The Guide to Re-Gifting

We’ve all seen the Seinfeld episode, but is re-gifting really as bad as everyone says? True, you may not be putting your whole heart into the spirit of the holidays, but if you’re just heading to an anonymous gift exchange, what rule says you can’t take an unwrapped something and pass it off as your own? Well, just in case you’re being faced with that dilemma, we’ve outlined below how you can re-gift right.

For Yankee Swap: Re-gift

Why: That Office episode of yore taught us some valuable holiday lessons: 1) do not enforce Yankee Swap rules at a Secret Santa gift exchange and 2) do not re-gift an iPod. That said, all other bets are off. If you’re heading to a party demanding an unmarked gift for a stipulated value, feel free to peruse your home for the presents you didn’t know what to do with (or that you won from Yankee Swap last year). Just avoid the following things: opened wine, old chocolates, miscellaneous bath goods and anything you took home from last year’s soiree.

For Secret Santa: Do not re-gift

Why: Odds are that if you’re drawing names for any reason, you know the people involved enough to pick out something that isn’t a gift card, a candle (unless they love them) or a gift that you didn’t want. Don’t be the person with a picture frame and pack of hot chocolate.

For the Hostess: Re-gift

Why: These people are nice enough to have you over, so the least you can do is buy them something specific for everything they’ve done “ right? Right, but not necessarily. How well do you know the person? If it’s one of your best friends, and you’ve already bought them a Christmas gift, a re-gifted bottle of wine is more than appropriate for a Happy Holidays! gesture. While if it’s your boss’ wife or an acquaintance, it’s safe to re-gift something small, provided it’s something of substance (like artwork or something that didn’t work with your apartment). For family, however, play that one safe: it may be easier to contribute with dessert or a meal item than to risk hurting anyone in the name of saving a few dollars.

For the Inner Circle: Do not re-gift

Why: There’s more to the holidays than presents, but really? You’re going to give your closest friends/relations something you just didn’t want? This is why the Seinfeld episode exists “ to instill fear into those who want to give boyfriends/girlfriends cash, and for those who re-gift all gifts. (At least buy a gift card.)

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Tags: Christmas, Christmas 2011, difficult gifts, giving presents, Holiday 2011, Holidays, re-gifting, shopping, what to buy

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