donating, shopping


I was first introduced to the concept of “regifting” on an episode of Seinfeld, probably when I was in middle school. It was presented as a majorly negative concept:

Elaine:  I think this is the same one I gave him. He recycled this gift. He’s a regifter!

Even though it was mentioned that maybe the same gift was purchased because it was so good, it was set in my mind that regifting wasn’t the thing to do. And in that instance, the recipient wasn’t thrilled with the gift when he got it, so it was more of an impolite thing overall than just regifting the gift.

But as I changed my lifestyle and mindset, I started to think… regifting isn’t so bad, is it? If you get a gift you don’t like, why not pass it along? Be polite about it, though, because after all, it’s the thought that counts! But there is a compulsion to keep the gift, especially if it’s something to hang up or display, so the person who gave it to you can see it when they come over.

This concept comes up in a Gilmore Girls episode where Emily is trying to find all the gifts her mother-in-law gave her, so she can display them as if she loves having them in her home. Most of them are in the basement, and a hat rack was given regifted to Lorelai.


I have never gone to a friend’s house expecting to see my gifts prominently displayed. That being said, it does make me feel warm and fuzzy when I see my gifts or cards around. But that’s a bonus feeling.

If I get a gift I can’t use or don’t want, I will graciously accept it. But I don’t see anything wrong with passing that gift on to someone it is better suited for. What’s the difference between regifting and donating? Not much, except donations are more broad, and you don’t know who will get the item. It’s a fine way to get rid of things, but if you know a friend who would love a copy of the book you already own, why not pass it on?

I have similar feelings about “new” gifts – I love getting a cool purse from a thrift store, or used books or 45s from a library book sale. It means a friend was shopping and saw something that they thought I’d like, so they got it for me. It doesn’t have to be brand new and expensive with the tags still on.

How do you feel about regifting – both doing it and getting “regifts”?

holidays, home life, money

Happy Birthday!

My son is old enough to understand birthdays and be excited, but young enough to not really care about having a big to-do. (Or maybe he’s growing up to be just as anti-social as Mommy!)

Every time he wants something, he says he wants it for his birthday: new train track pieces; a new Thomas “roller coaster” track for those strange, pointless, tiny little trains; a trampoline. He doesn’t want everything he sees, but when he wants something, he remembers it. He will get a few things for his birthday – usually one gift per person, and only close family comes to the party – but I’m sure he will remember to ask for a trampoline for his next birthday, until I remind him that Christmas will come around before his next birthday. Then he will start the Christmas list.

When he gets gifts, he is very thankful for them. He thanks the giver (usually with prompting) and plays with the toys for a long time. Most of the toys he has work together, like the wooden train pieces that build together, and wooden trains to drive on them. Or the pointless tiny Thomas trains that link together for a parade, or zoom around on tracks that take batteries. Or cars and trucks… so many different cars and trucks! They fill one of his toy bins, but he seriously plays with ALL of them, so… they stay.

The birthday party itself is never a huge deal. He has friends at school but we don’t really do playdates or anything yet. We invite grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins, and our parties usually top out at 12 people – mostly adults. It’s always in the afternoon, post-nap, with snacks and cupcakes for the guests. I hate stressing over hosting major dinners and parties, so I like keeping them minimal. Napkins for the snacks, candy, and cupcakes, cups for punch, and that’s about it. Two hours of togetherness is perfect for kids the ages we have (about-to-be-4, 5, and 8) and they can play outside if it’s not rainy.

His party is right around the corner, and now that’s he’s older I’m eager to see how he will open the gifts on his own (he still had trouble last year) and thank the givers without prompting.

holidays, money, shopping


I used to love getting presents. I would snoop in my parents’ closet weeks before my birthday or Christmas, trying to sneak a peek of the toys they bought me. As I grew older, I still liked gifts, though they became more practical, like books or bags or stuff for my home.

Now when I think of giving a gift, I like to think of it as giving an experience. I like giving someone tickets to a play or concert they’ve wanted to go to. I like taking my son to the Children’s Museum or the zoo and leaving without a souvenir. His memories can be his souvenirs. (And, let’s be honest – I’ve taken plenty of pictures we can look over.)

Some of my favorite gifts have been tickets to an event: on my 16th birthday I got two floor seats to an upcoming Aerosmith show; for Christmas two years ago I got tickets to the musical Matilda; for two occasions I’ve gotten tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld live… I can remember these all so clearly. But other gifts are harder to remember, unless it’s something I use often and can remember when I got it, or unless I see pictures from the party or gathering and see what I unwrapped.

I don’t think experiences need to be saved to be given as gifts. We recently treated my son to Bubble Guppies Live! because it was in town for one night only, and it is one of his favorite shows. But overall, my favorite type of gift to get is an experience – and it doesn’t have to be an event! The act of being together, doing something together, is the actual gift. A handwritten coupon for a homemade dinner is just as great an experience – especially if the coupon includes the giver doing the dishes afterwards!

holidays, home life

Valentines for Everyone?

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so holidays are on my mind. I used to love holidays as a kid – any special day was worth celebrating! Even as a young adult, I would celebrate different anniversaries with friends, boyfriends, referencing concerts I’d seen, and more. I loved marking time and highlighting special days. But the older I got, the less I cared. It’s just a day, right? And honestly, who has the energy to decorate and celebrate so many little days?

Valentine’s Day seems like the most wasteful holiday to me. I know people say it’s a Hallmark holiday, made up to sell cards, and we should celebrate love every day. And I agree with all of that. I don’t like Valentine’s Day, and I don’t want a gift or flowers tomorrow. But I’m sure I’ll get them, with my husband being all about the holidays. I do have a gift for each boy – a book and some candy. (February 14th is, after all, International Book Giving Day. I’m much more excited about that holiday than Valentine’s Day.)

My son is giving out Valentines in class. This is what is the most wasteful to me – giving a card to everyone in your class. He’s in preschool, so he is only handing out about 20 cards for classmates and teachers. My stepson will have to hand out close to 30. That’s 50 little sheets of paper total, some with envelopes. And why? It’s not even to show someone you like them, since you have to give everyone a card. I get the concept – let’s not leave anyone out. But why do it at all? Can’t we just say “Happy Valentine’s Day” instead?

My son’s cards are just a slip of paper with a little shaped eraser attached. I was hoping this was more practical, since it’s something useful, and it’s not candy (considering allergies, anti-sugar folk, etc). It will probably still get thrown away (or hopefully recycled), but it seems a little more thoughtful. We don’t have cards for my stepson’s class yet because he just told us about it yesterday, but hopefully he will also choose cards without envelopes. At least that will save a bit of waste.

Enough from my crotchety self – how do you feel about Valentine’s Day?