It’s holiday time. Everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Work parties. School parties. Teacher gifts. Holiday cards. Secret Santas. Eight Days of Hanukkah. New Year’s.
No one can deny: gift giving is synonymous with the month of December.
And, let’s face it, if you don’t make lists, if you don’t plan ahead, someone is bound to inadvertently get left out. CYBER MONDAY has already passed us by.
A common side effect to lack of planning? Re-gifting.
Come on. Don’t you have that drawer somewhere in your home? You know, that drawer accruing the myriad gift cards you’ve received for various birthdays and holidays? I do.
Whether it’s Barnes & Nobles, Toys r Us, or iTunes, I know there’s always something I can pull out of our “magic drawer” when I’m in a pinch. And, I’ve also got the gift cards to local restaurants too which makes the re-gifted gift seem oh so personal. And, who hasn’t received a bottle or two or three of red wine, only to store them away to collect dust in the closet.
Here are some helpful hints to follow if you’re in a jam, and you have no other option but to re-gift:
Unwrap and inspect the gift thoroughly to make certain there’s no customization or personal messages branded on the gift.
Look for expiration dates. If a gift is perishable and has been sitting around for a while on your shelf, better check the date before you send it back out. No one wants to receive a fruit box from Harry & David that’s 18 months old.
Be careful with red wines. If they’re not stored correctly, and they’ve been sitting upright in your closet for years under books and sweaters, chances are, they’ve probably gone bad.
If you’re re-gifting for kids, make sure your look at the suggested age-range for the toy. If a kid is 10 and you’re re-gifting them a game appropriate for 4-6 year olds, something’s fishy and that’s sending the wrong message to the kid.
Be sensitive to your recipient’s interests. If you received a coffee table book about Planting and Growing Your Own Garden, and you re-gift it to someone who’s lives in a tiny city apartment, that’s a red flag, regardless of whether the photography is stunning.
And for god sakes, don’t re-gift to the person who gave the present to you!
Conclusion: most of the time, re-gifting is laden with risk.
If you do have the opportunity, I’ve learned you’re probably better off making something homemade. It’s genuine, you’ll feel more at ease, and your efforts will be very much appreciated.
This year, I bought jars online and made Cranberry Honey Butter to be distributed. I know what you’re thinking. No, I didn’t actually churn the butter. But, I made Cranberry Honey Butter by melting down my butter sticks and mixing them with honey and dried cranberries.
Then, I poured the mixture into the jars and refrigerated them.
The result is a beautifully-packaged, thoughtful and personal gift that took me all of 10 minutes to make. Minimal effort, maximum reward!!
Cranberry Honey Butter
Yield: 24 servings
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup finely-chopped dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup honey
- In a bowl, beat all ingredients until blended.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 3 months.