Making your list? Checking it twice? But not feeling so enthused about the prospect of buying more stuff for friends and family that might just wind up as waste? Here’s a solution: this year, instead of gift, give a “re-gift”.
Admit it. We all have a “re-gift bag” in the back of the closet.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s that beat up shopping bag sitting in a corner or closet filled with a bunch of gifts you can’t use, don’t like, or are just downright weird. It might even contain some pretty decent things you bought with airline miles or on sale with the intention of giving them away when the right occasion presented itself. But alas, they’re still sitting there, waiting for that perfect match of owner and artifact.Like most of us, I used to try to pass them off as newly bought gifts, but always, of course, with a little guilt, a little trepidation. What if the recipient suspected? What if — horrors! — I re-gifted to the original giver!
So this year, I decided to draw down that ever-accumulating re-gift bag and get its treasures-to-be moving in the right direction. You read that right: instead of doing it on the sly, I would do so openly, all in the interest of fun.
I decided to start a new tradition. Whenever I met a friend for coffee or lunch, we would bring the other an unwrapped re-gift. I saw it as a great opportunity to get those items in the re-gift bag moving to a new owner who could really put them to good use , help out the environment a bit, and turn a simple rendezvous into a special occasion.
I tried it out on January 1st with my friend, David Bergman, the green architect, and his designer wife, Lori. They both relished the little silver frame I re-gifted to them over coffee on Lower East Side. They loved the idea of fueling my new tradition; David cheekily suggested we call it “No Fruitcakes”, giving the practice its only guideline.
Here’s how it works: Everyone brings an unwrapped re-gift. If we don’t like what we get, we mutually decide to keep what we originally brought, putting it back in the hopper to be re-gifted to someone else.
I was having such a good time this year at “No Fruitcakes” I decided in lieu of gifts, my friends do a re-gift swap at my birthday luncheon this year, allowing everyone to go home with a meaningful party favor. As you can imagine, it was a big success.
Try out ‘No Fruitcakes’ for Yourself
The holidays are coming. Why not try a holiday re-gift swap with a bunch of friends? Or re-gift openly as stocking stuffers? You’ll feel good, you’ll create a little extra room in the back of that closet, and you just might make someone you love unexpectedly happy.
Give it a whirl this holiday season — or, as described, at any time of the year, — and let me know how it goes.
Ed. Note: Check out National Re-gifting Day on December 20th!