recycled hostess gifts, ever got those??

mitchdesjJune 17, 2002

I enjoyed reading people's thoughts on hostess gift etiquette. I have received hostess gifts in the past that I knew for sure were items that people had received and did not care for and then brought me as a hostess gift... I can spot those in a second, and I would rather not get anything than get a "recycled" gift.....

I have a friend who brings me food she makes, and honestly I end up throwing it in the garbage, don't care for it, I appreciate her intention but at the same time, I don't think people should impose their food tastes on others.... I can't bear to tell her but at the same time, it's frankly unedible...

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Is giving you a food gift "imposing" food tastes? Believe me, I am the worst gift receiver ever. I make up reasons why the giver was thoughtless or inconsiderate and I do know this is a stupid thing to do. I wish I learned to be gracious somewhere along the line.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2002 at 9:51AM
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I don't feel I am an "ungracious" gift receiver, my brother has very limited funds and he always brings me a single flower, nicely wrapped from the florist, probably pays $4. for it, I am more touched by his gesture than the person whom I suspect is recycling a gift she doesn't care for or brings food that was in her freezer anyway. Call me oversensitive, but I always put some effort in my gift-giving, so I guess I am sensitive in my gift-receiving...... I appreciate your in-sight though, I should shrug it off....and not take bad gifts as a measure of the person's appreciation of me as a hostess....

    Bookmark   June 17, 2002 at 11:30AM
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I don't want you to think I'm saying you are ungracious. I just wish I didn't have that habit of mind myself. I need get a positive attitude and learn not to be insulted by gifts.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2002 at 11:37AM
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I am curious about how your friend imposes her food tastes on you when she brings over a home made whatever. How is that different than when you, as hostess, provide her with a whatever? The two seem pretty much the same to me.

And how do you spot recycled gifts? I guess I can do it if the giver accidently leave in a card from someone else to them. Or if maybe it is an obvious tourist thing from a place I KNOW they haven't visited. But what other methods can you use to figure it out?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2002 at 12:40PM
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Sometimes it's in the wrapping, it looks like it was unwrapped and retaped; once it was a Claire Burke scent that I know has been discontinued for a year, other times I know it's an item taken out of a gift basket they received and didn't really care for, I guess I have a hawck's eye for those things...... As far as home made food gifts go, when your friend knows you are dieting and brings over squares that look like and taste like they've been in the freezer too long, or else they give you a jar of jam that's as liquid as water (when you know they usually make good preserves and fresh squares). I asked someone years ago to stop giving me fruitcake at xmas, we really don't like or eat it, and he brought a piece of fruitcake this year (the end of a loaf) that could have been used as a doorstop....
Trust me, I know..
When I cook food for entertaining, I cook it specifically for that evening, I won't use leftovers just to get rid of them..
my point is that if someone bakes something just for me and it's fresh, I'm thrilled, but if I feel that they rummaged in their freezer to look for something to bring, forget it...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2002 at 1:55PM
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I'm not a red wine drinker. But I often get bottles of red. What is so wrong with sharing that with a hostess that I know likes red wine? And how would she know it was regifted? I don't feel like I should keep a perfectly good, brand-new item in my home if it's something that I don't use or like. So I like to put it to good use!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 8:25AM
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I agree with you, wine is a different matter....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 9:41AM
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I have several jars and bottles for re gifting.....and there are other things that went directly into the garbage...
I don't get was the gesture that they thought was important.....and if I were expecting a hostess gift....I wouldn't have invited these certain people.
I think the lesson here is to bring SOMETHING!. A jar of special jam....your home made rolls....or some from a bakery, a candle, bottle of wine, a handfull of flowers from your garden....a CD you have downloaded from the web....
And if nothing else....a thank you note the next day!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 6:41PM
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Good thoughts Linda, case closed.....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 10:51PM
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Are you out there? Please email me I have a off topic question for you about Canada.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 2:05AM
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Don't close the case yet Mitch. If it were me and the person continued to bring me gifts which I knew had been given to her and she just didn't want them, or stale food from her freezer, I would first make sure she could afford better, and if she could, then I would drop her as a guest. She obviously has no concern for you.

