Ok, you got your stuff. All those presents you did or did not need. Those gifts that are so tacky that even Goodwill won’t take them. Those gifts that look like someone else used them. Now what do you do? Here is my annual guide to regifting so as not to appear as a tacky, self-centered snob.
Disclaimer: If you have ever given me a gift, this post does not apply to you. You have wonderfully impeccable taste. It only applies to those who are not as tasteful as you!
So you have a couple…ummm…..odd or goofy gifts…frankincense and myrrh come to mind. What on earth would a young couple with a new baby and a donkey do with frankincense and myrrh! How about diapers or formula? They called them the three wise men. I can tell you three wise women would never have given those gifts! A couple of onesies and some formula maybe but frankincense, no!
We all received something that makes us scratch our head! Maybe a gift that you already have or in a size or color that just won’t work. Perhaps some hand-painted pictures for over the mantle by a totally unknown (and never to be known) artist or even worse…by a friend or relative or even worse…a painting of Elvis on black velvet. I have the solution for you.
I confess I regift. It goes along with my recycling personality which was nurtured by my mother who grew up during the depression. Everyone has their own feelings about it but I believe that the best tribute to a friend who has given you a gift is to ensure that it is used and enjoyed — even if it’s used by someone else.
I am hard to buy for. I like what I like. If you take the time to really know me, it’s not so bad but for those who have better things to do, it’s tough.
So what do I usually get? With my love of cats, I get cat stuff. Fortunately, that is waning. I don’t keep a lot of tchotchkes in my house. I don’t like to dust. The cats knocked them over, etc. Ironically, the few I have are ducks which intrigue me. (Note to friends: do not buy me more duck stuff.) Then there are always gift certificates, candles, ornaments, soaps, lotions and that kind of thing. Those are good things because you use them.
Occasionally, I get something that I really don’t like or can’t use because of the size, colors or scent. If they are lovely, I will regift to someone who I believe would love them. The key is that it fits the person. You can’t regift to get out of buying a present.
I have been doing this for thirty years. Here are some pointers that work for me:
- For goodness sakes, don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you even if you know they would love it, unless it’s a joke gift. In that case, they deserve it!
- Don’t regift anything that is ugly or useless. Yes, occasionally you get those. I once received a pot pourri burner that wasn’t stable. It was just asking to burn down the house. THROW THEM OUT!
- Don’t regift anything that is personalized unless there is another person with your name. I once received a coffee mug with my name on it in old German script. It was one of the ugliest mugs ever. I was going to give it to someone else with my first name but I just couldn’t do it. (See second bullet.)
- You can’t regift it if you used it — like a burned candle or a worn sweater. Tacky! It must be brand new or the gig is up. For heaven’s sakes don’t return an article of clothing you wore to the store because for sure I will buy it and smell the armpits!
- If you aren’t immediately regifting, be sure to put a post-it identifying where it came from (see first bullet). Trust me, you will thank me later!
- Also be sure to rewrap and check for cards in the box. I learned that lesson the hard way. Ouch!
- Sometimes you can donate to an organization for raffles or Chinese auctions. That is another good use only if the giver isn’t there. I put together a bunch of cat stuff in a basket for a Chinese auction. There was a bidding war! For poorly made cat statues? Would you believe that?
- Regift outside of the circle that it came from. If it’s from family, regift to a co-worker. If it’s from work, regift to family or friends unless they overlap.
Sometimes you are just stuck. Someone important bought you something they expect to see either in your house or on your body. Suck it up and use it for a short period of time. Hope they forget about it.
When I buy a gift that is not regifted, I include the receipt along with a note that encourages the receiver to keep or exchange as they wish. I would much prefer if they have something they like rather than a closet of unused gifts from me.
I am all ears if you have any other suggestions! By the way, my sister-in-law actually LIKES fruitcake just in case you received one of those that needs a home.
I have no idea what you would do with frankincense and myrrh but I can offer some ideas for the gold!