Tuesday 23rd July 2024

Confession: I made a public stand against regifting – but I didn’t quite tell the whole story

“If your Christmas spirit is on a par with Trump’s, you need to take a long hard look at
yourself!” I declare on BBC Essex.

I’ve been invited on to talk about regifting, after a revelation by Donald Trump Jr. that his father once regifted him the Christmas present he’d given him the year before.

I announce that this sort of behaviour is, “absolutely Scroogey!” and I tell presenters Jodie
and Ben that everything must be brand spanking new: “I’d be gutted if I got old cast-offs –
I’ve been hinting all year and when I open my presents I expect to be overjoyed!”

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But of course, not everyone shares this opinion on regifting and, in the interests of balance, they bring on a money blogger who’s a firm advocate of recycling unwanted presents.

“How do you go about deciding who to give what to?” asks presenter Jodie. “I think you’ve got to match the present. You’re not going to give a packet of American tan tights to a teenager,” says money blogger Faith.

“Samantha, what do you think about what Faith’s saying?” asks presenter Ben. “I don’t think she should be giving anyone American tan tights!” I tell them.

I am an ardent regifter when it comes to giving other people all the shit I don’t want.

If I were in the studio, instead of on the phone, they’d have seen me flounce off flicking my hair, as I announced that I wouldn’t be palmed off with some second hand soap someone’s aunt got them from Lush.

“Anything that’s a cast-off is going to be tainted. It will have a tainted aura about it. And I will KNOW,” I insist to all of Essex. But actually, I’ve been fibbing a bit. Because while I don’t want to receive discarded old tat, I am in fact an ardent regifter when it comes to giving other people all the shit I don’t want.

This Christmas I gave my niece a Perspex pen holder I’d been burdened with on my birthday. Considering what kids make out of loo rolls, I’m expecting to see a fully functioning turbo tank charging round the house firing Lego out of all cylinders, the next time I visit.

Nail varnish, bracelets, an unwanted evening bag – all these things are treasure for children! With four nieces and two nephews, it would be wasteful not to pass on the Impulse body spray my mother imposed upon me last Christmas, the notebook from the Natural History Museum that I’ve barely written in, and the Zoella toiletry bag my sister inexplicably foisted on me last year. I mean seriously, do I look like Zoella’s target audience?

Regifting doesn’t just save you money – it’s also a wonderful way of decluttering and giving unique gifts.

But that plastic bathroom bag made a perfectly charming present for one of the children. Don’t ask me which one because I’ve no idea now – I just opened my treasure chest (a.k.a. my suitcase) and let them have a rummage. You don’t even need to wrap this shit. I told them: “This way you can choose!”

And the bonus is: regifting doesn’t just save you money – it’s also a wonderful way of decluttering and giving unique gifts. What six year old wouldn’t want the sunglasses I’d been given at a press day thrown by a running brand? And where else would an eight year old get a pair of jockey’s racing glasses that I’d gone home with after interviewing a former champion jump jockey? I mean, really?

Sometimes my generosity even leads me to regift things I’d like to keep for myself, such as the charcoal toothpaste and organic lip balm I ferreted away from a celeb-strewn launch party. I even left twice so I could pick up goody bags for each of my sisters, so I think we can all agree that I went out on a limb there.

Of course, I can’t give away all my possessions – this isn’t Sister Act. So although I considered giving my mother the Penhaligon’s candle that my neighbour gave me during a power cut, I decided to treat myself by keeping it for bath time. Because seriously darling, it’s Penhaligon’s – lighting that candle is like setting fire to five pound notes.

But luxury items aside, there’s a lot to be said for regifting presents – and any other old crap you’ve accumulated. Just don’t give it to me, or you’ll be getting it back next year!

Samantha Rea

Samantha Rea is a freelance journalist living in London. She studied at the London School of Economics but has since annihilated a fair few brain cells by watching too many episodes of Love Island. She likes doing yoga videos on You Tube and eating ice-cream in bed. If there is an after life, she would like to come back as Jill in Nighty Night.

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