Something shocking happened to me yesterday afternoon at my friend Georgia’s. While rummaging through her fridge, I found a jar of homemade strawberry jam, mouldy and gone bad. (It was made with no preservatives.) I was horrified. The jam was a gift. From me!! Though I’d made a small batch, I prepared a special jar just for her. Why didn’t she savour every last drop?  And if you’ve read this blog before, you know how I feel about jam– it’s precious. (See: Jam: A Love Story.) Re-gifting is okay by me, but gift-squandering? Unacceptable! 


Can we tell the people we love how to treat the gifts we give them, or does this defeat the purpose of a gift?


Illustration by my friend Ola Kononova. Check out her website, olastyle, to see more of her beautiful digital drawings.

2 Responses to “Not-so-treasured gifts”

  1. Eilidh Says:

    I had to laugh when I read this one. I was instantly reminded of sending a certain girlfriend, Laura, a late Christmas gift, Express post from Van to Mtl only to have it returned because it was never claimed at the post office in Montreal. I was hurt & annoyed. It brought on a lot of thought about the loaded nature of gift giving.

    Most gifts come from the heart in a desire to share, reward or show our love for someone. However we tend to expect something in return, a simple thanx, to be filed in the good books or maybe that the receiver will pick up the check next time so to speak. It’s the nature of humankind to subconsciously keep a track record of gifting & receiving. We’re taught to always accept gifts graciously & yet sometimes a gift is a burden wrapped as a gift. I’d rather receive a Starbucks coffee card than an unflattering sweater.

    It feels so good to give I think it can even be addictive. When someone gives a lot, it can become uncomfortable, even when the “gifter” is more than happy to give. My boyfriend’s Mum for instance loves to give gifts. Sometimes I politely tell her no thanks, but always with a guilty conscience. Yet, I’m still convinced I must sometimes say no.

    I guess it’s best to think of what the receiver might want/need as opposed to what you want/need. Maybe Georgia doesn’t eat jam at home & maybe you don’t like going to the post office, duly noted. Personally, if I can manage to have no expectations when giving a gift, I will be happier for it.

  2. laura Says:

    Point taken Eilidh.
    But if it’s any consolation, I’m using that secret box all the time and I LOVE IT!
    Thank you very much for taking it all the way to New York just to give to me.
    Love you.

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