They are correct in that it is a "gift." But you can be insulted over and over by a so called "gift." I don't mind no gift at all. I do mind insults and I think this is what you are saying.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 5:44PM
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Bev, I just checked back in here and found my post alive again.

I'm with you, I prefer no gift than what I was talking about up here.
I guess some people will just shrug it off, but I have always personally gone out of my way to get something special for someone, at different price levels according to my budget.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2003 at 7:01PM
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why does someone expect a gift for having people over? I have people over all the time. I do not expect a gift. I invited you to my home for dinner and whatever not to get a gift.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 6:11AM
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I don't often receive hostess gifts when we have people over, but it's nice when it happens. A bottle of wine or something homemade is always appreciated with me.

I do have a friend who, for my last birthday, gave me a scented candle that I'm certain had been sitting around her house for a while. She just slapped a crumpled bow on top of a box that was only slightly less dusty and dented than the candle itself. It wouldn't have been a big deal, except after my "oh, thanks so much, how unexpected and kind of you!", she went on and on about how it was such an expensive candle and was I familiar with this very expensive scent?

That annoyed me.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 3:16PM
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There's a similar post in the Decorating forum that has been going on; more to the effect to : what to do with gifts you don't like for your home, should you put them out or discard them. Someone posted this, an excerpt from a book, it made sense to me. I think it's taken from the book it mentions at first:

Clutter's Last Stand. Here is a short excerpt p 107 - "A gift, regardless of its value, if given sincerely has a certain sacrednes. It is a concise message of love and appreciation, a nod of acknowledgement for something felt. But we should always remember not to confuse the meaning of a gift with the gift itself. The actual gift is only a vessel to express; once it does that, it generally has fulfilled its function. Its message will live with us, be a part of us - forever, possibly - but should we drag around the vessel after it has served its purpose? That's like leaving the scaffolding up after a building is finished - take it down!"

    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 9:17PM
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That sounds very similar to advice I saw in Clearing Your Clutter with Feng Shui. A really great book.

Accept a gift graciously and send proper thanks. But if the gift has no suited purpose in your home, and it is in good taste and appropriate, regift it, by all means.

The Feng Shui book explains that keeping things around that are not useful and are truly clutter, can be an energy drain on your home. But consider the recipient's taste and style. You definitely do not want to saddle someone else with bad energy, too.

In my opinion, you are even allowed to say that it is a regift, in the right circumstances. In my example in an earlier post about the wine, I could say, "A dear friend gave me this bottle of Cabernet, but I am such a white wine person. And I know how much you LOVE red wine. I instantly thought of you, and wanted to pass it on in the hopes that you will enjoy it!"

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 9:04AM
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I'm not a Feng Shui person at all but I wish I could talk DH into letting me throw out a few things. LOL He wants to save everything!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 1:48PM
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I've only regifted once - it was a brown-toned silk striped tie from Italy that an Italian furniture vendor had given me for Christmas. I don't wear brown, and so I gave it to my BIL who does wear brown. He likes it, but I don't think that's the same as a hostess gift. I would never give something from the freezer...ever! That's just creepy!

I might include something in a package with a lot of gifts that was somewhat more questionable, but not as a primary gift. It's so easy to make something new, and so I would never want a primary gift to be something that was either originally from someone else or not what the receiver likes and wants.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 8:13PM
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I always take a gift when I'm invited over for dinner...I guess because my Mom always did. But she was very clever with crafts and sewing and always had something cute on hand. I am not.
The worst is when you don't know the people very we were recently invited to a couple's home for a thank-you dinner, my husband and kids helped them move recently.
I should have been the one having the dinner because it was the most peaceful quiet day I had by myself in a long time!
I took her a set of four candles from this cute little place that hand pours them, and wrapped the box really cute for Halloween with raffia and a little fall'pick'.
She opened the first candle, smelled it and said "interesting" smelled the next two with no comment and the last one said "Whew...I can't burn that one when my MIL comes over, she HATES vanilla!"
LOL...obviously it did not go over very well, but I would have been thrilled to get this gift. I always give nice things I would like to get and it's a little disappointing when you get something you know was just lying around someone's house or that they simple didn't want.
Last year we were invited to a few different Christmasy things and I took that little book "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham...again something I would have liked.
A poinsettia is always nice, or a new Christmas dish towel with some hand soap from Bath&Body...if the family has kids a game for the family is always fun...or a new dvd or video with a box of popcorn and a couple movie size boxes of candy is something I took my brother once and he still tells me that was his favorite thing...
I have regifted some Bath & Body things...I really dislike most of the scents, they are too strong for me. But I get some every year for Christmas...I just put them away and when one of the kids needs a last minute gift for a teacher or bus driver, I let them pick something that tacky of me?? Now I'm kind of horrified maybe it is....

