Saturday, December 13, 2008

REGIFTING: What's up with that (euphemism)?



Your coach interprets reality, situations and emotions to you with words. We all use language. It is powerful.

Several blogs ago, we listed the incredible 13 most-requested words and phrases for translation.

Now we will take another look at language. It is how we make order out of chaos (Remember the Bible ... first there was chaos, then there was the Word"?

It is also how we shape our world. Words give us power over our people, emotions and world. (Name it, tame it) Remember the change in things when your toddler learned the almighty "NO!"?

A little history ... Do you know what the word "segregation" means? A massive social and cultural upheaval took place when the word "integration" was born?

Were you around when everything you read referred to the male gender. Quotes were: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.If a person wanted to be a lay reader "he should speak to Father John." There were no female doctors, lawyers, ministers. "She" was not used unless it specifically referred to a woman.

A massive social and cultural upheaval took place when women began to demand that SHE and HER be added to the English vocabulary, and for the generic. We went through a stage of: (s)he and she/he, and "where it says "he" it should be construed to mean "she" as well, and sometimes we alternate, and sometimes use words like "an individual" It's awkward. This one has been a long, long journey for the USA and Western World.

Then in the 80s the divorce rate started rising. Suddenly we had people we had been married to and no longer were (and their parents), and then we remarried and had kids from both parents and we had ...??? A massive social and cultural upheaval lacked language, and we invented and began to use the words "ex" and "step-parent" and "blended family" and "single parent."

BTW in 1985, my friend (who was a single parent at the time) tells me that there was a Family Group at her Church, and she and her daughters were not allowed to join it. They were told "You are not a family." Ouch!

So here is a new one.

Get ready for this one.

It's a sign of the times, the long and bending back of etiquette and socially acceptable behavior, the limits of faux pas, the generational gaps, and -- some would have us believe, of hard economic times.
There is yet another new word: regifting. It is so new it did not pass my spellchecker, with or without hyphen. There is even a website called"

Re-gifting: It's not so taboo," is the article in the Keller Citizen, where they quote a communication specialist with Money Management International who, ungrammatically says, "More and more peple are considering all their options in gift-giving, and re-gifting is gaining popularity in that."

And of course the most obvious thing to re-gift is a gift-card. This is giant step away from knitting a sweater for you son for Christmas! Something chosen and made for exactly and only the person to whom it was given.

The article offers tips if you are going to do this -- like be sure and change the wrapping paper, and don't give it to someone who might know the someone who gave it to you.

Well, I gotta admit nearly every gift I have gotten from an employer (back when I had one), I gave to the maid, or a neighbor. The cheap hams and turkeys, the boxes of candy, the wine I wouldn't want to drink. But these aren't personal. This year I got a huge ham from one of the corporations I consult for and I don't like ham enough to have 20 lbs. of it around the house when it's only me. I knew someone else could get some use out of it. I gave it to my son. I'll admit to having done it with other things. I do, as they 'recommend,' suit the re-gift to the re-cipient. The thing is, I usually don't act like it's a real gift. I say, "I got this and blah blah and thought you might like it/could use it/would enjoy it more than me."

However at times I have gotten, say, a sweater or something from my side of the family that I knew I would never wear, but that my mother-in-law would love, so I wrapped it up again and gave it to her.

Call me a Re-Gifter?

My etiquette advice: Just do it with taste! i.e., do not let the person who gave it to you know about it, and don't tell the person you're giving it to, and be sure neither of them will find out about it. Because that would be incredibly rude.

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