You really had vowed last year to give away many of your material possessions. You had decided last New Year to declutter your physical and emotional life. But as Santa and the merriment rolled around again this year you looked around to find stuff everywhere.

Ok, so you have unwrapped many presents this Christmas and it is in the unwrapping that the all too familiar feeling has overwhelmed you again. Not wanting to be a joy kill you find yourself annoyed and even angry. Why did Uncle Bobbie think I would like a mug covered with dogs in Santa hats? Didn’t sister darling remember I had have done the whole “I quit sugar program, twice now” when she purchased the bulk Lindt Chocolate gift pack for me? Even the nice stuff – some of the gifts were obviously expensive but you either just don’t like them or you have one/two/three of them already.

This is a common response to the season of giving – a feeling of disappointment when you unwrap a gift and realise that the person who has purchased for you, really does not know you very well at all. Is it the thought that counts? Hmmm, I wrestle with this one. As my kids have made purchases for their siblings this year I have tried to persuade them to look for useful gifts, adding to what he or she might really need and use. They have done ok, albeit the annual tub of slime made it into someone’s sack this year.

So do you regift? Recycle? Reuse?

Charity and thrift stores are great places to visit after Christmas because everyone has made a quick dash to pass off their unwanted presents. But is it ok to keep the dog in the Santa hat mug and pass it on as a Kris Kringle gift next year?

This is a dilemma. Have I re-gifted? Yes. Have I received a regift? Yes….I think so.

The give away and the wake up call was when I received a book with the inscription made out to another friend. This was a difficult one to process!! Perhaps a mistake.

Some would argue that if the gift is new, in perfection condition, not ugly or offensive and not a family heirloom then re-gifting is acceptable. Think chocolates, wine, books.

However, I think that the reason this has even become an issue and a hopelessly first world issue at that is because we have too much stuff. We need very little. One solution to this problem is to give services or experiences – a voucher for the hairdresser, beautician, a car detailer, local theatre company or cinema. And you can do all this in your local area. Fabulous. Alternatively, give your time and bless the ones you love and live with, by being present. Babysit for them, visit with them, garden with them, wash their pet with them, exercise with them.

I would hope that your presence with those you love is something to be gifted, over and over again.