We all know the scene: Jerry Seinfeld receives a label maker from his friend Tim Whatley as a ‘thank you’ for SuperBowl tickets. Elaine, standing by, realizes she’s seen the gift before — because she’s the one who gave it to Tim in the first place. Furious and insulted, she forever dubs him a “re-gifter.”
Have you ever received a gift only to turn around and give it someone else? You’re not alone: three out of four Americans find re-gifting a totally acceptable practice. While it used to be seen as tacky or downright rude, it’s now a movement towards a more sustainable and money-conscious lifestyle. And millennials are leading the charge.
Give More, Produce More
The average American spends over $900 on gifts during the holidays. Between packaging and wrapping and discarding updated items, household waste increases by 25% at this time of year. We’re not saying you shouldn’t shower your loved ones with gifts — but there are ways to do it smarter.
Let’s go back to Tim Whatley. If he hadn’t re-gifted the label maker, it would have sat in a drawer for eternity with nary a label to be made. Instead he gave it to someone he thought would actually get use out of it. Isn’t that better than letting the product go to waste, and buying something brand new?
We think so: when you re-gift, you’re cutting the environmental impact of that product in half. Less production, less packaging, less delivery, and less disposal — and that’s good for everyone.
Still Don’t Want to Be a Re-gifter? There are Other Options
If you’re still not ready to join the likes of Tim, you can still reduce your environmental impact during the holidays. Give experience gifts (like concert tickets or bungee jumping) instead of material things people might never use. You can also throw a re-gifting party after Christmas, and invite your friends to bring their most unwanted items to swap. Re-gifting as a group will make you feel less awkward (just be sure to set some ground rules).
The best option, though, is to donate your unwanted gifts to charity. Clothes or gadgets you don’t need for yourself can go a long way for a family in need.
The Makings of a Christmas Miracle
National Re-gifting Day is coming up on December 21st, just in time for the holidays. Before you join the throngs of last-minute shoppers, we challenge you to look at what you already have first. If there’s one thing we know best at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, it’s that one person’s trash really is another’s treasure. Looks like Elaine shouldn’t have given poor Tim such a hard time after all.