Beware the perils of holiday regifting

Published December 6 2016

The elections are over and the holidays are here, starting the season for giving and forgiving, caring and sharing. It’s time for gift giving.

While gifting is a pleasurable experience, an insensitive regifting can become very painful. Did this ever happen to you? You received your own gift back from somebody else! I don’t mean a similar gift, but the same one that you gifted to your cousin, which he regifted to his friend, who regifted it to you. It may even have the same name tag or gift wrap.

It happens often enough, it has its own day. National Regifting Day in the United States is Dec. 18. Canada has an entire week, Dec. 26 to 30.

There is nothing wrong with regifting, as long as the receiving person knows the truth that you are sharing your gift with him or her, as you know that they will like it better than you. Lack of honesty can lead to a lot of embarrassment, hurt feelings or lost friendships.

When you receive a gift for which you have absolutely no use, it is very tempting to pass it on to somebody else to meet your own obligations, sometimes without realizing that the gift is custom made for you. Also, you know, you are going to get a similar gift next year from the same person because you have sent them a lovely note expressing your extreme appreciation for the lovely gift. What are you going to say? You did not like the gift? You cannot use it? Say nothing? That is rude. What are you going to do?

How about returning the gift to the store, even for credit. But you likely don’t know where it was bought. If you did, and went all the way to the store, you may find out that it was a sale item and nonrefundable.

Isn’t a gift card a simple solution? It may suit itself well for regifting, but you are not going to because you know that you are going to use it sometime (even though you won’t be able to find the card when that time does come).

Why do we gift anybody anyway? Either to show our appreciation or to meet an obligation or to please. To express love? Come on, there are better ways for that, and they come from the heart, not the pocketbook.

How about to be kind? To help people in need, the helpless, the homeless, the hopeless, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the indigent, the poor, the sick, the hungry and the lonely.

What about gifting the needy in honor of or in memory of somebody you appreciate or love, best of both worlds.

What about donating your excess to the charitable organizations and thrift stores and help some unknown poor soul. Wouldn’t that be even more gratifying? You may even earn some tax credit.

Can you imagine how much food is wasted around the holidays, while many millions of people are starving.

Anyway, if you insist on regifting to your friends or family, in spite of the accompanying risks, at least make sure it is a brand-new item, that it does not have any telltale signs and that it matches the recipient’s taste or need.

Happy Holidays!

This article was originally published in the Tampa Bay Times:

Rao Musunuru, M.D. Mini Bio

Dr. Rao Musunuru, who has called Pasco County his home since 1981, was instrumental in transforming a 50-bed rural hospital into a 290-bed Heart Institute at Bayonet Point/Hudson Regional Medical Center. He has received numerous awards and continually serves the community at large through education and philanthropy.