The Diderot Effect at Christmas

Who are you? What makes you who you are? Imagine you were inviting someone you just met over to your house. Except that you emptied your house of everything. You just had them come over, sit in a metal fold-out chair beside you. Oh, and your clothes are gone, except for a uniform you had to wear to a job. Now how will you tell this person who you are? How self-conscious would you feel about who they thought you were?

The things we own, the things we use and surround ourself with, become a part of who we are. We let them speak for who we are, even to ourselves. When people gift us with things, they tend to gift us things based on who they think we are. Sometimes they’re right; sometimes they’re wrong.
Continue reading

To Re-Gift or Not to Re-Gift

I hate the title of my post.  I think we’ve outworn all references to Hamlet’s speech.  But I couldn’t come up with any better.

We sometimes run into what seems like a hard decision: I have a gift someone gave me.  Should I re-gift it?  Or is that tacky?  Lazy?  Untactful?  Unappreciative?  Selfish?  Stingy?  Inconsiderate?
Continue reading