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 12:08AM
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jongirl, that "candle sniffer" hostess you encountered is quite rude;
in any case, the gift should be opened and the recipient thanked, what happens to the gift after that is every recipient's choice;
you obviously take care in giving thoughtful gifts and the candles were certainly a safe choice. She can regift them also.

It's as if you would have sniffed the main meal, and said: oh boy, veal, my mil would hate that....

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 7:37AM
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It's funny you say that because I actually did not care for the main course, steak cooked in some kind of smoker...
I'm just not a steak person and really don't like smokey meats, but I would never dream of letting the hosts know that I didn't care for it. I took a piece and ate it.
My husband gave me a couple understanding smiles (in between big mouthfuls!) He really enjoyed the steak!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 10:54AM
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Hey jonsgirl you could always give a bag of Charlie's Soap or better yet LESTOIL hehehehehehe

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 6:04PM
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Hey! There's an idea! I don't know if I can part with any of my Lestoil stash

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 6:58PM
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LOL...jonsgirl, I'm with you on the Lestoil. I'm down to 28 bottles and starting to PANIC!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 7:47PM
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You're such a brat! lol
I am down to a case, but we are going home to Michigan for New Years, maybe my Mom will surprise me with a case for my Christmas present!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2004 at 1:03AM
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OK....I'm outta the loop....has Lestoil become "collectable"??? Or is it really in short supply??? Maybe there is a market for counterfit l;estoil?....Could we sub the stuff from the dollar store and repackage in authentic bottles?...Should I scout all the back woods grocerys for stray bottles?
Help me out here!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 6:44PM
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To the person who said she regifted lotions etc to the teachers, please don't! Every year I took boxes of mugs, body oil, soap, etc. down to the church thrift shop. Things for the classroom are good, or a nice note.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 9:29PM
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Linda - Lestoil is a Laundry Room forum topic. The postings are mostly an inside joke between Lifesabeach, jonsgirl, me and anyone else from the LR forum.

It is awesome stuff as an oil stain remover. And, yes, it is difficult to find on store shelves, but not on the net. Or, as you can see, you can just ask one of these two members/hoarders.

It would make a great Cooking Forum swap item!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 5:49AM
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Kathleen, what kind of things for the classroom are you thinking? That's a good idea...

Lestoil is hard to come by depending on where you you have it in your stores? I live in TN and there's not a bottle to be when I go home (to MI) I always stock up. I use it for everything, I love it!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 9:47AM
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See the Cooking Forum thread I started here:

Here is a link that might be useful: What teachers want/don't want for holiday gifts

