The Gift that Keeps on Giving

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Kim Donahue - Student Journalist - By: Kate Murphy - Student Journalist -
Regifts. Photo credit to adoptionbirthmothers.com

Regifts. Photo credit to adoptionbirthmothers.com

There's no better excitement than the sheer ripping and tearing of holiday wrapping paper on Christmas morning. This year was no exception. The only downside is when your excitement is deflated when you see that your cousin Martha gave you a floral-painted gravy boat.

As much as we don't want to admit it, we all know this "What am I ever going to do with this?" feeling. After digging around for the gift receipt in vain, you may feel guilty or think the situation is hopeless. Do not fear, dear friends - we have a solution for you: regifting.

Regifting has inherent benefits. Regifting saves money, reduces landfill waste, and if you're thoughtful and meaningful about how you do it, ends with a happy recipient. 

Despite our support for regifting, it's still a touchy subject. No one would ever want to offend a loved one or suffer the embarrassment getting caught in the regifting act. However, if you are ready to take the chance, here are the regifting etiquette rules:

1. Be honest with yourself.

The second you open the box containing that tacky sweater or unneeded kitchen appliance, you know if you're going to use it or lose it. Don't be in denial, thinking that maybe you'll change your mind. Those unworn and unused material items in your closet and garage prove otherwise. Trust your gut on whether you'll use your gift or should consider regifting it.

2. Make sure regifting makes sense.

Not every present you receive and don't like is a good candidate for the act of regifting. Before putting it in your regifting pile, ask ourself if you could give it to someone else without feeling a sense of guilt or embarrassment. If the gift-giver spent a great amount of time, thought, and care into choosing the gift for you, consider holding onto it instead of risking hurt feelings. Personalized or monogrammed items are almost always off-limits for regifting, except in the unlikely case you share a name with someone else. And don't try to get away with regifting anything used, either. Please.

3. Label to-be-regifted items.

Every regifter's worst nightmare is being caught. Even worse: accidentally giving the gift back to the original giver. Ouch. How do you prevent this disaster? It's easy - make sure to label items you plan to regift with the name of the original giver. Write down others who saw you open the gift as well, since there's a chance they could recognize the gift later. It may seem like a lot of work, but it'll save your behind in the end.

4. Check the packaging.

Before regifting, make sure to erase any evidence that the item was originally intended for you. Did Aunt Paula tuck a loving note inside a vase that looks like a unicorn? Did Uncle Ned write your name on the box for you? Be thorough in your search, and get rid of any packaging or personalization; that's a giveaway it's a regift.

5. Find the right recipient.

The regifted present should be a good fit for the recipient, not just a money-saving way for you to get rid of something you don't want. Yes, it may be a regifted item, but still put some thought behind it. Thoughtfulness is always key.

6. Wrap it right.

Just because you're regifting doesn't mean you can rewrap your gift with the same paper and packaging that it came in. Put some effort in the wrapping; you saved time and money by regifting, so the least you could do it "wrap it right." Take the time to put the gift in a fresh box with new paper. The thoughtful presentation will make your regifted item less likely to be detected.

7. If in doubt, consider alternatives.

If you're not sure if you should regift something, you might be better off looking at other options for your unwanted stuff. A few include:

Returning it.

You might be able to return your gift to the retailer and get store credit to spend on something you like better than a sweater with a galloping antelope wearing a top hat.

Selling it online.

Someone else might be willing to buy what you don't want, even if the item isn't brand spanking new.

Donating it.

For stuff you can't sell or return, charities accept almost anything that's still useful. Anytime is the right time to give a donation or gift to a charity.

Have no fear - regifting does not mean that you will be on Santa's 2014 "Naughty List." Regifting is not something to be ashamed of; regifting, when done right, can be considerate. By putting in the time and effort of thoughtfulness, regifting the chrome candelabra or purple potato masher can be a way to keep the gift-giving season of Christmas alive all year long.

Ta ta for now,

Kate and Kim