Many of us will have received gifts we didn’t want this Christmas. The question is, when is it ok to regift them?
Up until perhaps a decade ago – in a pre-credit crunch world – storing an unwanted present to wrap up again for someone else might have been frowned upon.
It was something some people did, but maybe didn’t tell anyone. A dirty little gift-giving secret.
With time comes change often ushering in behavior to fit the occasion. The prepackaged little secret was given a name: regifting. Soon it became a buzzword and the socially acceptable thing to do with those five bubble bath sets, three pairs of gloves and multiple boxes of chocolates from Auntie Mary.
The unthinkable happened – passing off unwanted gifts to unsuspecting friends and family became the norm. Regifting became cool. How would one define such a secret?
To give as a gift again; (in later use) spec. to give (an unwanted gift that one has received) to someone else as a gift.
Bonita Turner, fashion editor turned blogger at Mamas VIB, knows a thing or two about shopping and the etiquette of regifting.
“I hate the thought of being ungrateful – but sometimes you just don’t need or want something that someone has given you,” she says.
“I keep any ‘unwanted’ gifts in a plastic-lidded box to regift throughout the year. I also donate some to Cancer Research charity shops, one year I handed a lot to a hospice for their raffle table and any soft toys and games to my local women’s refuge.”
Ms Turner says she has recently passed on a book which was bought for her by a friend but already owned, ironically titled “The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less” by India Knight.
Many people end up donating unwanted gifts to charity, usually allowing a respectable amount of time to lapse before passing it on.
Sanna Pehkonen, who writes a parenting blog called Wave to Mummy, says: “If it is something I don’t need or don’t want I put it aside for later re-gifting, or for donating for a good cause. I might also keep some small items for the office Secret Santa.
“Obviously if the item does come with a gift receipt I’ve sometimes returned them and bought something more suitable for myself with the credit note.”
Six things to do with an unwanted gift
- Donate it to a charity shop
- Save them in a safe place to regift as birthday presents throughout the year
- Keep for the office secret Santa
- Sell it, like thrift blogger Katy Stevens, who says: “If it is an expensive item I will try and sell it and buy myself something else nice with the money.”
- Send soft toys to a women’s refuge
- Organize a present swap with friends – or play a game like Michelle McNulty
Erin Ek Rush, from the website Yorkshire Tots, tries not to keep anything that doesn’t ‘”spark joy”.
She says: “After reading Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, I try to not keep anything in the house that doesn’t do just that, so this includes gifts I can’t use or don’t suit me.
“Instead of feeling guilty about passing things on, it’s better to think they are being used and appreciated by someone. If I think I know of someone who would like or use an item, I pass it along then and there.”
There can be pitfalls to re-gifting though, so make sure you remember who gave you the item in question. Forgetting could backfire.
According to Karen Beddow – a mother-of-three and author of travel blog Mini Travellers – it’s usually fine among friends.
“I received a scarf from a friend which I gave her the year before,” she says. “It made me giggle, I don’t mind that at all.”
It might also be worth being careful to look up the cost of a present before you re-gift it.
Mrs Beddow adds: “I had been given some very expensive face cream as a thank you from a client at work, and had no idea of the value. The recipient was gobsmacked I had spent that much.”
Some people think it’s acceptable to give an unwanted present back to the giver. Katie Haydock, from lifestyle blog Life on Vista Street, has had gifts given back to her.
“I have had gifts given back to me before when they’ve been unsuitable – I’d rather not have known to be honest,” she says.
“Not only did it make me think the person in question was ungrateful, it made me put less thought into their gifts thereafter – sticking to cheap and cheerful generic gift sets for them. They should have re-gifted.”
The most unusual – and possibly fun – way to pass on your unwanted gifts is to play a game, like Michelle McNulty who writes the blog Seeing Rainbows.
“We play a game on Boxing Day at a family party,” she says. “We all bring an unwanted gift and all pay $1.
“We then use cards to try and match the gifts at random then we are allowed to force a swap. It’s hilarious and actually you can end up with some cool stuff- or the cash.”
The rules of regifting, according to etiquette and protocol expert William Hanson
- Consider the quality of the gift you’re regifting. I always say if you’re giving it away, it is probably because you didn’t like it in the first place.
- Regifting is ok if it’s something you already own. The only time I have regifted is if I have been given a duplicate, or if it’s something you have a lot of, like scented candles or boxes of chocolates.”
- You need to make sure there are at least four or five degrees of separation between the person who gave it to you and the person you are giving it to.
- If it’s handmade or homemade then never regift it – it’s either put up with it or put it in the bin.
