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

is regifting!


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.”

Leave a comment