OUT TO PASTOR: Proper etiquette for returning Christmas gifts
The Christmas frenzy is over, and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly are sitting back surveying our Christmas plunder.
Why is it that something as wonderful as Christmas takes so long to prepare and goes by so quickly? As it stands today, there are only 360 more days until the next Christmas. I do not think I have enough time to get ready to do this all over again.
In surveying my Christmas plunder, several thoughts, like sugarplums, are dancing in my head. The primary thought is simply, what am I going to do with all these gifts? I have enough gifts to last me the rest of my life if I live to be 100. Of course, if I live to be 110, I may need another gift.
My gifts range in several categories.
In the first category, there is aftershave, cologne and deodorant. Obviously, those who know me the best think I stink. The first thing that comes to their mind when they think of me is the Bible verse, “by now he stinketh” (John 11:39). At least they are biblical.
I just would like everybody to know that come Saturday night, regular as clockwork, and I take a bath whether I need it or not. I would give you that I need it more than I don't. The best time to sniff me is Sunday morning, fresh from my Saturday night shower and after I have doused myself with my Christmas cologne. Apart from that, I give no guarantees.
The second category of Christmas gifts is clothing. This covers a large area... I’m a big man. Two sizes are associated with the Christmas clothing I get each year. Either they are too small or too big. None of my relatives knows me that well.
The only clothing that fits me is neckties – and I have enough neckties to have a nice necktie party. I do have a candidate in mind, actually several candidates.
When it comes to Christmas presents, there are only two kinds I really accept each year. Presents I like, and presents from people I like. As a general rule, I do not accept presents from people I do not like.
As of this date, I have not had an occasion to refuse such a gift from such a person. But I still have my principle, if not their interest.
All this brings me to my current dilemma. What can I do with all these Christmas presents, especially the ones I cannot wear or use? What is the best thing to do, re-gift, or return these Christmas presents?
I like the idea of returning presents I cannot use or wear in exchange for something I can use or wear. It is a simple matter of going back to the mall and negotiating the exchange.
Of course, before I can negotiate the exchange, I have to wage war with millions of people wanting to do the same thing. Although it is nice to know you are on the same page as other people, I just wish I were reading another book.
It never fails, by the time I have waited in line for my turn to do the exchange; they no longer have my size and give me a rain check. I really hate it when it rains on my parade.
Then there is the idea of re-gifting. I am beginning to like this idea more and more. For this reason, when I unwrap my presents, I am very careful not to tear the wrapping paper. This way, I not only have next year's Christmas present, but I have the wrapping paper to go with it.
The first Christmas I thought of this was a high watermark day in my life. I was proud of myself to be able to kill several birds with one stone. Unbeknownst to me, the biggest bird I killed was myself.
This did not show itself until the following Christmas when, by not giving this proper thought, I gave people the gift they gave me the previous Christmas. Believe me; I had a lot of “splaining” to do.
Nobody tells you this about Christmas in those etiquette books, but if you are going to re-gift a Christmas present, make sure you remember who gave it to you in the first place.
It is difficult trying to find the perfect gift as only one person has mastered the finesse of it. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17).
The gift God gives is one that you will have no reason to return.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com .