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 11:07PM
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Mitchdesj, you say your brother has very limited funds and he always brings you a single flower, nicely wrapped from the florist, probably pays $4. for it, and you are more touched by his gesture than the person whom you suspect is recycling a gift she doesn't care for or brings food that was in her freezer anyway. I suspect you are so touched by your brother's gift because of your affection for him, not because he has limited funds. No offense, but you've just given him an excuse to not even try to be creative, just keep doing the same boring thing. $4 would buy one lovely truffle, several pieces of beautiful fruit, etc. And you really have no idea of what is going through someone's mind when they bring you "whatever". When I invite guests to my house it's not about what they will bring me, it's their presence I'm longing for. And whether they bought me something, made me something, are just trying to get rid of something from their freezer, or brought me nothing matters not at all. If it matters, I am not being a good hostess. I don't mean to sound harsh, really I don't. I just think that in the scheme of things, there are more important things to be concerned about.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 1:51AM
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I don't generally like or do hostess gifts -- I think they are a formal pain in the butt. However, we do take wine with us when we go out, usually a very nice bottle. I always receive any gift gratefully and thankfully, but often end up giving it to my weekly housekeeper, who seems to love all candles or cheese knife do dads, etc. no matter how smelly or tacky. I give some things for the church bazaar. Someone's trinket is always someone else's treasure.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2004 at 7:59PM
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Rose, you might be surprised. Your housekeeper might just be "gracefully" accepting your castoffs and then tossing them or regifting them also. Her taste might not really run toward the "smelly or tacky". Just a thought. But, you are right. Someone's trinket is always someone else's treasure. If not, they wouldn't continue to make these things, would they? Someone is buying them.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2004 at 12:25PM
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OK jonsgirl, it's New Year, what did you get for Xmas? I've been patiently waiting!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 4:31PM
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Well I did NOT get any Lestoil...but I did stock up on some when we were home for Christmas. I also had to stock up on some of our other favorites we cannot find down here...Western dressing, Sam's Joint bbq sauce, and a few other ridiculous things that you don't realize you'd miss until you can't buy them.
(Jon and the kids got me a KA mixer that I've been strongly hinting for.) :)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 4:30PM
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Jessy, I forgot since it really wasn't a Christmas present I finally got my Dyson vacuum cleaner. The day after Christmas we were cleaning up the living room and Jon said "Why don't you get ready and we'll go get that stupid vacuum." LOL....I don't know exactly what possesed him to finally agree to it but we went to Sears and got it.
I haven't had much time to play with it, we left the next day for Michigan and just got back today, but while I was out running the pets to the kennel and doing last minute errands, he was home reading the manual and testing it out...he didn't say a whole lot, but he spent over an hour messing with it. I'll let you know how I like it...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 1:26AM
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I think "unless" you just know someone is being cheap,rude, whatever...then maybe a re-gifted gift wouldn't be a problem for me.After all don't we try to teach our children it's the thought that counts, and not to judge people by material things??We all have different budgets.
I got a not so great clock from the parents of a child a babysit,it wasn't really my taste but I put it out.I also know that these people have 4 kids.I could have gotten nothing.
And, what if they didn't care for a recieved gift but knew you'd enjoy it.I've done that.
And alot of times people do feel like they have to bring gifts even when told they don't have to.When they know other people are going to bring something and don't want to be the odd ball.
I guess sometimes you know a persons intent by how good you know them.By the way a gift of food is thoughtful.....unless it is old,yuck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 9:18AM
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When we got married, my new husbands aunt gave us a silver candy dish. Problem was, it had another couples names engraved on it. Apparently a candy dish she picked up while a guest at another wedding. After discussing with DH, who told me everyone (on his side) knows she's a cheapskate, I discarded it. i did not send a thank-you note.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 9:46AM
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My grandma is notorious for regifting. It makes me a little nervous because, my mom or aunt are quick to spot things that are in my house. My grandmother regifts or better yet gives away things that she doesn't really like. My mom's feeling get hurt. She says "If your grandma did not like them, why didn't she tell me...I would have taken her to the store to get what she wants."

I don't think that I have ever regifted per se. I do have a younger brother that graduated from college about 2 years ago and just bought a house. Now and when he was in college, I would give him whatever I thought that he would need whether or not it was a gift (ie., I have given him gifts and items I have purchased).

I have given him extra crock pots, bottles of wine (I received as a gift for volunteering for a community event) to give to his professors and supervisor at work, dishe sets (from my MIL), pieces of furniture, etc. I didn't give them away becasue I didn't like them, I gave them to him because he needed these things more than I do.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 2:13AM
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It seems like the person giving old stuff from the freezer should be made aware of the faux pas. How about putting it out for them to try? ;)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 9:51AM
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I think I got recycled gifts for Christmas from a good friend, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Her gifts were more elaborate than mine to her, but I carefully chose things just for her. I got a marbled wine holder, a watch with several different watch bands, and a yellow chip and dip set with a spreader that I'm alnmost certain had been used. None of these felt like anything I'd like, and she knows me really well. She is a very well-liked teacher, and I have the feeling that these were gifts from parents that she didn't want. This won't wreck a friendship, not even close, but I sure feel funny.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 2:58PM
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I have a dear friend who's a teacher. She spreads everything out on her dining room table and lets all the rest of us pick! I can't believe how many scented candle varities there are! It's regifting, but in a fun way.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 4:31PM
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Hmmm...So what is the difference between regifting and sharing your gift with others?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 1:34PM
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I, too, think a very good friend of mine gave me a recycled gift for Christmas. I'm trying to be mature about it and not feel hurt, but as I'm writing here about it, I guess it's bothering me... *chuckle*

