Christmas season is almost coming to an end, and I have been seeing people’s thoughts on gifting, regifting, etc.

I’m sharing my own thoughts, ones that have helped me view gifts all these years, most especially when I became a mom.

If you’re on the fence about certain gift-related matters, this post might give you another perspective, or if you have you own, I’d love to hear them, too.

Game? Game.

Is it okay to pass on gifts I received to someone else? Can I regift the presents I received?

I see nothing wrong with this, as long as you regift it to somebody who you know would really like the gift. During Christmas, married couples (especially), tend to receive a lot of “food” gifts, and they are often yummy and interesting, but the food adds up and before you even realize it, half of them have already expired.

If you have a friend who loves a specific type of food you got, I don’t see why you shouldn’t share it. If s/he really loves that food, s/he’ll probably prioritize eating that over all the other food received. Or, we also share it to our friends and family who have not received lots of food and can use some of the gifts we got to stock up their pantry.

This regifting idea for me, goes beyond food, however. For example, we got lots of kitchen appliances on our wedding, and some were either redundant in use, or were really not suitable for our vegetarian lifestyle. We actually regifted them to other couples who got married, but would actually advise the couple to be married by saying: “Hi. We received this _____ during our wedding, but have not used it because we don’t need it. We can give it to you as our gift if you want. OR, we can sell it, then use that money we earned to buy you guys a gift. Which do you prefer?” Believe it or not, couples tended to choose the item we already have over us selling it and buying them something else.

My regifting rule is simple: regift ONLY to the person who would appreciate it.

PS: This rule came in very handy this year. My sister put wooden blocks on my godson’s wishlist. I was not able to buy anymore because it was out-of-stock in the toy stores we visited. Pablo received wooden blocks this year, but he already has two of those. So we actually shared this third one to my godson. Everybody happy!

I got a PR package from a brand. Can I give it as gifts to my friends/ colleagues/ etc?

I am including this because I sometimes see “issues” people have with “influencers”. Technically, we all influence people somehow merely by being present online. Whether it’s a friend who you’ve given an idea through your post, or a stranger who happened to land on your page and found something you posted interesting, we influence each other somehow. In the world of Sales and Marketing however, influencer is a term used for a person with enough following to make a difference in a brand’s sales or recognition. Once you’re on someone’s list, that brand/agency would consider sending you their “packages” for promotion.

For many, it seems that “influencers” are so “lucky” because they are given gifts “for free.” I am adding this topic to this post because I’ve seen too many issues people have with this topic, saying it’s unethical, etc. etc.

As someone who receives PR packages from brands, here’s my take on this one: first of all, we (atleast me and some people I know) try to really just have things we use and brands we believe in sent our way. However, it is also very typical for agencies handling different brands to send you all their clients’ PR packages once they already have your address. I’ve seen this happen too many times – being sent products I don’t need nor want and sometimes in large quantities.

Before I elaborate on that, let me also point out that while many people think influencers receive “free” gifts, it is technically not free. It’s not free because somehow, they are hoping they would get a shoutout from you to promote their brand. This is more like an “exchange deal” or “energy exchange” instead of monetary compensation from both ends. If I may add, if the influencer is really quite influential, it’s usually the influencer who benefits less from this set-up because in exchange of products (which usually don’t cost much, especially food products or everyday basics like hair or body products), the brand instantly gets either brand recognition (new followers, brand recall, etc) or direct sales (actual orders). Before, brands had to spend hundreds of thousands to millions on big campaigns, commercials, billboards, events, etc just to promote their brand — and none of those big things guaranteed that sales would follow. But now, all they have to do is give away some of their products (note: I’ve even seen a few brands sending out products that are very near expiry date, and two brands that actually sent expired products) to who they consider as “influencers”, and they accomplish what would have been very costly a long time ago. Even if some of the people they send their packages to don’t share about their brand online, their cost is very small compared to spending for commercials, campaigns, billboards, etc. It’s just like giving away some of their products for testing in groceries, stalls, etc.

Now, going back to my point: if you receive PR products and you don’t really need them or use them, I don’t see why you shouldn’t share it to the ones who do. I remember my sister once got a feminine wash PR package – and they put too many bottles in there that it would have lasted her 10 years or more. Seriously, no single entity should stock up that much, they would eventually reach the expiration date. So, if a friend loves that brand, or needs that product, I really see no issue in doing this. It’s actually extra marketing for the brand (which in essence, is really what they want), because if that receiver ends up using the product and liking it, the receiver may even turn out to be a loyal, paying customer.

