Regifting: All's Fair, If You Play by the Rules

Think of it this way: It's not regifting, it's recycling! With concern and loving thought

by Linda Yellin
Photograph: Oliver Munday

Last year my Aunt Judy gave me a blouse for Christmas. Her size, not mine. Orange. (I look terrible in orange.) In a plain white box. The problem was the little card that fell out from beneath the tissue: Happy Birthday, Judy. Talk about your awkward moments. “Busted,” Aunt Judy said.

I, too, have a regift closet. It’s where I stash those strange candlesticks, questionable house slippers and anything rose scented. Half my holiday shopping is already complete! But here’s where I pride myself: I strain to match my castoffs with their recipients. You don’t entertain? No seashell napkin rings for you. Your name begins with a K? Forget the monogrammed hand towels. I’ll save them for a Lisa, Lana or Lenore.

OK, there was the time I regifted a waffle maker to Bonnie at her baby shower, forgetting I’d gotten it from Charlotte, who also attended. Whoops. (Tip: Keep a list of who gave you what; say things like, “I loved mine so much, I knew Bonnie would want one, too.”) And when cousin Denise decided to return the striped wool scarf because she didn't need another (neither did I), I mumbled something about a stolen wallet and lost receipts. But except for those mishaps, I don’t consider myself a regifter. I’m an environmentalist. I recycle. With concern and loving thought. And as soon as I remove a Happy Birthday, Linda card, I hope Aunt Judy enjoys those rose-scented soaps she’s getting for Christmas. 

Next: Personalized Photo Gift Ideas

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First published in the December 2012/January 2013 issue

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