Re-gifting Without Shame

As the mother of two young children and recipient of many odd, duplicate, or "way too cute" gifts, I have become a "regifter". There, I've said it. Whether regifting is your answer to a penny-pinched shopping season, you're a chronic regifter, or if you truly believe some one else will covet the copper pumpkin potpourri holder you received last year - here are some tips for removing the "tacky" taboo from this timeless holiday tradition.

  • New or Used. A key distinction which ultimately defines a "regift" is whether or not it's been used before. A good guideline is if it's been used in any capacity, such as shoes worn a couple of times before you realized a 4" heel was a bad idea - it's a hand-me-down, not a gift. Real gifts are not previously used by the gifter - heirlooms being the exception.
  • Rewrap. This is important... if you adhere to no other "rule" of regifting, you must pay attention to this one. Remove and discard the old wrapping and gift card. There's nothing wrong with passing along one of the nine dolls your daughter received, just spend a few minutes wrapping it with personal care for the newest, appreciative little recipient.
  • What happens here, stays here. There is no reason - aside from unnecessary guilt - that you would need to disclose the origin of the gift. Except, for example, if you're unknowlingly regifting a personalized item... like, say a baby blanket with a miniscule, illegible embroidery of your child's name that you mistook for a duck - then you should just come clean while earnestly battling the threads applied by an industrial sewing machine.
  • Know the origins. If regifting turns out to be your thing, then get organized about it. Keep a log of who originally gave you the gift as there is no more embarrassing gifting moment than giving back to your coworker the hideous scarf that she gave you two years ago.
  • Other do's and don'ts. Don't regift socks, street corner purchases, soaps, fruitcake, products from out-of-business retailers/companies, broken toys or those without instructions, or dirty kitchen appliances. These may seem obvious, but if they've made this list then, trust me, it's been done.

This year will present many money-saving opportunities, so consider regifting just one tool in the fight against over-gifting, and the never-ending quest to remove "unappreciated" items from your own home. Let the rewrapping begin!

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