The Season For Regifting
The Season For Regifting
“We spend the first part of our human experience avidly
accumulating things and the other half wondering what in
the world we’re going to do with all the stuff.”
Margret E. Keats
I’ve never really thought of myself as a person who
cares about material things, but after years of marriage
and raising three children, I had accumulated more than
I needed. I made the kids take what was theirs as they
left home and began building their nests, but there
was still too much. I started to think about what my
kids would do with all of it when I’m dead and gone and decided most of it would probably be dumped or
sold in a garage sale. I decided maybe I should start
getting rid of it before they did!
About that time I discovered a beautiful little book,
“How to Simplify Your Life,” by Elaine St. James.
I asked for the book as a Christmas gift, and it has been
well worth what my daughter spent on it (I believe it was
only about $10 at the time). I’ve read it on many different
occasions. It’s great for just flipping through and reading
whatever catches your interest that day.
One of my favorite sections in the book is about getting rid
of things you no longer need. She suggests setting up a closet or
at least a shelf for those items. I’m not talking about worn out
junk, but items that are in good shape that may be a treasure
to someone else! She calls them “mathoms.” My grandson calls
the process of giving away your stuff, “regifting.” It works
for me, no matter what you name it. For instance, I had a beautiful
bottle that my daughter had filled with oil and flowers at one time.
It was dark pink with a broad square base that became more slender
toward the top. Years later, the color in the flowers had all run
into the oil, and it looked like a bottle of sludge! I popped the
cork, dumped the stuff out of the inside, and put the bottle in
the dishwasher. The next day a friend came over and saw it
sitting on my counter. “Oh, what a beautiful bottle,” she said.
“Like it? It’s yours!” I said. I handed it to her before
she had the chance to say no. She was thrilled to latch on
to it because she told her mother collected pink glassware.
Who would have ever known! My castaway was passed on to her
before it ever made it to my regifting shelf. She immediately
gave it to her mother, who was just thrilled to add it to her
collection. The nice thing is that once it’s out of my house,
I don’t care how many times it is regifted.
Here’s how you can get started. Go through your house, looking
carefully at everything. As you pick up each item, ask yourself
if you need it. In my case, I ask if it serves a
purpose. If it doesn’t, throw it in a box and haul it off to
your new shelf. Mine is in an upstairs linen closet that is
seldom used. When I need a quick gift for someone, I browse the
shelf and find something appropriate for that person.
A few years ago, I bought one of those stand-up wall units that
hold about eighteen 8×10″ photos. As I went through the house
looking for photos, I ended up with eighteen empty picture frames.
They are just perfect for regifting, especially if I fill it with
A photo I’ve taken of that friend, or of the two of us. I can write
my sentiments on the back, wrap it in a beautiful box or bag,
and have a very personal gift that will always remind her of our
Your items may include candles that make you sneeze because you’re
allergic to lavender; empty jars that can be filled with
candy or potpourri; a perfume atomizer that was never used
because your allergies prohibit you from wearing perfume; that
ring holder that is meant to keep by your sink for someone who
takes their rings off when they wash their hands (I don’t!),
or books that you just never really wanted to read.
Now, when the spirit moves me to clean out drawers and
closets, I’m on the search for things to replenish my
regifting shelf. Recently I’ve added a bread knife
I bought it at a trade show because the salesman made me think
I couldn’t live without it, and a box of baking tubes. Once I got
the machines home, I decided they would be way too much trouble to clean
if I used them, so they stayed in the box. They didn’t
pass the practical test, but maybe someone who entertains will
think it’s worth the effort to have heart-shaped bread!
With the holidays coming up, this is a great time to start
making the rounds and setting up your regifting center.
Doesn’t it seem crazy to buy gifts when you have
Resources right there in your own home? It’s never a
good idea to increase your credit card balance for
gift-giving, but this year when we have to need to be concerned
about the economy, it is the perfect time to cut back and
Be more sensible. If you exchange gifts with a group of
friends suggest a white elephant gift, where everyone
My very dearest friends and I have made an agreement not to
buy each other gifts anymore. We realize that our
friendship is more valuable than anything we could purchase,
so we take the time to have a special birthday lunch or
Christmas brunch to catch up on our lives. Years from now we
won’t remember what someone bought us, but we will remember the
kindness they showed to us. Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right
when he penned, “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”
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