Regifting the Right Way

It's that time of year again. Holiday season is upon us and so are all the pressures that come with it to get the perfect gift for everyone on your list. But with the crowded malls and the push and shove, who among us hasn't considered the unmentionable option: regifting?

Coined by comedian Jerry Seinfeld in his 1990s self-titled sitcom, regifting has become a staple of holiday lingo. It's even garnered coveted page-space in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "to give an unwanted gift to someone else; to give as a gift something one previously received as a gift."

And now, regifting even has its own Web site.

Regiftable.com, created by the financial counselors of Money Management International to help people stay on budget during the holiday season, provides visitors with hints for regifting as well as a forum for reading, posting and rating regifting horror stories.

In "Regifting 101," the Web site has a list of important questions to ask yourself so you won't commit an etiquette error. The questions range from the practical -- "Is the gift regiftable?" or "How is the condition?" -- to the personal -- "Do you have good intentions?" or "Can you handle it?"

We all remember the shocked and appalled look on Julia Louise-Dreyfus' face as her character, Elaine, uttered that memorable line, "He recycled this gift! He is a re-gifter!"

It seems that regifting still carries the same stigma it did more than a decade ago when Seinfeld popularized the term.

Whether we want to admit it or not, chances are that if you're reading this, you've at least thought about pawning off an unwanted gift on a family member, friend or co-worker. Regifting is one of those little secrets that we keep to ourselves. The white lie of gift-giving.

Admit it. After receiving the 10th bottle of wine from visiting house or dinner guests, rewrapping that present sounds pretty tempting. Who would ever know the difference, right?

Well, stop feeling guilty, because you're not alone. According to a recent survey, 52 percent of Americans admit to regifting. And, what's more, 75 percent say it is "acceptable" -- sometimes.

The mere existence of regiftable.com proves that the act of regifting is at least on our minds, if not already common practice.

Aside from tips on how to regift, regiftable.com is filled with tales about regifting gone awry. They are so humorous, and numerous, that the company is holding a contest for the worst.

As of this week, regiftable.com had more than 500 entries, ranging from the hilarious to the horrible, posted on the Web site.

For example, Deanna from Longwood got a toaster from her uncle and inside found a check for $500! Unfortunately, the check was made out to her uncle.

Doug G. from Pocatello, Idaho, had a similar experience. He received a set of glasses from a friend as a wedding present, but upon unwrapping the gift, found a note tucked in one of the glasses that read, "Dear Ted, hope you and your new wife are as happy as we have been." Needless to say, Doug's wife's name is not Ted.

Teresa B., a teacher from Theodore, Ala., was thrilled to receive a serving platter at school -- until she took it out of the box and found it caked with food.

The lesson of regiftable.com? Regift at your own risk. Or it might just come back to haunt you.

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