By doing this, too, you are actually doing less waste. Again, instead of the products being unused and gathering dust, I’d rather it go to someone who really uses it, whether I paid for the product monetarily (being sent products for promotion is work, after all) or not. Remember this wonderful quote: We don’t have to continue holiday traditions that leave us BROKE, overwhelmed, and tired. If you’re short on cash and buying loved ones gifts are quite challenging, as long as PR packages are given to the proper receiver, I don’t see why you shouldn’t share your blessings this way. Don’t let other people’s issues leave you in debt.

PS: I actually have not regifted any of the PR packages I got before. I mean, not for Christmas or birthdays. But if I had friends over and they needed some of the products, I would share. However, I would like to thank the people who actually were against this, because it gave me an idea: the opposite of theirs, actually. We have a lot of Cerelac Nutripuffs this December (they sent a lot for Christmas),and my son can really finish all of that since he really loves the puffs. His cousin learned about the puffs from him and would always ask for his own. So even if I knew my son could really eat all the puffs in the boxes we received (we even buy when they don’t send), I thought of sharing puffs for him this Christmas as one of our gifts, and guess what? His face really lit up when he was opening the puffs! It was such a winner gift.

I received gifts I don’t need/want. I received gifts that don’t fit me, or isn’t my style. I received gifts I already have. What can I do?

We have all received gifts we don’t need/use/want atleast once in our lifetime. For kids, getting doubles or triples is quite common. In cases like these, what do I do?

Three things: REGIFT (to the person who would appreciate it as mentioned above), DONATE (we have also donated a lot to friends who were collecting toys and clothes for less fortunate communities and families), or SELL.

Sell? Que horror! I can already imagine the reaction of some people here. Haha. But yup, that is my honest take. See, that person wanted to give you something, and more often than not, spent on it. BUT…it’s really not your style, or it’s the wrong fit, or it’s really something you don’t want/use/need, and would just gather dust and contribute to world waste…I’d very much rather sell it. Why? Selling it almost guarantees that the person buying it likes it and would use it (unless it’ll just be another gift), so the product’s purpose is served. On the other hand, I get to keep the money and buy something I like for myself (or keep it), thanks to the person who actually gave me a gift.

When it comes to my son, however, we are firm in keeping the money. If it was sold and not donated, we don’t buy something else with the money earned. I sell the gift (I do the same thing with things he grew out of already), keep the money, then put it in my son’s bank account. That way, the money of the gifter was not wasted at all. When his account grows big enough, we invest it – all thanks to the contribution of these people for a more secure future for him.

PS: If you’d like to know how we invest his money, you may contact my husband.
He’s an Executive Financial Advisor:
☎️ +63928-5071016
Instagram: Financial Planning 101

PPS: I usually sell the stuff on Facebook – in buy and sell groups or the marketplace. I also sell on Instagram.

I am totally for second-hand gifts, as long as again, they’re given to the proper receiver!

For Christmas, I put cookie cutters in Pablo’s wishlist. My nieces gave him their old but working cookie cutters. And I really do not mind that at all. I’d rather they give what they no longer use anyway, than buy and let the used things add to the planet waste.

For my son’s birthday, when Montessori on Mars asked what was on his wishlist, I told her: “Just buy from Booksale (our favorite second-hand bookstore.”) And she did! And I was so happy, because I always love her finds from Booksale, so it was so touching to receive books she personally chose and curated for my son. You see, the time she spent there looking for the books that she thought my son would love is really the most valuable gift she gave us.

How do you decide on what gifts to give people? I am running out of ideas!

There is no perfect way to determine the best gifts people can have. You can give the most beautiful open-ended toy to a child, but if that child has been exposed to gadgets all day or battery-operated toys, it might still not be appreciated. Or, you might remember someone when you see something, but you’re not sure if that person already has that thing. It’s always tough thinking of gifts.

On my end, if I really cannot think of a gift for someone, I try to keep these things in mind:

* If possible, I ask for a wishlist. In our family, we have a Viber group where we share our wishlist. This year, I only wrote 4 on the list, and actually got all of them. How about doubles? Well, when a member buys something, that person informs the others so that they know it’s taken.

* The 4-gift rule: WANT | NEED | WEAR | READ. I try to keep our gifts in line with those 4 essentials, most especially books — unless the receiver doesn’t even like reading, of course!

* Include Gift Receipt: I sometimes forget to tell the cashier this, so I appreciate when they ask if we would like a gift receipt. This way, if I got that person’s style correctly but s/he already has what we picked, s/he can exchange it for something else. Or if we picked the wrong style, s/he also has the option to change the gift.

