Even before I started teaching, I was a shameless re-gifter. It never occurred to me that re-gifting items I received, but not necessarily wanted or needed, was any kind of faux paux in manners. I never re-gifted to someone in the same circle of acquaintances as the original gifter (e.g. I once gave a glass candle holder my old roommate gave me when I lived in CV to my old co-Sunday School director in Stkn).


I don’t re-gift as much as I did in the past. Mainly because I think I’ve allowed myself to be more open, hence people end up knowing me better, and if/when the do give me gifts, it ends up being things I need or want. I also like it when people ask what I want first, if they intend on giving me anything.

However, each year, I receive boat loads of sweets, chocolate, lotion, candles, and mini-hand sanitizers from my students. There always seems to be a theme in their gifts.

Year 1 of teaching: Gift cards (I got a $50 gift cards to Amazon and Macy’s this year! Not to mention the handfuls of Peets and Starbucks…this was a year of generosity)

Year 2: Never ending cookies. Everyone and their mom made cookies for me. I ended up giving nearly all of them away to my neighbors and roommates.

Year 3: Handmade stuff, like a red and black wooden block shaped like a pixelated heart, a scarf, and art.

Year 4: Hand soap and hand sanitizer. Did people think I was disheveled that year?

This year is the year of the Ghiradelli chocolate. Bags upon bags upon bags! I’ve already given about a quarter of the chocolates away to friends so far. If I were to keep them to myself, it would take me a full year to consume them all.

I do have some favorite student gifts:

– The aforementioned red-and-black heart. It was super cute. I kept it on my classroom wall until it fell and smashed to pieces.

– A pink and white paper origami bunny. Still have this on my shelves at school.

– A pretty Christmas ornament.

– Can’t go wrong with gift cards.

– A lovely, scented shea butter bar soap.

And of course, all the thoughtful notes and cards.

Most of my favorite non-student gifts come from my family:

– A real china tea set. I should still have this somewhere.

– A musical wind-up cat in a basket.

– A juicer

– A crockpot

– A Zorjirushi thermos that keeps stuff warm for HOURS

– The entire set of Harry Potter books in hardback

– Muji stationary

– Jewelry handed down to me from the previous generation

– Samples of skin and hair care products

When I took the 5 Love Languages quiz 8 years ago, my top two were 1) acts of service and 2) quality time. I think my top two have now morphed into 1) quality time and 2) gifts, with words of affirmation coming a close third. I used to love it when people did stuff for me. I still do, but now I think I would rather do things for myself, or for other people, rather than have people serve me.


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