The holiday season is almost upon us, and it’s time to sharpen up those credit cards and buy your friends and relations lavish, extravagant gifts that will show them just how much you love them.
Gifts that might find new life as a gift next Christmas. So, if you find that Aunt Gloria is wearing a lavender-puce scarf that looks like the exact same one you gave Aunt Wilma two Christmases ago, there’s a good chance it might be one and the same.
A poll of 1,505 adults by Harris Interactive indicates that re-gifting has become common, accepted practice. 52% of those polled had re-gifted in the past or would consider re-gifting. And a whopping 78% thought that re-gifting was acceptable some or all of the time.
Re-gifting can even be a tradition of sorts in some circles. In the group I hang out with, we had a “birthday bag”…a red gift bag with a shocked-looking person looking at a birthday cake full of candles, with the caption, “The Birthday From Hell.” Tradition in our group had it that the person who received the bag would use the bag to package the gift to the next birthday person in rotation.
Now that I think about it, the tradition probably started with me. A friend gave me the bag, with number stickers on it reading “26,” one year on my 26th birthday. Said friend’s 29th birthday was a week and a half later, so I ended up putting my gift in the same bag, with the 6 turned upside down. So started a long tradition.
The gift inside need not have been recycled, thank goodness.
That went on for a while until the bag got old and ratty. I’m not sure who has it now. For a short while, when the original birthday bag went missing, we had a substitute, a green birthday bag with a clown’s face, with a big red nose that squeaked when you pushed it. That tradition, however, died, and quickly.
But anyway, back to re-gifting. I actually agree with the majority of people who might consider re-gifting. Though some may think it tacky, I figure I would rather pass a gift on to someone who might appreciate it than have it sit unused.
Besides, I think the holiday season deserves better than the celebration of unbridled capitalism it has degenerated into. This is supposed to be a time of peace on earth, good will toward men. There’s nothing in there about Christmas Eve sales.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating being miserly and simply passing gifts to your friends willy-nilly. But if a friend of mine ended up giving me a Kikaida action figure, which I don’t really care about, I might pass that on as a birthday gift to a friend of mine who collects that stuff.
M.P. Dunleavy at MSN gives 12 rules for re-gifting.