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Card Nos

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THE DO’S AND DON’T OF RECYCLING GIFTS

As the old saying goes, what goes around, comes around - but if you’re giving a gift that’s already had a previous owner, it’s best not to get found out!

While most people deny that they regift (or recycle unwanted presents) – research reveals the opposite is true.  Over half of us do it.  But just because you don’t want, like or need that lifesize porcelain dog that your great Aunt Doris gave you, it doesn’t mean it’s going to take pride of place in someone else’s home.  There’s nothing wrong with regifting, but there’s a wrong way of doing it and a right way.

So what are the rules of regifting?.   

The very notion of regifting throws out the primary rule of gifting … and that is, never give someone a gift that you wouldn’t like to receive yourself!.   And if you’re uncomfortable with the whole idea of recycling, rather come clean.  A simple “Here’s something that I can’t use or don’t want or already have – perhaps you’d like it or know someone who’d like it” – and that’s all it takes.

So, with that out of the way, let’s look at some do’s and don’ts.  Obviously, it’s best to avoid detection, so here’s how to make your gift a true ‘original’!..

’Nearly new’ is NOT new!.    Anything that’s been test-driven - even gently - is a definite no-no!  Check, check and check again for even the most subtle indications of ‘pre-love’ including scratches, fingermarks, stains, dust, broken seals, tears in the packaging, grubby packaging, receipts tucked away, old gift tags (heaven forbid), signs of old sticky tape on the box.  There should be no hint of a past. It’s either new in its original packaging or it can be given away – simple as that. 

And if we’re talking about recycling giftwrapping – that’s only into the ‘green’ bin for recycling, NOT for gifts!  Presentation is everything – so make it count with gorgeous NEW giftwrap (with no creases or folds), ribbon, gift boxes etc .

Ensure you know where the item comes from.  A dead ringer for a regift would be something that your parents brought back from a trip to the outer Hebrides or a souvenir from an event that you clearly weren’t at!  Items that are clearly identifiable as coming from a shop that isn’t within driving distance from you are also no-nos.

If you’re thinking of giving perishables – check the sell-by date.  All foods, chocolates, candy, nougat etc will have an expiry date on the packaging.  And even when it’s still valid – short is not sweet.  No item should expire within six months of the date that it’s presented to someone.  And that principle applies to appliances and fashion items – they too have a sell-by date.  Round 2 is not an option if things are out of fashion, out of style or superseded by a newer version.

Don’t pass on gift certificates – and especially not ones that have had a little fling already!.  A gift card with anything other than a well-rounded amount is plain insulting (imagine finding you’d been given one with a lop-sided balance of say $42.86!.  And as gift vouchers are also generally only valid for a certain period of time, it’s really off limits to pass something on that expires shortly.. 

Another point – promo items are exactly that – they’re freebies.  They aren’t meant to have a second chance.  And this applies to anything and everything with a logo on it – even that funky calendar thingy that came from the technology tradeshow. 

When it comes to books, do a little reading yourself to make sure there isn’t a personalized message from Uncle Jim handwritten in the inside cover before you present Shakespeare’s Collected Works to your boss. 

Handmade items and one-of-a-kind heirlooms (like the crocheted tablecloth from Auntie Jane) are clear non-starters.  Rather pass those on to a charity, auction house or even local homeless shelter.

Keeping a record of the paper trail is also a good idea, especially when it comes to significant events such as 40th birthday gifts, wedding and anniversary gifts etc.  It’s also a good idea to try and make sure that your regifts are confined to recipients who aren’t in the same social circles as the original givers.

And finally – there’s nothing to be guilty about – giving is a joy.  But if you’re really stuck for ideas for gifts and don’t have anything suitable lurking in your present drawer, you may want to give someone a voucher for an experience of a lifetime, such as jet boating for the adventurous, a wine tour for the connoisseur or a day spa gifts for someone in need of a treat.   They’ll definitely NOT want to put that back onto the conveyor belt.

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