Regifting still popular

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Nicole Misencik/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Finding the perfect holiday gift can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Budgets are tighter this year, and the trend of re-gifting is expected to be up.

It's the the dirty little secret of the holiday season.

"I kind of think it's a bad thing," said one shopper.

"It's not totally bad, as long as your heart's in the right place," said Aaron Jones, another shopper.

Like it or not, more people are doing it.

"I'm a big fan of thinking of something special to buy someone you care about," said a shopper.

"I've done it. I think everyone does regifts. Maybe everyone doesn't openly admit it," said another man.

A recent Consumer Reports survey finds that 36 percent of gift-givers plan on re-gifting this year. That's up twelve percent from 2007. Being labeled a re-gifter probably isn't a coveted title. The practice was pilloried in an infamous Seinfeld episode.

Jerry: "Yeah, well, I don't trust this guy. I think he regifted. He degifted."

Elaine: "I think this is the same one I gave him. He recycled this gift. He's a regifter!"

Jerry: "Or maybe he liked your gift so much, he decided to get me the same thing. Perhaps it's an homage."

Unlikely. Forty-nine percent of surveyed shoppers say they are planning to spend the same amount as last year. Consumers we talked to are shopping smart.

"I'm trying to do a little lay-away, probably started two to three weeks ago," said Jones.

"Just doing early and doing it when it's on sale," said Crystal, a shopper.

"During these hard economic times, finding anything under the tree will usually bring a smile to everyone's face but if you're going to regift, do it carefully," said Keltie Domina, etiquette expert.

Domina doesn't agree with re-gifting, but she says if you're going to do it, make sure you pay particular attention not to hurt someone's feelings.

"When you're giving a gift, even if it is a gift that you've regifted, try to make it as personal as you possibly can by putting a special note inside," said Domina.

That includes re-wrapping the gift and making sure the it is something the recipient would like, or instead of regifting, donate the item to charity.

"The person who is doing the re-gifting has to be at peace with themselves and not feel guilty at that point," said Domina.

"I gave it to someone else," said Aaron Jones, explaining that he regifted a regift. "I'm bad. I'm sorry!"

Regifting tips from Peggy Post:

It's a touchy subject, there are many opportunities for hurt feelings, so keep that in mind before, after and during the regifting process. Think about the person who gave it to you.

Always keep the spirit of giving in mind.

If you plan to regift, don't do it with one of a kind items, or anything that is personalized.

Make sure the regift is something the recipient would like.

Take off the original wrapping, and personalize it with your own wrapping paper, or handwritten card.

Honestly re-gift, say, "I already have one of these."

Think about giving the item to charity.