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With many Americans low on extra cash this year, the prevailing question, “To regift, or not to regift?” has probably come up for many of you. While some may see this as a tacky practice, I’m all for recycling when it’s both possible and practical.

Here are 5 simple rules for keeping your holiday recycling under wraps:

Rule #1 – Give only with good intentions. Don’t just give a gift simply for the sake of giving a gift. Be sure that the item is something the recipient will genuinely appreciate. Remember, if you feel that an item is ugly, tacky or just plain undesirable, the recipient probably will too. If you are regifting simply because you ran out of time to shop, gift cards are easy to buy and will more than likely always work.

Rule #2 -Understand the difference between regifting and giving a hand-me-down. Regifting is giving away a gift you’ve never used – in most cases to pass off as an original gift. Giving a hand-me-down is giving away a gift you’ve used, but believe the other person will either use more or enjoy more. Hand-me-downs should be acknowledged as something both you and the recipient mutually recognize as being used. They can be given as a “just because” gift, but usually not the main Christmas gift. Attempting to pass off a gift you’ve opened and used before as a new gift is where the tackiness can really come into play.

Rule #3 – Keep it on the down low. In the all too relevant words of R.Kelly and Ron Isley, “Nobody has to know.” Some believe that telling someone that you’ve basically regifted is the good wholesome thing to do. I think that’s a sure fire way to lose a friend. Why would you need to say, “I received two of these and wanted to give you one?” or “My aunt gave me this vase and it didn’t look good in my house . . . ” That’s something you’d say if you were giving it to someone on any given day, but as their main Christmas gift? Probably not. Also, letting folks know that you are a regifter makes everyone raise a brow everytime you hand something out.

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