January 14, 2015

The Dos & Don’ts Behind Re-Gifting.

Bucky the Squirrel

The beautiful, sweet but kinda-kitschy necklace your grandma gave you for Christmas that says, “Embrace Your Uniqueness”?

You don’t want it.

Your friend Dorothy, on the other hand, genuinely loves that stuff. She collects it and nails it to her ceiling intermittently with silk scarves, a Pinterest maneuver. She repurposes inspiring necklaces as beaded curtains for her daughter’s dollhouse.

You’re guiltily debating whether to ask your well-intended grandmother for her Macy’s receipt, cast the necklace in your never-wear jewelry pile or toss it toward Dorothy, who would catch it like a bridal bouquet.

Spare your conscience for Somalia. Here’s why re-gifting is a good thing:

1. It kills clutter and minimizes waste. Shedding what we don’t want simplifies our lives; we need more stuff we need and less stuff we don’t. Google’s definition of waste: “material that is not wanted; an act or instance of using or expending something carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.” We can better keep track of, appreciate and care for what has genuine value to us.

2. It makes someone else happy. People like getting what they want. By thoughtfully re-gifting, we increase the happiness ROI of the initial purchase.

3. It makes us happy. Below caption is courtesy of my roommate, who gave me a leather fanny pack, which I love, actually.


4. It extends the gift-giving season. High expectations and disappointments surrounding the last few weeks of the year sometimes overwhelm the initial sentiment. By re-gifting in January, February and for the rest of the year, we perpetuate the feel-good without the holiday baggage—literally.

5. Returns are a pain. I’m currently wading through the lengthy process of returning the snood I bought my mom from an obscure European boutique. Do I wish she’d just “loved it” and re-gifted it? Yep.

When re-gifting isn’t a good thing:

1. Your dad asked a million times if you liked it, insisted he could take it back and spent a lot of money on it. He wants to get you the right thing and you owe it to his sense of satisfaction to comply. Good communication, not re-gifting, is in order.

2. Someone made something especially for you. If you re-gifted it and the new recipient asked its origin, you’d have to tell them, “My Aunt Delilah made it just for me,” or lie. Both are bad.

3. The new recipient knows and will see again the initial gift-giver. Re-gifting shouldn’t be secretive, but we should practice tact. If your circle is too close knit to make re-gifting comfortable or appropriate, consider re-gifting to those in need, i.e. the Goodwill and clothes drives. There are children who could use the faux alligator satchel from your cousin as a hat, or something.

Proceed with caution, but do proceed. Our later-in-life selves will thank us.

Happy re-gifting season! May it make your life lighter, simpler and be of benefit to others.


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Author: Caroline Beaton

Editor: Renee Picard

Photos: Tumblr, Pikabu

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