Money Matters – Week Before Christmas: Regifting
BOSTON (CBS) – Regifting is a fancy term for something that people have been doing for eons. Passing on as new, a gift someone else gave you.
At our house we call it recycling. It has become so commonplace that there was a Seinfeld episode where a label maker got regifted several times and it was there that the term regifting began.
An article in Time magazine stated that 52% of Americans polled admitted to regifting and 4% said they did so because they disliked the recipient.
So you receive a gift that doesn’t fit, it’s not your color, won’t go with the modern look of your furniture or it came from your brother-in-law in Florida and can’t easily be returned. Or it may be soap or candles from a customer or a patient. Could be a book you’ve already read. So what do you do with them?
Regift! If you do regift there are some guidelines to keep in mind.
You don’t want to regift to the person who originally gave you the gift in the first place or their relatives. So when you receive a gift that is not going to be used label it with the date and the name of the person who gave it to you.
Use a new box, a plain box, not a store box, for you don’t want the recipient thinking you bought the tie at a Macy’s and then have them stand in line to return it. Use new wrapping paper and tissue paper as well.
And of course, the gift should not be tacky, old, dirty or worn from being in your closet or attic. You want new condition and new condition means you did not wear it even just once or if it’s an appliance you did not run the juicer to see how much work it would be to make carrot juice! Even if you washed it, it still has been used!
Items that should not be regifted: Fruitcake, that special holiday CD you got free from the bank or partially used gift cards.
Wine or champagne are ideal items to regift unless someone is a teetotaler or the champagne is the $3 variety. And don’t even consider re-gifting those cheese balls or smoked sausage from that basket that came in the mail. Take them to a potluck supper.
Now there are some of you out there who feel this practice is tacky and you would never do it and then there are others of you who do it all of the time. If you threw a party earlier this month and you received 12 Christmas candles as hostess gifts, how many can you use this season?
One more thing: If you have a closet full of gifts you will never use and think regifting is tacky, sell the old gift on eBay or Craig’s List or give them to the Goodwill.
A fun way to get rid of those gifts you don’t want is to have a party and create a white elephant gift exchange. Everybody wraps something they don’t want (you can make it new or used) and brings it to the party. Everyone draws a number and the person with #1 picks a gift and unwraps it. If the next person wants that gift they can take it, and the first person selects another gift. If not, the 2nd person selects a wrapped gift. And so forth, until all the gifts are gone.
Sometimes you get something you like. Sometimes you end up with something for the Goodwill bag. But everyone gets to open a (at least one) present, and the best part is that no one had to spend any money to generate this fun. It’s just a matter of looking around and finding something you’re ready to pass along to another owner.