Everybody loves to receive gifts. There’s no feeling like gleefully unwrapping a present, anticipating the delights that lay within – and nothing like the utter let-down that results from unveiling a Totally Awful Token offering – or TAT. We used to have a TAT cupboard for the stocking filler gifts that my otherwise lovely former mother-in-law used to foist upon us. We also had the “It’s lovely! Thank you so much!” reaction down to a fine art. The moment she left, the TAT was tossed into its dark, dingy home, there to lurk unseen until we moved house and were forced to clean the Cupboard of Doom. I miss my former mother-in-law. I don’t miss her son. Or the gifts.
Quality, not quantity, is the key to buying a gift that will be appreciated. That doesn’t necessarily mean splashing the cash, it means knowing the recipient’s taste and choosing a gift that they’ll use and love. We’ve all had to smile through gritted teeth and thank an aged aunt for the hideous jewellery, revolting imitation perfume, or gift more suited to a five-year-old. Tokens please, next time, Auntie. Or cash.
When you receive gifts like this, you have to do something with them, otherwise the TAT cupboard expands into a TAT spare room. If your mother-in-law is as generous as mine was, you’ll pretty soon have to buy a TAT house. And that’s expensive. Perhaps that explains the vogue for basement extensions among London’s millionaires. They’re digging down to create extra subterranean floors to house all the hideous gifts other millionaires give them. They never have to venture down to these hidden rooms and can pretend the TAT doesn’t exist. Plus maybe being surrounded by earth stops the TAT from growing and exerting its hideous power.
So what can you do with these appalling objects if you don’t want to keep them? The traditional solution is to donate them to a charity shop or thrift store. It probably isn’t very charitable to fob these worthy causes off with your tat, but maybe someone somewhere will be willing to swap their cash for it. Just be sure it’s not a store the donor of the gift may visit. Or if the gift is breakable, it could suffer an unfortunate accident. Oops. How clumsy I am to break yet another lovely vase. Or there’s re-gifting – wait long enough, and you can give it to the original donor …