- If you have friends who are consistently giving you unsuitable gifts, you might need to find better friends.
William Hanson offers courses in good manners, civility and etiquette.
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Tire Safety Tips for Winter When Temperatures Drop
The same temperature you can begin to see your breath at 45 F—is also when the all-season tires on your car can start to lose traction and grip.
As temperatures drop, drivers should remember that if you can see your breath, you should think about winter tires. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trek or simply driving to and from work daily, exposing your vehicle’s tires to colder weather could lead to potential trouble on the road.
Snow and ice may be fun to play in, but they make for dangerous driving conditions. Winter tires are built for cold-weather conditions and deliver improved starting, stopping and steering control in temperatures 45 F and below. The difference is the tread compound of winter tires, which stays soft and pliable in colder temperatures for superior traction. Add the tread design of winter tires with thousands of extra gripping edges and you get as much as a 25-50 percent increase in traction over all-season tires.
To help stay safe on the road this winter, the experts on tires and winter driving recommend following these four tire safety tips:
- Get ready now. It is important to replace all four of your vehicle’s all-season tires with winter tires if you regularly drive in temperatures 45 F or below, snow or no snow. Winter tires are made of a softer rubber that allows the tires to stay pliable and maintain better contact with the road through winter weather conditions.
- Don’t forget the wheels. Having a set of wheels specifically for your winter tires can save you money in the long run. Pairing a separate set of wheels with your winter tires can eliminate certain changeover costs and save your everyday wheels from the wear and tear brought on by ice, slush, snow, and salt during the winter months.
- Know your numbers. Check your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure tires are at the appropriate inflation level. Temperature changes affect tire pressure – for every 10 degrees of temperature change, tire air pressure changes 1 pound per square inch. Low tire pressure can lead to decreased steering and braking control, poor gas mileage, excessive tire wear and the possibility of tire failure. Also, don’t forget to check your spare tire.
- Rotate, rotate, rotate. To help increase tread life and smooth out your ride, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or sooner if irregular or uneven wear develops.
Your safety is important, that’s why drivers should make it a point to beat the rush by getting winter ready before the first snowstorm or cold streak of the season hits.
Photo: Getty Images
Source: Discount Tire
Medicare Takes Aim at Medical Identity Theft: Protecting Seniors From Fraud
Criminals are increasingly targeting people age 65 or older for personal identity theft. In 2014 alone, there were 2.6 million such incidents among seniors, according to the Department of Justice.
A growing offshoot of identity theft is healthcare fraud, which can result when someone unlawfully uses another person’s Medicare number. Medical identity theft can lead to inaccuracies in medical records, which in turn can result in delayed care, denied services and costly false claims.
That’s why Medicare works with the Department of Justice, taking aim squarely at would-be thieves. In the largest law enforcement action against criminals fraudulently targeting the Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare programs, 412 people around the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, were charged in 2017 with bilking U.S. taxpayers out of $1.3 billion.
New Medicare Card for 2018. (Video Courtesy of YouTube)
The next big fraud-fighting push is well underway — and its focus is protecting the personal information of senior citizens by removing their Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.
People with Medicare don’t need to take any action to get a new Medicare card. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail out newly designed Medicare cards to the 58 million Americans with Medicare. The cards will have a new number that will be unique for each card recipient. This will help protect personal identity and prevent fraud because identity thieves can’t bill Medicare without a valid Medicare number. To help with a seamless transition to the new cards, providers will be able to use secure lookup tools that will support quick access to the new card numbers when needed.
Healthcare fraud drives up costs for everyone, but healthcare consumers can be an effective first line of defense against fraud. Follow these tips to help protect yourself:
- Treat your Medicare number like a credit card.
- When the new card comes in the mail next year, destroy your old card and make sure you bring your new one to your doctors’ appointments.
- Be suspicious of anyone offering early bird discounts, limited time offers or encouraging you to act now for the best deal. That’s an indicator of potential fraud because Medicare plans are forbidden from offering incentives.
- Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true.
- Only give your Medicare number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
- Report suspected instances of fraud.
- Check your Medicare statements to make sure the charges are accurate.
- Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or approaches you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will never contact you uninvited and request your Medicare number or other personal information.
- Don’t let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
- Don’t allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
- Don’t let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don’t need.
- Don’t accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman.
Learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud at Medicare.gov/fraud, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also visit a local SHIP counselor, who can provide free, one-on-one, non-biased Medicare assistance.
With a common sense approach to protecting health information, senior citizens can be effective partners in fighting Medicare fraud.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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