Christmas is fast approaching, which means it’s time for Christmas shopping and exchanging gifts. Chances are, most of us will receive a gift or two that we either don’t want or don’t need. Though I do hope you were able to grit your teeth, form a fake smile and manage at least a pleasant ‘thank you’ when you opened the unwanted gift.
So what do you do with that gift? Do you add it to the clutter in your closet where it will never be used, do you donate it to a charitable organization, do you return it for a better gift of your choice or do you re-gift it? I’m sure that in today’s difficult economy, more people will consider re-gifting items as a way to save money.
Is Re-Gifting Tacky or Resourceful?
I know there are many people out there who believe that re-gifting is tacky and should never be done under any circumstances. But, I’m a frugal person by nature, and I want things to be used instead of wasted. Personally, I have no problem re-gifting something or receiving a re-gifted present – as long as it is done well.
Though to avoid all of that mess, if a gift receipt is included in your bag or box, in my opinion, that is the gift giver’s way of saying – “if there is something else you want, I’d like you to get it”, so this makes your life much easier when it comes to an unwanted gift.
Some may also have the fear that if the giver of the gift finds out that the gift has been re-gifted, returned or stuffed in a closet somewhere to be forgotten about, then it will affect their relationship. So if you feel that someone is going to be upset at you for returning a gift, then even if you will never, never, ever use it – keep it. The relationship means more than an unwanted gift. In a year or so, you can feel free to donate it to your favorite charity.
Simple Rules for Re-Gifting
If you are going to re-gift something, you should follow these simple rules:
- If you wouldn’t want to receive the item (or something comparable) as a re-gifted item, do not re-gift it.
- Only re-gift items in new condition and good working order.
- Remove the old gift tag and make a new one. Don’t get busted by leaving the original gift tag in place!
- Re-gift it outside your normal circle of friends and family. For example, don’t re-gift the wineglasses you received at your wedding to people who were actually at your wedding!
- Re-gift items you know the other person will use or appreciate. For example, you receive an extra copy of a book you think someone will like, you receive a gift card to a store you don’t shop at, or a bottle of wine when you won’t drink, etc.
- Do not re-gift items that are personalized to you or are handmade.
- Give it as a white elephant gift. Re-gifting is the point if white elephant giving anyways!
- Be honest about it. Something like “I received this and thought it was more your style,” may be all you need to smooth it over.
- Turn it into a game. Receive an unwanted gift, hand it back next year, repeat. The ultimate story in re-gifting took place between two brothers-in-law in Minnesota. It started when one man received a pair of moleskin pants, gave them to his brother-in-law and they began exchanging it between each other, eventually trying to one up each other in terms of creativity. The re-gifting escalated from giving wrapped pants in a box, to wrapping them in a 1-inch pipe, all the way to encasing them in concrete, putting them in the glove box of a car – then crushing the car and delivering it to the other person’s front porch, to putting them inside a concrete filled tank. You can read the full story here: The Moleskin Pants Story.
5 Ways To Get Rid of Unwanted Gifts – That Doesn’t Include “Re-Gifting”
1. Sell it on eBay or Craigslist. You can sell everything on eBay and with a quick introduction to a few money making ebay strategies you will be well on your way to having a pocket full of cash instead of an unwanted gift (or even a duplicate).
2. Sell Your Unwanted Git Cards. Of course, if it is a gift card you can follow these suggestions for selling gift cards. But, you might be looking for other creative options for trading, selling, and exchanging gift cards.
3. Donate it. If you ever feel overwhelmed by all your gifts at Christmas you could consider donating it to a local charity. The gift will certainly mean more to them than it will to your closet. Why let something gather mothballs when it can be used?
4. Return it. Around the holidays most companies have fairly liberal return policies. If you don’t have a receipt but you do have a tag, you can often politely request to exchange the product for something else. Of course, returning it is simplified if you have a gift receipt.
5. Be negligent. Accidentally leave it somewhere that you know the dog will eat it.
So what do you think about re-gifting? Good, bad, ugly? Any other re-gifting rules I missed? What do you do with those pesky unwanted gifts? Do you fear you will be asked about the gift at a later date? Well my approach to this is easy, I have this personal integrity policy that makes this question simple for me. My policy is this – I don’t lie. While I’m sure you could come up with some creative lies, I think the truth presented with a little icing on top is the best approach.