The problem: I’m pretty sure my sister just regifted me some athletic wear, because she had earlier mentioned to me not liking some workout clothes she got. She must have forgotten she told me. I don’t care much for these clothes, either. What should I do?


Low road: Wrap them back up and give them to her for her birthday. (This could get fun.)


High road: Let’s give Sis the benefit of the doubt and see her as less of a trickster and more of a planet lover doing her part for our overwhelmed 21st-century environment. Reduce, re-use, recycle — regift. The circle of life!

I see nothing wrong, and a lot right, with finding a happy home for all sorts of things we are given that don’t trip our light fantastic: clothing, accessories and jewelry, small appliances we might already own, even gift cards to restaurants we’ll likely never frequent. The question is: How honest do we have to be?

In the regifting department, I’d tread gently. Regift only new items, in perfect condition — and original boxes — that tend to have universal appeal. With everything else, regift informally at times of the year that are not associated with gift-giving: no birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas. Simply offer up the goods with a sweet note: “This was given to me and I just know you’ll use it more/appreciate it more/love it more than I will. Enjoy!” Receiving something fun for no reason feels good.

Giving for no reason feels even better. In this particular case, your best bet is to “regift” the athletic wear to a favorite charity or thrift store, such as Goodwill or ARC Value Village, where someone will find it, grab it and happily think, “Score!”


Send questions about life’s little quandaries to Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at