Give Gifts With Past Lives

C'mon... stop being such a Goody Two-shoes. Everybody's doing it.

Well, maybe not everyone, but a survey reveals that nearly one in four of us upstanding, big-hearted Americans will resort to regifting this year. And, get this, the practice is more widespread (36%) among households with annual incomes in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, says the Money Management International survey reported by CBS Marketwatch.

If you're unfamiliar with regifting (go ahead and feign ignorance), it's the practice of passing along unwanted presents to someone else, all the while pretending you searched long and hard to find them. Chia pets, the Ronco Rotato, and, of course, the ubiquitous Christmas fruitcake are among items that find a second (and third and fourth) life under the tree.

Budget Living magazine's anonymous celebrity columnist recently revealed her circle's dirty little secret -- many are serial regifters. "My friend 'Tricia,' a preeminent society hostess, revealed to me her 'Present Palace' -- a closet groaning with unwanted perfumes, sweaters, watches, scarves, umbrellas, and enough silver to service a small restaurant."

Some call it cheap. We call it Foolish. Given that the holidays are a budget-buster for so many (the average gift budget this year is more than $1,000!), we don't have a problem with the practice. Just make sure it's done tastefully and you give us something that we really, really like. The alternative -- credit card debt and shopper's resentment -- is hardly in the holiday spirit.

Go ahead and regift to shave a few bucks off the budget and find a good home for those 13 soaps on a rope you've accumulated since college. When you run out, consider becoming a philanthropist by giving to Foolanthropy. No wrapping paper necessary!




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