Regifting for a good cause: Ask Amber

By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting

Regift to some is as foul a word as an obscenity, but I’m here to tell you there are times when regifting is not only OK, it’s good for the community. While we may feel a sense of guilt and shame when regifting, a Psychology Today study shows that gift givers are much less offended to find out their gifts have been regifted than if they are thrown away. This holiday season, there are bound to be gifts that, while greatly appreciated, will never be used the way they were intended; however, those gifts can still be loved as much as the giver intended. By regifting, you can share the holiday spirit with those in need in your community. Here are some tips on charitable regifting this season.

Donate to fundraisers

Do you work for or volunteer with an organization hosting a fundraiser soon? Prizes and auction items are always needed, and gift baskets, electronics and art are classic items that are greatly appreciated. One blog even suggests donating wine or other alcohol that is not your typical drink of choice. Just be sure to check with the nonprofit first, ensuring that a gift of alcohol is appropriate for the organization and occasion.

Give to shelters

Perhaps that particular bath set was not your favorite scent, but I’m willing to bet someone would enjoy it. Bath sets are a popular holiday gift and coincidentally ALWAYS on shelter wish lists. Gather perfumes, makeup, soaps and toiletries and pass on the unopened items to a nearby organization that hosts the appropriate population (women, children, teens, etc). Even items such as gloves, scarves and clothing can have a second life. Call ahead or check the website of nearby shelters to determine which items should go where.

Only regift new items

Etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts suggests that regifting to charities is a great idea but cautions that gifts should always be new. Gift cards should be for the original amount, and gifts such as books that show wear and tear are not for regifting. “The Golden Rule of Re-Gifting,” says Mirza Grotts,“is that the gift must be new, not used. Always give a gift that you would want to receive, or don’t give at all.”

Regifting is all too common and does not always have to be a bad thing. That being said, there is always a risk in regifting. Should the original gifter discover that his or her gift is nowhere to be found in your home, it’s time to come clean. Remember that gifters are less likely to be offended if the gift was given away rather than thrown away, so admit that the gift was lovingly donated to those less fortunate. Being honest about the situation and having a sense of humor about being caught instead of getting defensive can help to lessen the blow. What are your stories or tips regarding regifting? Share them in the comments section below.

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