So a friend called me last night to tell me she was re-gifting this year and wanted to know if it was ok to write "re-gifted" on the package.

She thought people might like to know that she wasn't being wasteful and hurting the environment by just throwing away things she didn't like (at which point I wondered if she had heard of donating? goodwill? Mexico?), she wanted them to know she was actually just giving them away again and going green.

Yes, this was an actual question. So, after a thirty minute conversation I hung up absolutely baffled and tickled and laughed for the next thirty minutes. Today I am inspired to write out the rules of re-gifting.

Dear Abby, Heloise, Oprah, or Jenny...Can I re-gift?

Dear Unsure,
Yes! You can absolutely re-gift. NO, you can absolutely not tell anyone if you are giving it as an actual gift! Have a new sweater from grandma that you got last Christmas that looks like a 90 year old corpse should be wearing it? Re-gift it to someone on the OTHER side of the family, who is over the age of 75 and doesn't care about getting a present from you anyway (P.S. people over the age of 75 or so generally don't care about getting gifts from anyone for that matter, they just want to see you, the actual presents start winding up completely unopened in the garage for you to sift through, you know, later). So first rule, always re-gift on the other side of the family, and if you can, give the real ugly stuff to an old aunt who is blind anyways, or a Grandpa who stopped opening the presents five years ago and started using them instead as apart of his box collection in the garage.

If you are re-gifting follow these basic rules. Don't tell anyone. Make sure it is something that you might actually buy for the person. Clearly, don't re-gift where there is any possibility of the giver finding out (unfortunately this includes any home good that visiting relatives will expect to see prominently placed on the mantel when they come to visit or the cow salt shaker that moos at the dinner table when you turn it over that they thought was hilarious) and re-wrap the gift you are re-giving in the same wrapping paper you are using on the rest of your presents. Don't make up an elaborate lie or story about how you saw it in the store and had to get it for them...if the truth ever comes out, you will have a lot more explaining to do, and you will feel like a way bigger loser than necessary.

The best way to steer clear of most of these problems is to set aside a closet or small space for gifts you receive that you KNOW you will never use...the re-gift closet. Have a post-it pad handy in this location and every time you put a gift in there, take note of who gave it to you and when so that upon re-gifting you can divert it away to an appropriate new home!

Ladies, under no circumstances is it ok to re-gift food!!! Fruit cake? Homemade cookies or caramel corn from the neighbor? You cannot give these away as gifts or even as a part of a basket of foods you have made. What if they are not good? What if they are undercooked or their kid sneezed on them and they are caring the flu or Ebola? There could be any number of problems that could arise here, so the basic rule is, if you didn't make it in your kitchen and it didn't come from a baker or grocery not pass it off as your own!!! Plus, if you don't want to eat Aunt Gertrude's slimy looking fruitcake with marshmallows, nuts, and dried fruit still in her cabinet from the 1970's , what makes you think your neighbor does??? Gross, let the pigeons have it, Merry Christmas to the birds and dogs.

Finally, if you must tell people you are re-gifting, stick with family and close friends and do it in addition to their normal presents. Let's say you spend $50 on your mom but then you also got a beautiful angel from a lady at work that you will never put up in your house and you want to give it to your mom. Still spend $50 on your mom and then give her the angel, unwrapped, and say, "I will never use this, I got it as a gift, and I thought you'd love it!" Or better yet donate it, or if you need the money, discretely sell it on e-bay, you can actually make money off of this stuff! Last year I made $77 off of Christmas!!!

Make sure that if it was a special gift from someones heart, you keep it, no matter what. The cheesy book about being a good mom and breast feeding that your mother wrote a sweet note in, or the crazy looking dragon hand with a glass ball in it that your dad got you on a business trip, or the embroidered Victorian blanket or cross-stitch from your grandma, or the glitter belt from K-mart that your dad gets you because you are "his little rock star"...nestle it away somewhere, and hang on to a horrible, but very sweet and thoughtful gift.

Remember friends, be a part of the solution. Stop the cycle of crap gift giving. Re-gift when you can get away with it, or better yet, just give an Addison Road CD instead!