Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Is it wrong to regift? Fiance isn't thoughtful with his Christmas presents?

DEAR NATALIE: Is it wrong to regift a present? I have received a lot of “nice” things over the past year or two but when thinking about buying gifts for colleagues at work or friends, it seems silly to waste when I have things at home that haven’t been opened or used. I know it can be tacky to do so, but what are your thoughts on regifting? -- REGIFT OR REGRET

DEAR REGIFT OR REGRET: In a world with too much stuff in it as it is, I don’t blame you for wanting to regift perfectly good items that you aren’t using. It does seem ridiculous to waste things that you think other friends or colleagues may enjoy or use. But that is the key idea here. You can’t just regift to regift. If you received something that you don’t need or don’t want and it didn’t come with a gift receipt so that you could return or exchange it, think about who it would best suit. Now, if there is no one in your circle that could use a Soda Stream or a Snuggie, for example, then give them to a charitable organization instead of chucking them in the garbage. But please, be careful who you regift to. If your sister gives you an ’80s-inspired eyeshadow palette don’t regift it to your mom. It’s important to always be gracious when you accept gifts and to regift that way, as well.



DEAR NATALIE: My fiance and I have been together for several years and while he is a great guy, he is terrible at gift giving. Every year, it’s the same. I get a stack of gift cards to my favorite stores in the city, but there is no thought put into it, no romance. I appreciate his attempt, but I’m over it. He says it’s easier this way because then I can just get what I want. But I want him to be more thoughtful. How do I get him to change his gift-giving habits? -- GIFT CARD OVERLOAD

DEAR GIFT CARD OVERLOAD: If you are trying to make me feel sorry for you when your fiance gives you a “stack of gift cards to your favorite stores” you are out of luck. Instead of trying to change him (ahem, it’s a little too late for that) why don’t you instead change your attitude about his gift-giving ways? He may not see this as not being thoughtful. In fact, in his mind, what is more thoughtful than giving you the ability to get exactly what you want? Maybe next time you receive a stack of awesome gift cards, ask him to join you at one or two of the stores so he can help you pick something out. Another idea is to meet him after shopping and enjoy a night on the town together in one of your fabulous new outfits that he bought for you. Get creative with how you approach this situation, and try to expand your mind on how you think about this. This is what we call a First World problem, which means, it’s not much of a problem at all.



Natalie’s Networking Tip of the Week: This can be a challenging time for a lot of people who may be struggling with family issues, isolation or loneliness. But it is a great time to volunteer, whether it be at a food bank or a nursing home. Sit with someone, learn their story, and share some of your own. You never know who you will connect with and how this connection could improve the quality of not only their life, but also yours too.



(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)