* For toys, I only stick with quality brands. Not because it’s wooden, it’s great or better. We have been gifted wooden toys from local or generic brands too many times, and sadly, the quality is often poor. Whether the puzzles are quite hard to fit (poorly made slots and pieces), or the pieces are just glued and one hard pull can break them, or the finish are too rough, or the paint are obviously toxic, these generic toys are often no match for good brands that do a lot of testing for safety (toxicity and safety in use). At the end of the day, what I realized is: QUALITY TOYS matter. Just because these overnight Instagram brands come up with a copy of the more expensive brands and they look the same, it does not mean they are the same in terms of quality. What you want is for the child to play and manipulate the material, so the MAKE of the material MATTERS. If I cannot give quality toys because of budget restrictions, I’d rather give a book or a gift certificate to help parents buy the better quality toys.

International Brands available locally that I can attest to: Plan Toys, Melissa and Doug, Hape, Haba, Imagination (Discovery), Viga (hit or miss – usually okay), Tegu Magnetic Tiles, EverEarth
Local Brands that I can recommend: Seed Studio Toys (generally good quality for their basic sets, though their wood tends to break during shipping because of their packaging style, but the wood finish is okay)
Brands unavailable locally that I love: Grimms (no other brand can match their rainbow series – #realtalk), Ikea (really good quality for their price points, especially!), European brands in general

* Gift Certificate: When I’m not sure of someone’s style, I end up buying gift certificates, so they can choose for themselves. I stick to generic brands that offer something for everyone – brands like H&M, Uniqlo, Fully Booked, SM, etc. What I love about gift certificates over gift receipts: NO EXPIRATION DATES! So they can use it when they want to, the receivers are not bound to a 30-day return policy (or less).

* Insurance: What do you give to someone who already has everything? Or someone who doesn’t have a lot? INSURANCE is always a great gift! It will not always be used (you hope not), but in case that person needs it, it would come in handy. If you know a person who doesn’t believe in these things, all the more it would be good to give this as a gift, because that person probably doesn’t have one. But this is a great gift, because one can never have too many insurance policies. For Christmas, we give a personal accident insurance card (PHP 50,000 value). All they have to do is to register through their mobile, and they are insured for the year. It’s good to know that if needed, that amount would be a great help to that person.

* Food that don’t spoil easily. If I were to give food, I try to make sure the expiration date is longer and if possible, ones that don’t need to be refrigerated. Again, as mentioned above, especially when you’re a married couple, you tend to receive a lot of food for the holidays, so even if you like what you received, you can’t eat all of them at once. And then stocking them on the fridge is another challenge. PS: Some people gift us with the same kind of food every year and it actually works, ha! We do remember who gave it because of the consistency, and sometimes, you end up looking for that specific food. If it’s the kind of food that could pass for Noche Buena, it’s also good to be consistent — cause we end up not buying that specific food anymore, since we know we’ll most probably get it in time for Christmas!

At the end of the day, I try to make gift-giving a happy moment for me, instead of being stressed about making sure this or that person receives a gift. I like thinking of the receiver while buying/creating/wrapping the gift. And I don’t know about you, but for me, THE PRICE DOES NOT MATTER. My friend asked me what she could give my son for Christmas. I told her my son would be delighted with one matchbox car, an ambulance perhaps, because he doesn’t have one yet and he loves emergency vehicles. I was specific in saying a matchbox was enough – that really, my son doesn’t need a huge ambulance with blinking lights and loud sounds. She was so concerned that the gift I was asking for my son was too cheap, and in Filipino thinking, nakakahiya (it’s embarassing). I get where she is coming from, and I don’t blame her — adults have created this whole ideal of a perfect Christmas (or birthday), where the more expensive and grander the toys, the happier the child. But I insisted that the price does not matter. At his age (2), he will not compare who gave the more expensive gift. Children only learn that kind of thinking from adults who insist on it. True enough, while my son and my godson received different and interesting gifts, at the end of the night, they were most alive and happiest while playing with a real lemon, one they got from our fridge…that, and each other.

Children are sooooo easy to please (all you really need to do is observe them), until we teach them to replace their interest with our standard of good enough gifts.

How about you? What are you gifting/receiving gifts philosophies? Would love to hear your thoughts!



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1 Comment

  1. I super like this idea…

    “The 4-gift rule: WANT | NEED | WEAR | READ”

    ♥️ This definitely makes finding the perfect gift much easier!

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