We have a whole closet just for house gifts. We have a lot of guests during the summer so we get all kinds of gifts. One is a platter that looks like a hamburger. This was once an easy gift to use (see Burgers), but I’ve cut back on red meat and it just doesn’t work with halibut. Besides, we have several gift platters that look like fish. We also have some salad tongs that have palm trees for handles. I can’t remember if these were originally a joke, but I hope so. A guest also gave us the game of horseshoes. I am still waiting to find someone to play with. I think it was last in vogue in the late 1800’s in the Old West. Even the guest who gave me that game doesn’t ever want to play. The gift closet has loads of picture frames that we rotate by reframing our family pictures just before each gift-giver returns so they think we love their gift. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget to put our own pictures in the frames and just leave the pictures of the blond-haired, blue-eyed families that came with them. People get confused because those people are much better looking than we are.
Some of the gifts have never been used. We reserve these for regifting (the giving to others of gifts previously received). Regifting requires better administrative records than we currently maintain. Sometimes we forget who gave us a gift. This can result in inadvertently giving the gift back to the person who gave it to us or bringing it to a dinner party where the original giver is also in attendance. Sometimes I wonder whether there is a gift still in circulation that nobody has ever used–it is just a perpetual gift.
Sometimes people bring perishable gifts. Inevitably, this is food that we never eat like jars of tapenade or marinated mushrooms or fattening sweets that we would prefer not to be tempted by. One guest even brought freshly-picked fruit and organic vegetables for her own healthy diet and brought us a bakery basket of muffins, brownies and cookies. Often, it’s just an excuse for the gift-giver to eat treats that they would feel too guilty to buy for themselves. I once had a guest bring a delicious raspberry-cherry pie and then had to fight her to get a slice. (You know who you are!)