Pretty soon, your holiday decorations will be put away, your thank you notes will be sent, and your gym regimen to battle the bulge from all those Christmas cookies will be in full swing. At that point it will be time to deal with The Gift. And Graces, like the Boy Scouts (homophobia notwithstanding) must Be Prepared.
We all get one. That total lemon that you wouldn't be caught dead in a ditch with but the fact remains, it's yours. The life size poster of your nephew playing basketball. The sweater with a reindeer on it. The set of decorative plates depicting frolicking kittens. The cuckoo clock. The complete set of Danielle Steele novels. The scarf with a piano key pattern.
Last year, mine was a pair of gold, elbow length gloves studded with rhinestones, suitable for either Ginger on Gilligan's Island (were she to be marooned in a non-tropical location) or the King of Mardi Gras. My solution was simple, I gave them to my daughter for dress up. She was overjoyed. When and if a time comes when the giver catches me, I will play the mommy card: "you know how it is; when your child shows such rapture in something it is hard to say no. And she is so careful with her prized dress-up items that I know she will keep them in pristine shape for me. Her closet is in much better order than mine; I am thinking of putting her in charge of my jewelry next!"
In general, I am a proponent of regifting. It is economical, saving you both time and money. It epitomizes recycling. It means that hopefully someone, somewhere, will enjoy the gift you didn't. But it has to be done with care. In order to regift successfully, I abide by a few Gracious Guidelines:
1. Don't regift where you eat. By this I mean you must ensure that there will be no overlap and zero chance of your getting caught. If you "won" the piano key scarf in the office grab bag, don't give it to your assistant for her birthday next week. Give it to your piano playing niece as a "congratulations on your recital" present. (It might even buy your way out of attending said concert.)
2. Ugly is ugly, don't pass it on. No one (not even Colin Firth) should wear a reindeer sweater. Do not participate in the propagation of this scourge. Cut it into pieces and use it as a cleaning rag.
3. Use the little white lie. When Aunt Tillie asks about how you are progressing through the complete works of Danielle Steele, tell her that you are saving them for your upcoming trip to read on the beach.
In case you are unfamiliar with its origins, here is the etymological source of the term "ReGifting". Thank you, Seinfeld.