Tuesday 20 August 2019

Sinead Ryan: Garish scarf and cheesy reindeer jumper can still find good homes

'Make sure you don't regift back to the person who gave it to you'. Photo: PA
'Make sure you don't regift back to the person who gave it to you'. Photo: PA
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

Oh dear. It's the day after Christmas and you're only now going through all the, ahem, lovely presents you received.

The garish tartan scarf from uncle Bob; the not-so-fetching reindeer jumper from your batty cousin (who thought the red nose looked just like yours), and a huge box of chocolates from your neighbour which will ruin your new year diet.

You really would have preferred something else, so what can you do? Returning them to the shop is out of the question, so you decide to stick them at the top of the wardrobe and give someone else the pleasure you were denied.

Regifting is a common post-Christmas solution to a festive problem. But it's fraught with terror. What if you regift back to the person who gave it to you? What if the original gifter spots their present on someone else? There are some simple tips to help and make sure your gift is accepted with the same love and care as if you'd actually chosen it yourself.

1. Keep a list of items for regifting, including who gave it to you and when. A small label to remind you means it won't do a round-robin back to the original gifter. This is easy to miss, as often people buy something they themselves would like, rather than the recipient, so it's easy to think "Uncle Bob! He loves tartan! It'll be perfect for his birthday."

2. It's not a great idea to regift perishables. Wine is fine, but if you're passing along chocolates or other foods, make sure they're in date! There's nothing worse than the person you gift them to opening them to find they've gone mouldy and the 'best before' date was two years ago.

3. Regifted presents should look as if you've bought them. Rewrap nicely with a personal card - retaping original wrapping paper is just mean.

4. Never regift homemade items. Your sister may have spent ages making you a lovely tapestry, a personalised picture frame or knitted jumper; it's rude to give it away. It's bound to be spotted immediately.

5. Be careful of personalised items. I got a wedding present of two Waterford crystal champagne flutes from a generous 'friend', which were beautiful, but impractical. I returned them to the shop only to have the assistant embarrassingly point out that they were commissioned by a golf society, whose name was inscribed on the stem. Ahem. Likewise, look for tags, names, cards etc. tucked into boxes or books from the original sender, to make sure they're not found.

6. Regift outside your immediate circle. The best re-gifted items are given to those who will never guess. A one-off thank you to a teacher, or someone who helped you, but who won't ever meet the original gifter.

7. Only regift completely intact presents. Not ones you've 'tried on' and reboxed, or tinkered with in any way. Make sure all the parts are included if listed on the box.

8. If you really can't think of anyone to regift to, release it to a wider audience by donating the item to a charity shop, preferably one far away from the original gifter's neighbourhood.

9. If you're caught out, come clean. Don't lie or prevaricate. Say, "I did receive this originally, but I can't do it justice; I knew it would look better on you".

10. Never feel guilty about well intentioned, sincere regifting. Good money was spent on the item, just not yours. Give with love.

Irish Independent

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