12.04.2006

Regifting is not a dirty word...if done right

I know that regifting may be considered a "how dare you!" concept by some. Sure, you hate what you got, but the person probably meant well and you should be thankful for his/her kindness. I do appreciate the gesture, and I don't like to regift, but it's economically and environmentally sound. If you can't use it, why waste it? It's just going to sit around taking up valuable space, or worse yet, contributing to dangerous methane buildup at the local landfill. It's best to give it to someone else who can and wants to use it.

That said, there are some ground rules to regifting:

1) Don't give it away if you think it's junk. Seriously.

2) Give it to someone whom you know will and can appreciate it. This includes fit when it comes to clothing. Don't try to palm stuff off on people--it'll do more harm than good for all parties involved. You don't want people to hate you, not just for the lousy gift, but for wasting money/time/thought on a nice gift for you.

3) If you can't keep track of where things came from, don't regift. It's the equivalent of a slap in the face for the recipient, and there's nothing more embarrassing than "didn't I get this for you last year?" In the event that you get yourself stuck in this situation (which I hope will never happen), smile and say, "yes, you did. That's why I got one for you--you said liked it too and wanted it for yourself, so now we have matching [fill in blank here]."

4) Generally speaking, don't give it away if you've already used it. The only exception is when the item is still in pristine condition after a single use. In my book, pristine means almost perfect, never washed or otherwise cleaned (but still remains clean). The single very light use of a handbag, sweater/coat (as long as something was worn underneath), or an electrical item (running for a very, very short amount of time for testing) would fit the bill.

Corollary: unless you know the person is into vintage things, don't ever give anything second-hand from a flea market or a thrift store.

5) If an original box/package is involved and you've opened it, try to restore to the original condition as best as you can. Glue may work better than tape for this purpose. If you can't restore it to the point where no one can tell, don't bother giving it away.

6) Make sure that the person you got the thingus from and the person who will receive the thingus will not be at the same situs at the time gifts are exchanged. Better yet, make sure that those two parties do not know each other.

7) If the thingus has been sitting around for a few years, make sure it's still usable. By usable, I mean fully functional, not technologically defunct, and not out of style.

8) Make sure no dates are printed on the box/packaging, and that the box/packaging does not show its age through natural decay (fading, yellowing, etc.).

If you got something you don't want to keep this year, make sure you make a note of who it's from when you get home. That'll definitely minimize the risk of regifting-related embarrassment next year.

3 comments:

hebden said...

Great post...one person's love is another person's horror so I say re-gift if you know the person will like it.

The Bargain Queen said...

I wish there was a subtle way I could give this to some of my relatives... I'd love to stop receiving grotty, obviously second-hand gifts!

I'm all for recycling unwanted gifts, but some things are best sent to the Salvos :)

Sales Rack Raider said...

Sorry to hear that you're getting sucky gifts. Maybe you can send them a "public service announcement" with a bunch of links to "funny Christmas shopping stories." =)