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It's that time of year. Holiday shopping is on everyone's to-do list. But I will not be among those estimated one fourth of shoppers who wait until the last minute to start. I've made a list, checked it twice, and already wrapped all my gifts.

I hope everybody likes their presents. In fact, I hope they like them better than I did, when people gave them to me last year.

I admit it. I am a re-gifter.

And I'm not the only one. In a poll, 67% of respondents admitted re-gifting: passing along an unwanted gift to someone else. Re-gifting has become so popular there are actual rules, such as never re-gifting food items, freshening up the present with new wrapping paper and - duh - not gifting it back to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

Although re-gifting a present seems a little naughty, not nice, I feel merry knowing I'm part of a national holiday trend. In such a busy season, it's certainly a time and money saver. And it's environmental, too. All of us have received something so awful it's just sitting in the back of a closet. Although re-gifting has a Scrooge-like reputation as an underhanded, lazy gift strategy, re-gifting is actually good for the planet, saving gas for shopping trips, as well as the resources to needed to produce and transport some other gift item. Joy to the world!


Re-gifting, like the gifts themselves, needs to come out of the closet. Why is re-gifting tacky, but recycling is cool?

Attention Christmas shoppers: That gift you are hanging onto but will never use is just cluttering up your life. Gift or otherwise, we all have too much stuff. Moving it along is a gift to yourself. Someone else may honestly love it.

When it comes to re-gifting holiday presents, let nothing you dismay. Reduce, reuse, recycle, re-gift. If your friends are like my friends, you'll probably get it back next Christmas anyway.

It's the gift we keep on giving.

With a Perspective, I'm Richard Swerdlow.

Richard Swerdlow works for the San Francisco Unified School District.