In this era of regifting, the single bottle of wine has replaced fruitcake as the preferred recycled gift. This time of year, when I clear my clothes closet and various and sundry other cubbies of things unworn, unused, and generally unwanted- mostly with the purchase tags still attached- I have yet to figure out how to extend that annual clear out to include the wine cabinet. It is replete with single bottles, nearly all of them gifts from people otherwise well-meaning but who felt obliged in some way to give us a gift, but didn’t want to do much more than hand off something without the mental contortion of giving the matter too much thought. Sounds churlish perhaps, but think about it- what good is a single bottle of wine? It is too little for a dinner for four, and, for Keith and me alone, we’ve only a handful of times in our relationship ever had either a cocktail or glass of wine the two of us on our own together. And, if a bottle needs opening to give out a glass to an afterhours visitor, I am wont to open something about which I know nothing. The bottle’s contents may be okay, but then again, it might not be, and I never want to risk offering hospitality that if left to their own devices, a visitor might prefer to spit into the kitchen sink.
So what to do, what to do? Too many people ask this same question and consider it solved by passing the unwanted bottle on to someone else. The next time you receive a single bottle, gentle reader, you may wish to examine the label for telltale signs of fraying, but look charitably if you can on the giver and remember what mental anguish they experienced in deciding to give this single bottle to you. Or, depending how frayed the wine label, you might then determine yourself relieved of giving them a reciprocal gift.
Frankly, we’ve solved our gift giving dilemma years ago, when things were their darkest during the great recession, by making a gift to assist those who most needed help, and I would encourage all of you gentle readers to do the same, to Poverello House, helping the hungry and the homeless.
Let’s all of us turn a regifting dilemma into a glorious season of giving by providing something thoughtfully tangible and eminently useful.
A sidebar- I actually like fruitcake, and although I am not soliciting gifts, for those of you who received this original butt of regifting jokes, a couple of suggestions. Trying slicing and toasting fruitcake, and serving it warm with butter along with breakfast coffee. Or for those of you a bit more ambitious, try substituting a portion of fruitcake along with the other ingredients when making bread pudding. Both of these, trust me, delicious and fruitcake jokes will become a thing of the past.