Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy National Regifting Day to One and All

Who knew we have a National Holiday devoted to Regifting, December 17? Featured in my local newspaper, amidst all the ads, was an article extolling the virtues of regifting. To me this is just common sense, but apparently it is taking on a life of its own, since it perceived as somewhat transgressive. Maybe that was the case when people were materially deprived, or in places where that's still the case, but most of us are drowning in stuff. Any strategy to move it along is sensible.

You can read up on the subject at two cool sites, Regiftable, which is maintained by a financial ed site, Money Management International, and a very funny site, ShamelessRegifting. Apparently people do some pretty dopey things when it comes to regifting, so guidelines are included. I can add a few points:
  • The first is, if you are interested in de-escalating the Gift Arms Race, don't regift. Instead write a personal note and explain that you have more than you need, you presume that's the case for others, and therefore you are doing something else to honor this relationship and occasion, like making a donation to X, Y, or Z. [Of course you need to follow through and actually do this.] If people don't like this, what's the worse that will happen? They'll take you off their lists? For many, you will be an inspiring role model, giving them cover to follow suit. You can always give a little consumable treat along with the note - so you're not cutting back to zero all at once.
  • If you regift, check the gift itself. We were once amused - though not at all offended - to receive a beautiful box a stationery with a card in it. Except the card was written to the giver, not to us. Then there was our friend Josh, who admired a friend's Sherlock Holmes bar mitzvah gift. Dontcha know when Josh's day came around, the friend gave him a copy of this book - except that it was inscribed to his friend. Whoops.
  • Don't keep regifting stock for more than a year or two. Fashions change as does your life stage. I stashed away tons of kids' birthday gifts, and some are still there - though my children are now adults. Anything tech will quickly age, often to the point of obsolescence, so get it off your shelf fast!
  • Remember that gifts as well as regifts are reflections of your persona. If you hate something, just get rid of it. It's bad karma, IMHO, to give it to someone as a gift. Just go with coal in their stocking.
If you have any good regifting stories, we're all ears!

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