REGIFTING, SEINFELDModern mythology places the origins of re-gifting to an episode of SEINFELD, that’s more urban legend than reality. Although the Seinfeld episode probably brought the idea and the name into the popular conscience, people have been re-gifting since the before humans recycled #2 plastic. It has gotten so prevalent that one web site is promoting National Re-Gifting Day, that would be the Thursday before Christmas for those who are wondering. None of this would have happened if we didn’t have a problem.

Every holiday season, we all receive gifts that makes us gag or are destined to collect dust in an out of the way closet. It could be a fifth of booze for the recovering alcoholic; clothing that isn’t only the wrong size, but truly hideous; a decorative item that best suited for gracing the confines a round filing cabinet; these and more, are unwanted.  Perhaps they can be returned, but not knowing from whence they were spawned makes that difficult. Asking the giver is a landmine of poorly navigated manner and dicey feelings. The modern alternative to those deep, dark closets has been re-gifting.
It just makes sense. It’s the best kind of recycling. It’s a money saver. It’s ecologically sensitive and in the nest of all possible worlds, it means giving a nice gift to someone who will appreciate it.  But before you decide to take that remarkably, amazing item from its place of banishment and bestowing it on a trusting friend, beware. Re-gifting requires commonsense and tact. The cognoscenti of these issues, etiquette experts, have nothing against re-gifting as long as it’s done correctly. As expected, there are rules. Here are a few.
•   The re-gifted item has to be brand new.  A pre-worn, obviously opened item is a no-no.

• Handmade gifts should not be re-gifted unless it is of very high quality.

• Never re-gift promotional items unless it is in good fun or a jest.

• Never re-gift in the same circle or don’t re-gift where you eat. For example, don’t re-gift something gotten at the office back into the office. That’s just asking for trouble.
• Be sure to check expiration dates. Anything that has a short term life span or is even about to expire is not something to re-gift. This includes Gift Cards, more on that in a second.

• Only re-gift things that are appropriate to the person receiving the gift. Don’t just ‘unload’ something on someone else. That’s tacky. Ask yourself, “Is your intention good?”

• Make sure the gift looks good. Clean if needed. Re-wrap and retag.

• If an item is age inappropriate, re-gift it when it is appropriate.

• The person who gave the original gift should not know it has been given to someone else.

• The person getting a re-gifted item should not know it is a ‘re-gift’.

• Some gifts can be put on a ‘re-gifting shelf’. Then when a birthday or other gift giving time comes up, a perfect gift may be available. Be sure to put a post-it on the gift citing the name of the person who gave it originally. That way you don’t re-gift it to the person who gave it to you in the first place.
• One option to re-gifting is donating the item to a worthy cause.

Remember we mentioned Gift card earlier? Some folks will re-gift them. This can be problematic. Some cards have processing fees, monthly fees or expiration dates. Any or all can diminish the gift in the yes of the giftee. If Gift Cards are something on your re-gifting list, be very careful. It can easily be a bad idea.

Overall, re-gifting fits nicely into our post-millennium culture. It’s frugal, environmentally sound and it can bring pleasure to all concerned. The key to successful re-gifting is use common sense and follow the rules. Now if I can only find a home for that paint by numbers cute kitty set?


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