused the names on the gifts as the “for” and not the “from.”
It wasn’t until Aunt Edith’s funeral that people began to share their ideas about Christmas. Someone said, “Did you know that at the last Christmas party, I received a gift from Aunt Edith that I gave her the year before?”
When she said that, everybody began to laugh and had the same story to tell. Aunt Edith had been meticulously regifting all her Christmas presents for all those years, and nobody knew it until her last Christmas.
What I took away from it is that if I’m going to give a gift, I should give a gift I want to receive myself. And I must thank good old Aunt Edith for that thinking.
I couldn’t help but think of a Bible verse. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Whatever I do to others will finally come back on me. Give what you want to receive is my motto.
Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail email@example.com, website www.jamessnyderministries.com.