I don’t care who you are or what you say; holiday shopping is not fun. Trying to figure out what everyone on your list wants; fighting pushy, obnoxious crowds and bumper-to-bumper traffic; and the hit to your wallet are just some of the reasons “the most wonderful time of the year” can be a wonderful pain in the ass.
Most people just tough it out, fight the masses and worry about the credit card bills in January. Others have taken on another method – re-gifting.
Re-gifting – giving someone a gift that was previously given to you – is an unspoken, yet often cherished, holiday tradition. Whether you know it or not, it’s probably happened to you at some point, and perhaps you do it yourself. Some feel it’s cheap, underhanded and unemotional. Others feel it’s perfectly acceptable. After all, gift-giving gets more and more out of hand each year, and maybe you just don’t have the time or money to go out and buy gifts for every relative, friend, associate, co-worker and acquaintance out there.
Or, perhaps, you’re just plain thrifty, one who scrimps and saves everything they can. More often than not, however, re-gifters are those who are trying to unload an unsavory gift that they don’t want onto someone else.
Whatever the reason, re-gifting has become such a phenomenon, it has spawned it’s own set of rules. From information gathered from re-gifters themselves, these rules help ensure that the re-gifting deed goes unnoticed. Some of the rules are obvious, and the general idea is to fool the giftee into thinking that a lot of time, thought and money were put into the gift.
The No. 1 rule is to never, ever re-gift the original givers. It’s almost certain they’ll know, considering they gave the gifts in the first place. Not only will they be upset that you didn’t like the gift, they’ll also be upset that you put absolutely no thought into the gift you’re giving them. A side note to this rule is to never re-gift to anyone who was present when you originally opened the gift. You may think your “poker face” was strong, but your friends and family saw the look in your eyes when you received that rhinestone-studded Christmas tree tie, and it’s likely they thought it was as ugly as you did. And, they’ll remember it. But, your co-workers likely weren’t there, so re-gift your unwanted onto them.
Another rule is to make sure you cover your tracks. A gift that is broken or used will likely be questioned, as will dust, finger prints, wear and tear, tape marks, dated items, and, obviously, the original card or tag. If you’re going to re-gift, make sure the gift seems new and fresh, not like something from a garage sale or flea market. On the same note, a fancy box and flashy wrapping paper can help conceal an otherwise ho-hum gift. As they say, it’s all about presentation.
And speaking of presentation, your own acting abilities need to come into play when re-gifting. When the re-giftee opens that box, smile brightly, get excited and act like you just gave away something you yourself would cherish and desire. Seeming like you’re an authentically generous and thoughtful person, one who only cares enough to give the very best, goes a long way. Throw in a story about how much time and effort you spent to find the perfect gift, and the giftee will have no choice but to think you’re sincere (diabolical, I know).
Now that you know how it’s done, you may find it more acceptable. Or, you may think it’s even more despicable than you did before. Either way, know that it happens and that it could happen to you. If you’ve got the time and the means, then go ahead and buy new, flashy gifts every year. If you don’t, than maybe, just maybe, you can pull off re-gifting. Just be very, very careful.
Now matter what side of the fence you’re on, remember this: when giving and receiving gifts, and especially during the holiday season, it’s the thought that counts.