Regifting Your Way Out of Recession Blues

Say you receive a shirt that doesn't fit you, Bitella said. "Instead of being a Scrooge about it," she said, "you can take it and say, 'This is a really nice shirt. ... My cousin would really like it, let me wrap it and give it to her.' "

Nice regifts come in pretty packages: If the original packaging was opened, wrap it so that it still looks like new – that means new wrapping paper, ribbons, tissue paper, etc.

"Do something to make it look like it hasn't been opened and rooted through," Post said. "I think common sense can dictate that."

Forever yours: When gifts bear personal inscriptions or monograms, passing them on is seriously taboo – chances are, the regift recipient will figure it out. Regifting presents that are incredibly personal to you – say a special dish or a handmade sweater -- is also a bad idea.

The original gift giver, Post said, "thought she hit the nail on the head."

"If they really thought about it and it's someone who you see regularly, she's going to be wondering where it is," she said.

Small circles, big trouble: Some people are fine with regifting – others, not so much. And if you regift within a small circle of friends, the chances of getting caught go way up, experts say. The original giver for instance, may find your regifted item at a mutual friend's house.

"Regifting inside a very small circle," Bitella writes, "is discouraged unless you really know and trust the people not to react badly to some ill-perceived gesture."

No give-backs: Here's a surefire way to get caught: Giving the regifted item back to the person who gave it to you in the first place. To avoid that embarrassing situation, make sure to keep track of who gave you what.

Strapped for cash but not keen on regifting? Experts say there are alternatives: Consider frugal gifts such as homemade baked goods or personalized gift certificates entitling the recipient to your babysitting services, yardwork help or other chores. (Regiftable.com has ready-made vouchers for such gifts available here.)

"The holidays is a time about giving thanks to the people we care about and showing how we do care for others," Post said. "Let that be your guide for what you're giving, not materialistic stuff."

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