Monday, December 13, 2010

How To Regift On The Down Low

With many Americans low on extra cash this year, the prevailing question, "To regift, or not to regift?" has probably come up for many of you.  While some may see this as a tacky practice, I'm all for recycling when it's both possible and practical.

Here are 5 simple rules for keeping your holiday recycling under wraps:

Rule #1 - Give only with good intentions. Don’t just give a gift simply for the sake of giving a gift. Be sure that the item is something the recipient will genuinely appreciate. Remember, if you feel that an item is ugly, tacky or just plain undesirable, the recipient probably will too. If you are regifting simply because you ran out of time to shop, gift cards are easy to buy and will more than likely always work.

Related Post: Is Money A Thoughtful Gift?

Rule #2 -Understand the difference between regifting and giving a hand-me-down.  Regifting is giving away a gift you've never used - in most cases to pass off as an original gift. Giving a hand-me-down is giving away a gift you've used, but believe the other person will either use more or enjoy more.  Hand-me-downs should be acknowledged as something both you and the recipient mutually recognize as being used. They can be given as a "just because" gift, but usually not the main Christmas gift. Attempting to pass off a gift you've opened and used before as a new gift is where the tackiness can really come into play.  

Rule #3 - Keep it on the down low. In the all too relevant words of R.Kelly and Ron Isley, "Nobody has to know." Some believe that telling someone that you've basically regifted is the good wholesome thing to do. I think that's a sure fire way to lose a friend. Why would you need to say, "I received two of these and wanted to give you one?" or "My aunt gave me this vase and it didn't look good in my house . . . " That's something you'd say if you were giving it to someone on any given day, but as their main Christmas gift? Probably not. Also, letting folks know that you are a regifter makes everyone raise a brow everytime you hand something out.

Rule #4 - Clean packaging and update the wrapping. The worse thing you can do is present a dirty or dusty gift to anyone. If you've decided to regift something from a year or two ago, at least make sure you've cleaned the packaging thoroughly and its void of all wrinkles, cracks or tears. Remove all identifying tags, change the wrapping and add fresh tissue paper. Remember, while gift bags can be reused multiple times, wrapping paper is a one time deal. You've already saved on the cost of the gift; don't go overboard!

Related Post: 7 Tips To Spend Less And Erase Holiday Stress

Rule #5 - Make sure the original giver never finds out.  No matter what your rational is for giving away a gift, the original giver could really be hurt or offended if they find out you a. didn't find their gift useful or b. hated it all together.  The first step to making sure the original giver never finds out is to never give the original giver back their gift AND never giving the gift to someone who actually knows you both. If you're really into regifting, keep a small notebook of who gave you what. I know someone who once regifted a pair of earrings to an aunt; the problem was her cousin had given them to her two or three years before. She forgot, but her relatives didn't.

I have no qualms about regifting when done properly. If done carelessly, regifting can be a recipe for embarrasment and awkward holiday gatherings for years to come. Done with precision and tactfulness, it can truly be a happy holiday experience for all.

If you happen to have any regifting horror stories, please feel free to share with the readers of Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth.  We're always looking for a little holiday cheer!

Until Next Time,

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Happy Holidays!


Arlice Nichole said...

These rules really rock--as all your posts! I gotta share these on my FB page.

Rae'Johne Smith said...

Re-gifting is a very new shopping alternative that we as Americans in a struggling economy are going to have to start to consider. I remember my aunt gave my aunt-in-law a gift that her mother-in-law had given her ON THE SAME DAY! When it happened, all of us thought it was horrible, even though my anunt-in-law never actually found out, because it was a "tacky" thing to do. However, the gift she was given, which was a bath set, she already had PLENTY of, so why spend money on a gift when you have one already? Thanks for the advice!