I’m sure re-gifting has been around before the phrase was popularized by Seinfeld but Seinfeld put a bit of a negative spin on the concept. I would like to address the topic on a more objective level.
The concept is basically giving a gift that was given to you, but for me that extends to another level of giving something that you already have regardless of where it came from. It’s the thought that counts, right?
But how do you determine for what items, or when this is appropriate?
These are not hard and fast rules, but this is the re-gifting guidelines I live by.
1. Keep it material
I think that the thought is what counts and if someone actually put a good deal of thought or time into a gift, or even made the gift for you themselves, that gift is somewhat off limits for re-gifting. This also depends on who gave the gift, but for the most part, if someone put that much thought into something, they probably care about whether or not you enjoy and keep the gift. You will know the person better than me; some people will be more laid back about what you do with a gift after its given. Those people are typically the people that put a great deal of thought into a gift but don’t trust that they know you as well as they think so they include the gift receipt. They would prefer you be happy in the end, so re-gift away.
2. Take note of the expiration date
For me, I give gifts about a one year window of expiration. What this means is if I am given a gift, regardless of how cool or great I think it is, if I haven’t used it, picked it up or moved it from where it was set down since it was received, that gift has expired and should be redirected outwardly. This goes especially well with unopened gifts that are still in the original plastic wrap such as movies or games but again, remember rule number one.
3. Long live the useful
Some gifts are awesome and get used a great deal but once their purpose has been fulfilled, they begin to clutter. If that gift is in good shape and you feel it could serve the same purpose for someone else, pass that gift along. The beauty of this is two fold. One, you are reusing something which is good for the environment and saved you money. Two, that gift now falls into the category of sentimentally valued.
As an addition to this, gifts that are no longer manufactured and hard to find can be great re-gifts. My parents gave me a music box that connects to your Christmas tree and blinks the Christmas lights to the beat of the music. I grew up to this same box every Christmas and wanted one but they are no longer manufactured or sold anywhere, not even knockoffs so this gift was very special to me.
Some things to keep in mind, Christmas is a time to cherish your relationships and give with all your heart. Re-gifting in my opinion is not for the cheap, but for the resourceful and thoughtful. If you think someone else may find value in something you have, give it to them. Don’t be a jerk and re-gift garbage.
Image by TheTruthAbout..