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The Merry-Go Round of Regifting

How To Regift If You Have To

Whenever a large scale exchange of holiday gifts occurs in the tradition of making merry, there is bound to be some dismay. Duplicate gadgets, garments of incorrect size or style, and unsuitable items languish under the tree. Inevitably these orphans are banished to basements, attics, garages, closet shelves not easy to reach, or–regifted. One can only hope and assume there is a code of etiquette adhered to when riding the merry-go-round of regurgitating gifts so tackiness does not escalate to tactlessness in the guise of not getting caught.

1. Have the foresight to rewrap and re-bow a present for its second debut.

2.  Keep a ledger to make sure the original gifter isn’t your recipient on the rebound. To play it safe, regift outside your social circle of friends.

3. Don’t even think about regifting something gently used or worn.

4. Don’t regift telltale items such as those relating to your own special interests or hobbies.   It goes without saying—monogrammed items are taboo.

It is one thing to be frugal when spending money on holiday gifts to the point where you might find it necessary to eliminate people from your list to stay solvent.  So be it.  However, in my view, the common surreptitious practice of regifting will always retain the stigma of poor taste regardless of inoffensive intentions and procedural etiquette on the part of the regifter. Bottom line–regifting is self-serving. Beneath the fresh wrap and neat bow lurks the motive to get rid of unwanted merchandise without shelling out a penny for the next benefactor in the round robin.

I propose the altruistic alternative of the “give away.” There are plenty of disenfranchised people in society who don’t have the luxury of surplus living and would appreciate donations on their behalf.   The sales of donations to Good Will stores support programs that help people in our community. Big Sisters, accepts gently used clothing and small household items to support their mentoring programs for girls at risk. The Salvation Army’s holiday store could use our unwanted clothing, gadgets, or toys to meet the needs of those less fortunate.

So, instead of  regifting or hosting a White Elephant Party for swapping “ les miserables,” imagine a social gathering for the purpose of collecting surplus goods or clothing for those in need. Most nonprofitable organizations do the honor of curbside pick ups and welcome clothing drives. For the solo enthusiast, their convenient donation bins are scattered throughout the land.

Après the season, instead of riding the merry-go-round of regifting, each of us should make a concerted effort to parcel our unwanted wares to those in need– be it individual or charitable organization. The “give away” reminds us to appreciate the original intent behind the gesture of gift giving in the first place as we pay a kindness forward.

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