It's holiday season once again, and your available shopping days are steadily dwindling. You've been too busy. You haven't found "just the right thing" for your beloved recipients. You feel a nervous breakdown coming on.
Is a hair-pulling, last-minute trip to the mall the only solution?
No. Before you flash the plastic, consider "shopping at home" for the holidays this year. Shop your closets, cabinets and plastic storage bins. Browse your basement, your attic, and the space under your beds. All that accumulated clutter that isn't right for you? It may be perfect for someone else. Yes, it's time we added a word to the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra: "regift."
Regifting not only helps preserve your wallet and the environment, but if you do it right your friendships. Here are eight last-minute gift ideas you can find around the house that your friends won't find tacky.
If youve got one of those neighbors who loves to borrow things especially baking ingredients why not preempt her next request? Scan your pantry for unopened items. Think confectioners sugar, chocolate chips, cans of baking powder, unopened sprinkle sets, even cookie cutters. Then package up a baking kit for her, placed inside the best mixing bowl left over from that long-ago housewarming party.
This one's great for the babysitter. She works hard to look after your kids, and deserves a little R&R. Start with an attractive box. Add some of the unused gift candles (who doesn't have these clogging the hall closet?) and top it off with a packaged dash of homemade bath salts (just mix coarse sea salt with lavender or other essential oils). Voila! Instant home spa kit.
If the home spa treatment isn't right, how about a professional job at a green spa?
The new year is coming, and with it resolutions to finally get in shape. If you know your friend well enough to know her resolution, you might just know her well enough to unload some of the workout DVDs and old hand weights you used (or didn't) for resolutions past. If your child has a jump rope that's never used, throw that in there too, and top it all off with an upbeat mix CD of your favorite tunes for a simple exercise-at-home kit. Just be careful, because done wrong, and this gift could send the wrong message. (You're fat, and I'm cheap.)
If exercise is right, but old equipment isn't how about an all-access pass to the U.S. national parks?.
Remember all the stuff from the '70s and '80s you actually wore? These things are now called "vintage." Mine your attic and closet for well-preserved blouses, dresses, scarves and hats, and wrap up each piece in colorful tissue paper. Dont forget to dig inside your old box of costume jewelry, too: a layered chain necklace can be transformed into a funky, stylish belt.
While you're "shopping," dont forget to look in the garage. If the deluxe tool set you gave your husband for his birthday is still sitting on his workbench, unopened, chances are he really doesnt need it. But Dad does! Would he like work gloves, too? Chances are theres a brand new pair around there, too.
For a quick turnaround on a gift, this one can't be beat: just hang onto any wine left in your foyer from Thanksgiving gatherings or pre-holiday get-togethers, and look inside your dining room display case for a spare pair of glasses (after all, do you really need 12?). Relaxation for two is served. This gift also comes with a built-in excuse if you get caught: You loved the wine so much, you wanted others to enjoy it, too!
See? Regifting doesnt have to be tacky. Done thoughtfully and tastefully, regfiting can make you one smart Christmas cookie!
Jodi Newbern is the author of Regifting Revival: A Guide to Reusing Gifts Graciously from Synergy Books ($12.99 at barnesandnoble.com). Learn more at regiftingrevival.com.