How to Regift
We know you’ve done it before, at least once, because most of us have done it too—and you’ll likely do it again. You’ve kept it secret because of the guilt you’re feeling and because you know you can get away with it and no one will be the wiser. Is it murder? An affair? It’s even better than that. We’re talking about regifting holiday presents and we’ve got clever sleuthing tips to keep your secret safe, especially during this cash-crunching season. (We’ll even pretend this article doesn’t exist after you read it. Or, should we say, what article?)
Sort through your piles
You’ll likely receive gifts in batches; office Kris Kringles, early friend brunches and festive holiday soirees. Start by sorting through gifts you absolutely love from the less-desirable pieces or things you’d never use or consume that can be sacrificed. Even with potential regift opportunities, you still have to ask yourself the question, “Would I give my worst enemy this gift?” If your answer is a resounding “No!”, you just might have to live with it.
Here’s where things start getting complicated and many rookie mistakes are made. Before the thought of regifting even enters your mind, you must inspect each potential gift from head to toe, inside out, for any indication that the gift is actually from someone else. Here’s a quick checklist to cover your bases:
- Look for: Tags, stickers, and labels from stores you obviously don’t shop at or places you’ve never been to. This includes mom clothing stores, boutique shops in cities you’ve never visited, and shops you really can’t vouch for.
- Look for: Hidden notes from the gift-giver directly to you. This instantly ruins your cover, leaving you with little recourse to recoup your pride after the regifted parcel is given.
- Look for: Personalized adornments or decorations you could never have crafted yourself. Taking it one step further, look for any marks, dates, or signatures on any baubles indicating it was made by your crafty Aunt Elda, with love, 2010.
- Look for: Any work-related cards or notes that mark the gift as an office freebie.
- Look for: Expiry dates, was that good until December 2010 or 2011? If in doubt, don’t regift it.
- Look for: Weird smells, stains, cracks, or leaks. ‘Nuff said.
Make a list
Keep a record of the items you’ve received, even making a quick list (and checking it twice) of who gave you what. This is even helpful for sending thank you notes later on.
The art of the re-wrap
If you didn’t spend any time purchasing the gift, the least you can do is make it look like it’s from you. Don’t cop-out on cheap-looking wrapping for this one. Put the effort into making it look its best, as though this gift is so fantastic, it’s good enough to give twice. Keep repeating this to yourself and before you know it, you’ll start believing that with the time and energy you’ve spent re-wrapping, it’s practically like you bought that box of Quality Street chocolates for your boss in the first place.
If the regift receiver ends up loving your gift too much, you’ll have to quickly learn to sidestep any in-depth conversations that might give your secret away. Turn to discussions on your exquisite gift wrapping, claim you can’t remember where you bought it from, make a B-line for the punch bowl, or say you can’t divulge secrets of the gift’s original whereabouts because the store is just that good. At this point, you’re in too deep to beg forgiveness, steer your conversation in another direction!
What not to regift
There are some obvious parcels you’d never want to pawn off, like because you don’t know what it is or what’s in it. Stick with this fool-proof list of gifts you should never pass along and you’ll be one step ahead of even the most astute detectives out there.
- Baked goods: If you didn’t bake it yourself, you may unsafely claim key allergen ingredients like nuts and lactose products aren’t there when in fact they might be. Before you send your friends into anaphylactic shock, best not to regift baked goods.
- Gifts from the in-laws: In-laws might pop by unannounced when you least expect it and if your “what’s-it” vase isn’t on the premises to hold the flowers they brought you, you’re in big trouble, missie.
- Personalized gifts you hate: Some people go out of their way hand-crafting pottery and gold-leafing bird houses just to see that gleeful smile on your face when you open it (no offence to bird lovers). Get yourself a big piece of humble pie and respectfully appreciate that it’s really the thought that counts.
Written by: Melissa Jenkins-Gray