Monday, December 22, 2008

It's The Thought That Counts...

It's that time of year again...Christmas is almost upon us and with it, all the pressures that come with it to get the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The truth is though that your friends and loved ones may not love the gifts you've chosen.

Sometimes they'll open the gift, it’s not exactly what they expected or even something they wanted and after they feign excitement for the obligatory amount of time, what do they do with it?

Well, if they're like most Americans, they regift or pass the less than stellar present on to someone else who might enjoy it more.

Wikipedia defines regifting as the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else in the guise of a new gift.

The term was coined on an episode of Seinfeld called "The Label Maker" in which Elaine calls someone a "regifter" after they give Jerry a label-maker that was originally given to them by her.

If you have ever watched "A Christmas Story" you know that Ralphie received one of the worst gifts a young boy could ever get...pink bunny rabbit pajamas. I wonder if they regifted it?

Which brings me to the question...Is it okay to regift?

Heres some tips in case you're stuck with a recyclable gift this year:

No Guilt Necessary

According the President of Ethics at Work, "There is no reason to feel guilty for regifting. The purpose of giving a gift is to give pleasure, to bring joy to someone's life. If for example you already own a copy of the 'Godfather' collection and you know that someone else would like to have it, what's the point in keeping it? It would be wasteful."

Once a gift is given, it's the recipient's to do with as they wish, whether it be returning it or regifting it. Another etiquette expert we spoke to said people are not required to keep something they don't need or like. Good etiquette doesn't require you to keep anything, just that you are grateful when you receive it.

Obligation To Regift

Not only is it okay to regift, some experts say there are times you are morally obligated to regift.

For example, if someone gives you an article of clothing or food that you don't want or don't need but that someone else could benefit from such as a homeless person or a shelter, it's not only a good thing to give it to the shelter, you ought to give it to the shelter. As a bonus, if you do give it to a charity, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Rules Of Regifting

If you plan on regifting, do it with a gift you recently received, in other words, the sooner the better. Otherwise you may forget who gave it to you in the first place and could end up giving the gift back to the original giver.

Also, make sure you give the gift to someone who won't possibly run into the first person. It would be terribly embarrassing if your mother-in-law saw the one of a kind, handmade sweater she gave you on another relative.

The gift should be in its original condition and do your best to remove the evidence by taking off all the original gift tags!

Consider The Recipient

Naturally, if you're regifting, be casual. You don't want to give the recipient the impression you bought the item, spent a lot of time looking for it, picking it out and ordering it.

If the guilt is too much, you may want to be honest with the person you are giving the gift to. You can say "I received this sweater, but am allergic to the fabric and I thought you might like it."

When you're giving the gift out of season for example, not during the holidays or not around one's birthday it is probably fair to tell the person you are regifting so you don't unfairly obligate them to give you a gift in return.

Accepting The Regift

A tip for the giftee: if you suspect you are being given a re-gift, never make mention of it.

If you receive something you're not thrilled with, consider donating it or passing it on to someone you really think would appreciate it or try selling it on eBay.

Have a Merry Christmas and remember it's the thought that counts.

5 Comments:

Anonymous fidelio said...

Regifting is as much a holiday tradition as putting up the Christmas tree. Pass those horrible gifts on to someone more ummm deserving. LOL!

22/12/08 08:20  
Anonymous Sharp As A Marble said...

You are right - it's the thought that counts, but I am guilty of regifting. I'll get rid of that crummy gift in a heartbeat. Useless appliances, ugly clothing and questionable knick-knacks all passed on that relative or co-worker at the bottom of my Christmas list!

22/12/08 13:37  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I have absolutely no problem with regifting. I am as comfortable getting a gift that's being regifted as I am with someone regifting something that I gave to them! It's a sound environmental policy.

22/12/08 16:45  
Anonymous Frank The Crank said...

If someone gives me a present they better include the receipt because I want to know how much they spent and where to return it for cash.

23/12/08 00:12  
Anonymous Season said...

I don't think regifting is right unless you donate it. I wouldn't want someone elses crappy gift. Chances are if you are regifting, it was a really bad present to begin with.

26/12/08 05:25  

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