(If you have a true love, then you have thirty of them from last Christmas! Most people really only need twenty-nine French hens.)
Regifting this year is up. Way up. A Consumer Reports survey found that a little over a third (36%) of American adults said they’d recycle a gift this year, which is a 50% increase from two years ago. Regifting is an art and MP Dunleavey has a dozen good tips for learning that art.
With Christmas decorations hitting Costco in August, and “leaked” Black Friday ads popping up, and overt announcements from Walmart a month ago promising 100 toys for $10, it’s clear that stores really, really want to sell stuff badly. (Not that they haven’t always wanted to sell stuff, but the retail wars seem to be getting more heated.)
So the realization that more people still want to give stuff that they already have in their possession is a little telling about how bad things are, no? This increased regifting behavior will be a drag on year-end sales: each re-gift means, roughly, a gift that wasn’t purchased. If there are roughly 200 million American adults, and 5% of them re-gift one $10 gift (5% is the increase of “would re-gift” adults from last year), then that’s $100 million less that retailers will get this year, just due to regifting. Add to this outright lost sales, and pretty soon we’re talking real money, real hits to the bottom line, and real downsizing.
But you know what? That’s what should happen. When people overspend, they need to underspend. When people underspend, businesses that rely on people spending will run into hard times. It’s not our duty to keep businesses afloat. We should use the fruits of our labor in ways that benefit ourselves, and right now that includes reducing debt and saving for retirement.
So dust off those Christmas knickknacks, rewrap them, and pass them on, preferably to people other than the those who gave you said knickknacks. Lots of others are doing it!
Thanks to M is for Money for including this post in the Carnival of Personal Finance.