The do's and don'ts of regifting - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

The do's and don'ts of regifting for Christmas

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While thousands people hit the stores in full force, others are scanning their living rooms, closets, children's playrooms for just the right items to re-pack and re-give.

It's called re-gifting. It's the act taking a gift that has been received and giving it to someone else, often disguised as a brand new gift. There was a time when regifting was taboo. It was not the kind of thing a thoughtful person would do, or at  least not admit to doing.

"That is somewhat out of date right now. There are so many wonderful products that people are giving to each other," said Patricia Wehner, an etiquette coach for Birmingham-based consulting company, Professional Etiquette in Today's Casual World.

"Regifting can be a great way to help your budget but it can also turn into a disaster," she said.

Wehner says keep proper etiquette in mind when re-gifting. For starters, only consider re-gifting unused items.

"Brand new. Nothing used or broken or the part missing. If you have to dust it off, then it's probably too old to be a good re-gift," said Wehner.

Wehner's second piece of advice is a biggie. Make sure tags from the original gift giver are not still attached to the item. Then rewrap in new wrapping paper or gift bags. Failing to do so could make for an awkward exchange.

"You need to be sure that any tag or card that was inside the gift when you received it, be very thorough and make sure that those cards get removed."

So how do you decide who gets a new gift and who gets a re-gift? Doctor Stephanie Yates is an associate professor at UAB's Collat School of Business. She says children's items can be a real money saver.

"For me, it's worked particularly well for kids gifts. You know, you have a kids birthday party and they get all this stuff isn't necessarily something your child would like,"said Yates.

Regardless of age, Yates says the best way to save money is to create an itemized list. First make list of all the people you plan to shop for.

"What is it that I really want to get for that person or how much is it that I want to I want to spend. And then from there, it's about filling in the blanks, looking at my regifting stash. Where can that fit in here," said Yates.

Yates gives a  rule of thumb for budgeting:

People on the lower end of your spending list, perhaps a mailman, neighbor or coworker, are perfect candidates for re-gifting. That leaves more money for big ticket items for spouses, parents or children.

Once you're ready to hand over the gift keep the exchange simple. The last thing you want to do is make the receiver uncomfortable.

"It is not embarrassing to regift. You don't need to tell a big long story of 'well I got this and it doesn't fit my décor, or my kitchen is a different color or I can't use it'. Think of the other person and give the gift in the spirit of giving," said Wehner.

Lastly, do not treat re-gifting like you would spring cleaning. This is not a time to clean out your house to simply get rid of a bunch of junk you don't want anymore. Even when re-gifting, you've got to put some thought into the gift.

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