I spent a good amount of time at a great bookstore trying to find a personal present for my friend and her husband. After looking at a lot of possibilities, I decided on a hard cover art book by one of their favorite artists, It was rather expensive, as coffee table art books are, but I was happy to get it as I knew they didn't have it and would (hopefully) enjoy it.

I gave it to them at their party two days before Christmas, along w/ gifts for their son. They didn't have anything for me, my husband, or our son. I thought she/they hadn't finished Xmas shopping yet, so I understood.

I invited them over for New Year's eve, and got my/our present. A box of candles from Wal-Mart. Not very personal, and most likely regifted as there's no Wal-Mart anywhere near us. I feel kind of disregarded, as she had plenty of time to pick out a more meaningful present btw. Xmas and New Year's, plus, she spends hundreds of dollars on her husband and son's presents each year.

This is someone who calls me several times a week wanting to get together, too. I thought she would've put more consideration into my present.

What do you think---am I being too sensitive and nitpicky?

Btw, I think I should "let it go"---right after posting this!! :D

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 2:33PM
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I wouldn't worry too much...although, I would be somewhat upset myself. I think it's ok to recycle gifts, if the gift is appropriate for the next person, but it sounds like no thought went into your gift at all. And obviously, they aren't lacking in funds.

I find some people just don't get into gift giving, don't enjoy it, and don't care about it. It sounds like she feels pressured into having to give a gift, so she just gives a token one. Some people don't want to exchange gifts with friends or even family members.

If she is a good friend otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. Afterall, a gift isn't required so even if it's "bad" gift, it still is something. Your gift to her/them should be given without any expectation of getting something in return. If you find you can't give that way without getting hurt, then maybe you should rethink getting them gifts every year and see what happens. Even if all gift giving ceases, your friendship should still be able to strive.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 6:53PM
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I thought of this thread recently when I received a gift from a houseguest. As is so often the case, I think this really comes down to how you feel about the person and the circumstances, not some rule or principle about whether it is okay to regift.

How would you feel about this gift: a bracelet (fashion, not fine jewelry), that I have very good reason to believe was a gift his wife received but didn't want?

I think many people would think that's terrible. But I appreciated and loved it, and here are the details that both explain why I think it is probably a "regift" and that may make you feel different, as I do:

- this is a very close friend, like a brother, and we love his wife, too. We even went on their honeymoon with them!
- The day before he started on his trip, he asked me what I wanted him to bring (he lives in Israel and sometimes there is something I need that is hard to find here. We are way past the formal "hostess gift" stage, but Israelis ALWAYS seem to bring a present). He joked that it had to be something he could get at the airport duty free shop, though, because he had severely broken his foot and really couldn't go shopping. I didn't need anything anyway, so I told him to forget it.
- His wife is a plastic surgeon whose patients -- especially the breast cancer ones -- absolutely ADORE her. Their house and her office are always filled with cakes, flowers, and gifts. The bracelet was in a box from a store in a far from theirs and to which I can't imagine them going to shop.
- She is really, really tiny, and the largeish bracelet probably wouldn't look good on her. And of course she can't wear bracelets while she works.

So I'm guessing that they really did want to give me something, it wasn't practical for either of them to shop at the last minute, I told them no when he asked if there was anything I wanted, and they figured that I might like the bracelet, which she wasn't going to wear anyway (or maybe even she loved it and she would have worn it, but she shared it with me instead anyway). I even like to think that they realized I might figure it out, but they feel close enough to me and think enough of me to know I wouldn't mind at all but would understand. I even like to think something like this is what happened, because it speaks of intimacy -- it's the kind of thing you could do with a sister but not with a new acquaintance. The bracelet is pretty and I am enjoying it, most of all because I feel loved and trusted when I wear it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 12:25PM
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