National Re-gifting Day is observed annually on the Thursday before Christmas when many offices hold their holiday parties. Studies show that 4 out of 10 of the gifts exchanged at these parties have been re-gifted.
In 2008, the state of Colorado decided to embrace this American workplace tradition and declare a “National Re-gifting Day” that would recur annually. Money Management International created NationalRegiftingDay.com and Regiftable.com to educate people on the benefits of re-gifting and the proper way to execute it.
There are lots of benefits to re-gifting. It could potentially save us from scrambling for gifts at the last minute. It can save us money. (Note that the recent recession made re-gifting more popular than ever.) It can allow us to transfer gifts to those who would get more use of out them and also de-clutter our homes. Not everyone is a fan of re-gifting, but if you follow some basic etiquette, it can be done quite tastefully.
- Re-gift in different social circles – Do not re-gift to someone who regularly hangs out with the original giver. If someone in your office gave you a gift that you want to re-gift, don’t give it to another co-worker. The original giver might find out that you re-gifted. Awkward! To avoid this mistake, when you get a present that you wish to re-gift, store it with a note, detailing when, where, and who gave it to you.
- Wait – Unless a gift has an expiration date, let some time lapse between the date when you received the gift and the date you re-purpose it. There is always a possibility that the original giver might ask you about the gift. There again—awkward.
- Avoid nuclear family re-gifting – In general, avoid re-gifting to immediate family members, as it is hard to hide the fact that the gift was not original. Honesty is the best policy. If you receive something that you know your sister will like, tell her you received it from someone, but you want to give it to her because you know she will get more use out of it than you will.
- Avoid used re-gifting – A re-gift should be new and unopened, unless you are giving something like an antique that appreciates with age. If you receive a gift that is monogrammed with your initials, that’s another no-no (unless of course you have a friend with the same initials).
- Don’t re-gift undesired items – If a gift is generally unlikeable, don’t pass the scourge on to others. Better to send it to a charitable organization, toss it, or recycle it.
- Be honest – If you are caught re-purposing a gift, be candid. Don’t make any excuses other than to explain why you thought the person would like it. Turn the focus back to the recipient and end it there.
Before you turn up your nose at re-gifting, consider that it can be a great time and money saver and a smart way to clear up space—as long as you employ a few simple re-gifting social graces in the process.