Holiday Gift Take-Backs

by Melissa Chandler

Many Christmases ago, I spent hours crafting a box with my bare hands to put my boyfriend’s gifts in. We broke up not so many months later, and on my way out, after I’d gathered up every trace of myself from the apartment we shared, I dumped that handcrafted box down the trash chute. Normally, I don’t believe in take-backs, but the guy was terrible, it turned out. I don’t miss him, but I still miss that trash chute. It was strangely therapeutic; a long, tinny whoosh on the descent, and a loud, heavy thwump when the bag hit the barrel.

With the holidays kicking in, perhaps we should take a moment to contemplate the fate of those gifts carefully plucked from shelves or painstakingly pieced together (like the miniature ships in bottles I made for everyone I know this year. Just kidding!). In the months and years to come, what will happen to the cashmere scarves and the Urban Outfitters salt and pepper shakers? Shattered against a wall in a passionate lovers’ quarrel? Tossed out the window of a moving cab, after a questionable status update is discovered via Facebook mobile?

And more importantly, did you ever have to do take-backs? A good story? Please share!

Melissa Chandler lives in San Francisco, where her trash chute is so-so.