- January 21, 2012
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I realize that opinions might be strong on this topic – unwanted gifts – re-gift or not? Ever had a birthday party and noticed the old creased box that has a small tear mark from where the old tape was removed? At my daughter’s last birthday she received a Borders gift card. Very exciting because she loves to read! Very disappointing because Borders had already closed its doors to business. Now I’m not sure if this was a re-gift (I’m working on giving people the benefit of the doubt) or just bad luck with timing, but with no stores or online presence she was disappointed and left with just that piece of plastic.
Our children have the greatest of intentions and are excited, but for some reason want to try to play with all of their gifts simultaneously, which of course doesn’t work
Most of us probably keep a stash of unopened items in a closet. In our house, we try to monitor our kids during gift opening. If we don’t we end up with wrapping paper flying everywhere and a pile of opened games with pieces scattered all over the place (check out our Playdate article “No Gifts, Please!”). Our children have the greatest of intentions and are excited, but for some reason want to try to play with all of their gifts simultaneously, which of course doesn’t work! Our rule is that once the gifts are unwrapped, they get to pick one game to play with. The rest are untouched until they can put together a list of who gave what (I’m trying to get them into the habit of writing thank you letters). The duplicates or gifts they decide that they don’t want or need (sometimes they need a nudge from me on this front) immediately get added to the stash.
Though it might feel good to solve your immediate problem, it may not be the right thing to do
So, what should each of us do with the “stash?” First of all, make sure you keep your kids away from it. You might be tempted to reach in there yourself and grab one when you’re in a bind and have forgotten to buy a gift. But do this with caution. Though it might feel good to solve your immediate problem, it may not be the right thing to do. Better to bring a gift the child might enjoy a few days late or buy an inexpensive gift, than to give something just to get it off of your own shelf. So what do you do with gifts that aren’t really right for you or for your children’s friends? Usually during the holiday season, my children and I take unwanted gifts over to a shelter, hospital or some other worthy organization where we can donate them. Sometimes I use them as prizes during birthday parties or give them out as parting gifts. In those scenarios, people usually don’t expect much and area happy to get anything. Ultimately it’s okay to re-gift since it’s a form of recycling…as long as you’re giving an appropriate gift to the right person in the right situation. Because keep in mind that a white elephant in wrapping paper is still a white elephant!
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