How to re-gift and not get caught
National Regifting Day celebrates the fact that most people think giving a gift they no longer want is OK.
Make it a green Christmas, you say? That can go a long way past decking the halls with boughs of holly, piney wreaths and all that Yuletide verdure.
This Thursday, Dec. 16, marks National Regifting Day and finally, we have a contrived holiday that avoids making you needlessly consume -- either by buying or eating. In fact, the message of National Regifting Day stresses quite the opposite: Consume less by passing on those ghosts, er, "gifts" of Christmas Past instead of buying more stuff.
Don't worry about being typecast as the Secret Santa Scrooge of your workplace, either. The folks at Regiftable.com, which is promoting the itinerant holiday, insist you'll land in good company this year. They proclaim: "In case you are hesitant to break tradition, you can rest assured that the majority (60%) of people think that re-gifting is becoming more accepted; the top reasons are to save some green." Post continues after video:
Regiftable.com, in case you were wondering, is an extension of Money Management International -- a fabulous nonprofit group that knows how deep in debt people tend to get around the holidays. You can see how the "going green" theme gains an interesting twist here.
Because folks spend too much during most Decembers, and wind up paying a fortune in credit card interest charges, National Regifting Day focuses on a multilevel goal: Get people to spend less, consume less, and clear out closets of unwanted stuff that might just make a co-worker happy.
As for why the Regiftable folks chose Dec. 16, they said:
This date is particularly appropriate since, according to our unscientific research, the third Thursday of December is the most common day for a holiday office party. And, according to our very scientific research, four in 10 re-gifters (41%) target co-workers as the recipients of their re-gifts.
"Scientific research," eh? Sounds like something we need in order to concoct an antidote for holiday fruitcake. At any rate, the folks at Regiftable.com have concluded thus:
- Most people (62%) say they re-gift because they think the item is something the recipient would really like, up from 53% who answered similarly in 2005.
- More than four in 10 people (42%) say that they re-gift to save money, up 27% since 2005 (when only 33% claimed to re-gift for monetary reasons).
- One in four (25%) of people think re-gifting is becoming more acceptable because it is a way to save money on holiday expenses.
- Another 14% believe that re-gifting is more acceptable because it is a method of recycling.
In case you're wondering how to approach re-gifting without striking a sour note at the office bash, here are some hints to look bright while you make the season even brighter:
- If the item is even slightly used, do one of three things: a) restore it to pristine condition, b) work the "used" condition to your advantage (as a gag gift, for example), or c) repurpose the gift in some clever, creative way. Anyone up for swapping crania on bobbleheads?
- Don't re-gift randomly. The burly boss who loves cigars probably wouldn't appreciate dainty dish towels, nor would your sports-oblivious colleague go for that Yankees pencil sharpener. If it's really "the thought that counts," put plenty of thought into who's getting what.
- If you have a re-gift, flaunt it. Many office parties suffer from the pathetic patina of co-workers trying to conjure enthusiasm for half-hearted giving. You could always enclose a note explaining National Regifting Day, and why you're trying to make a difference without compromising on gift quality. (Enclosing a coffee shop gift card as a little bonus might not hurt, either.)
- Re-gift festively. Make the whole affair fun by doing an office silent auction on your re-gifts. Donate the money to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen, where it will go to excellent use. What's more, a silent auction is always fun, and bidders will no doubt be on the hunt for last-minute, gift-giving trinkets.
Now as for me, I've still got this unopened spice rack that I received as a wedding gift … 14 years ago. Calling all dealnews readers: What's the statute of gift limitations on that?
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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