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Art, science of regifting

Tens of thousands of people have scoured Fargo-Moorhead stores this holiday season looking for gifts that keep on giving. Others don't have that problem. They're giving gifts they've already gotten. Call it frugal, thoughtful recycling, lazy - or...

Regift

Tens of thousands of people have scoured Fargo-Moorhead stores this holiday season looking for gifts that keep on giving.

Others don't have that problem.

They're giving gifts they've already gotten.

Call it frugal, thoughtful recycling, lazy - or simply desperation - the art and science of regifting could be on the rise.

Money Management International, a Houston-based credit counseling agency, found that 60 percent of the people it polled think regifting is becoming more accepted.

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One in four polled said regifting is OK because it's a way to save money over the holidays. Another 14 percent say it's a method of recycling.

About 77 percent of those who regift do so because they believe the gift is perfect for someone else, MMI reported.

A surfeit of clocks and crystal led Holly and Luke Malheim of Fargo to regift some wedding presents.

"We weren't going to use it (the items). And we didn't have a gift receipt to bring it back," Holly said, as they shopped at Fargo's West Acres mall.

About half of the people who answered a Forum Real People Bank query said they'd either

given or gotten a regift.

"It's a shame to waste anything, and putting it (a gift) in a drawer or closet and never using it is like throwing it away. Why not try to see if someone else might want or need it?" said Mike Palmer of Fargo, who said he isn't a regifter himself.

Others are mortified by the concept.

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"Send the gift to either the Salvation Army or Goodwill if it no longer is desired. Regifting is rude," said Brian Capanoli of Hibbing, Minn.

Where do regifts go?

- Co-workers get 41 percent of regifts, the MMI poll found.

- Family members and friends, 41 percent

- Teachers, 18 percent.

- Significant others, 12 percent. (The survey allowed for multiple answers so the percentages don't equal 100.)

The reasons for regifting may also be changing, the MMI poll found.

- Most people, 62 percent, say they regift because they think the recipient would really like the item, up from 53 percent in 2005.

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- Forty-two percent of people regift to save money, up from 33 percent in 2005.

Of course, you have to be careful. MMI found that 29 percent of regift recipients recognized the regift because they were present when it was first given.

A full 16 percent of regifts were spotted because the gift tag had the wrong name on it.

"A friend of mine regifted a book not realizing that the giver had the book personalized on the inside for her," said Lois Balko of Moorhead. "Or, make sure you don't regift it back to the same person. That happened to my sister and she had to eat crow."

Many recipients don't get worked up about a regift. MMI found that 42 percent didn't care if a gift was being recycled.

"If somebody's willing to give me a gift, I'll accept it with a smile on my face," said Gary Malm of Grand Forks, N.D.

Gary's advice: Regift, but regift with discretion and confidence.

"Don't say anything, just do it," he said.

Eighteen percent of those polled by MMI were happy or amused by a regift, while less than 10 percent of regift recipients felt cheated or angry about a regift.

Crystal Lysne of Glyndon, Minn., is one of that crowd.

"I've gotten gifts from my grandma that I know she's gotten before," she said, laughing at the memories.

"Me and my brother and sister, we just giggle about it," Lysne said. "It's grandma."

She does have a suggestion for regifters, though.

"Try to be more sneaky about it. Don't give it to a close family member so we'll know. Maybe a distant relative?"

Regifting does have a powerful ally: Santa Claus.

James Lyngaas, the early-shift Santa at West Acres in Fargo, said regifters and the regifted need only remember two things:

"Never get caught!"

And ...

"It's the thought that counts."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583 Art, science of regifting Helmut Schmidt 20071223

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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