In German, Gift means, literally, poison - but, however awful your family is, and however temptingly the brandy glints, avoid this at all costs.
Some English gifts are, admittedly, about as welcome as poison (the novelty spoon-rest; the ornamental mushroom; the set of orange saucepans).
What these gifts have in common is their durability, and it's hard, when it seems that one is stuck for life sharing a house with a plastic reproduction of the infant Samuel prophesying before the Lord, to be entirely tranquil. Still, we can always ask our clumsiest friend round in January for a visit.
And the ornamental mushroom is easily stolen if displayed in the porch.
(Hmm...I wonder if an after-Christmas rent-a-thief business might be a goer...?)
Most gifts, however, are signs of love and affection (if really dreadful taste) and are of course blessings, if in hideous disguise.
May I take this opportunity to wish a Happy Christmas to all those who visit The Word Den, and may at least some of the gifts around you be of the kind that can be recalled with warmth and happiness.
painting by Lorenzo Leonbruno of Mantova
And as for the rest, I recommend a donation to your next raffle, tombola, or prize draw...
...or starting that rent-a-thief business.
Spot the Frippet: gift. This word is Old English and means a payment for a wife. The Gothic fragifts means engagement.