I’ve come to develop a theory around re-gifting.

I’m taking my tips from a fictional society, a people who lovingly passed on nice, superfluous presents to their neighbors.

It was a gentile society, a people who loved gifts and loved parties. In this culture, a person would receive a gift, keep it in their house for awhile, then give it away to someone else, when the time came.

These people were hobbits, and this is the theory of mathoms.

…for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom.Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort. (Tolkien, 5)

We recently moved, and it became painfully obvious during that process that we have a few mathoms about the place.

This is what our new apartment looks like: an amazing space, and one I want to keep streamlined.



In my push to be more thrifty in everything (I’m a spender, let’s face it), I’ve decided to put the items that collect around me like so much detritus to work. I’ve decided to give gifts in the hobbit style.

Bilbo’s residence had got rather cluttered up with things in the course of his long life. It was a tendency of hobbit-holes to get cluttered up: for which the custom of giving so many birthday-presents was largely responsible. Not, of course, that the birthday-presents were always new; there were one or two old mathoms of forgotten uses that had circulated all around the district; but Bilbo had usually given new presents, and kept those that he received. (Tolkien, 37)

I’m from Northwest-Arkansas, where the gift-giving customs of the South are very much still in play. Gentility has not died: I often receive hostess gifts, going-away presents, Valentines-Day-gifts, and Easter presents. A number of these things I use every day and wouldn’t part with for anything. An equally large number of them…are pure fluff.

It’s nice fluff. Don’t get me wrong!


Pretty journals, sweet notepads, woven baskets, and even decorative tissues. These gifts are always nice, but they stack up, before you get a chance to use them.

The thrifty and efficient option is to pass them on, in the most gracious way possible. I will take the next opportunity I have to give someone beautiful stationery, seasonally appropriate notepads, or a gorgeous journal. Because, I can’t use them all. And I like a (quasi) streamlined house!

I mean, it will probably always look like Michel Delving.


But we’re okay with that.


I hope you can make someone feel special soon, with a gift that has been recycled, but is still full of love and well-wishes.

Personally wishing you peace and joy,



Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Print.

^Read it!


I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or health professional of any kind. This blog and this blog post is not meant to diagnose, treat, or recommend treatment for medical conditions of any kind. Please ask a doctor or a professional before making lifestyle or diet changes.

Copyright 2016 by Celeste Lightsey