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Post-holiday season prompts regifting, repurposing unwanted presents

Some presents given in the holiday season just don’t seem to work. For second-year business economics student Chau Quach, a frumpy, oversized sweater received over the holidays provides an opportunity for regifting. Donating unwanted clothes to Goodwill or Salvation Army as well as regifting presents to friends proves an answer for unwanted gifts.
(Brandon Choe/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Ashley Vu

Jan. 5, 2015 5:38 a.m.

‘Twas the season to be jolly.

But now, as the last of the fa la la’s echo 2014 out the door, one may find him or herself left with an old copy of Charles Dickens from a best friend’s annual white elephant gift exchange or a frumpy, oversized sweater from Grandma that hasn’t made any good fashion statements since 1993.

Inevitably each year, gift returns spur hoards of unsatisfied recipients to retail shops. But what’s one to do if the bearer of bad gifts didn’t attach a much-needed gift receipt?

“This year for Christmas, I got five pairs of socks,” said second-year business economics student Chau Quach. “This would have been okay if they were cute, but they were ugly so I gave them to my mom.”

It’s true, the holiday season is a time for massive gifting. What tradition forgets to mention is that it is also a time for massive regifting.

While finding friends and acquaintances who are in better need of unwanted gifts makes for a convenient solution to spending less during the winter season, regifting can oftentimes be tricky.

In smaller circles of friends, secondhand or even thirdhand regifting spawns the chance of a gift landing back in the hands of the original gift-bearer. Additionally, overlooked personalizations such as notes or inscriptions to the intended recipient may make for tasteless secondhand gift-giving.

For those searching for other alternatives to getting rid of gifts, there is always the Internet to provide a hearty batch of solutions.

“I look at the ‘Free & For Sale’ page a lot,” Quach said. “It’s a good place to start if you’re trying to get rid of gifts you don’t want.”

Locally at UCLA, the “Free & For Sale” Facebook page currently has over 13,000 members and attracts dozens of posts per day with items local students wish to sell or purchase. Making for convenient, local pick-up, the “Free & For Sale” page operates by having student sellers post desired prices with the items, and potential buyers Facebook messaging these sellers if interested.

“The ‘Free & For Sale’ page brings students closer together by allowing them to trade directly with other students,” said Kyle Fennessy, a second-year anthropology student. “There’s no middle man, and students can set the price on anything.”

For those without social media or those searching for an even greater pool of buyers, e-commerce websites like eBay and Amazon provide a similar buy-and-sell service but without the convenience of no-shipping, local exchange.

In a more artful direction, post-season gifts of horror may also provide opportunities for creative crafting and repurposing. With visual inspiration from websites like Pinterest, one can turn those too-long jeans into shorts or that frumpy sweater from Grandma into knit, living room coasters.

“My cousin got mason jars as a gift and used them as flower vases and cups,” said Denise Phan, a second-year business economics student.

Nevertheless, true to the holiday spirit of giving, the option of donating gifts is always present.

“The gifts that we don’t want, we make sure to keep in good condition,” said Rafay Haseeb, a third-year political science student. “If (my family thinks) we’re not going to use them, depending on what it is, we’ll give the gifts to the poor – like to Goodwill or to the Salvation Army.”

As the spirit of the season is to give, Haseeb said that donating ensures that no gifts will go to waste, as items he and his family don’t need can be of use to those less fortunate.

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Ashley Vu
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