Is it rude to regift?
We’ve all been the recipient of a gift we didn’t love but graciously accepted anyway, knowing full well that it would wind up in a closet collecting dust with our other cast-offs. It doesn’t mean the gift is worthless; you don’t have a use for it.
But someone else might.
Of course, you shouldn’t pass your cast-offs on to other unsuspecting victims, but if you’ve received something you honestly can’t use and know someone who can, regifting is totally appropriate. Keep reading to learn more about the art of regifting.
8 Rules for Regifting
The once-controversial practice of regifting has slowly become more acceptable, so long as you keep a few things in mind:
1. The gift has to make sense.
Regifting is a fantastic way to save money while getting rid of stuff you don’t need, but you shouldn’t regift something for the sake of decluttering. If you didn’t like it, chances are the recipient won’t be crazy about it either. However, it’s OK to regift an item if it’s something you would have gone out and purchased for the recipient.
For instance, regifting an Elizabeth Arden fragrance set will probably go over better with your aunt than your teenage niece, and your vegan brother-in-law will probably get more use out of a regifted plant-based recipe cookbook than he would a regifted set of barbecue tools.
2. Give the gift to the right person.
To ensure a successful regift, avoid regifting to friends who run in the same circle so there is no way the original gift-giver could be privy to the regifting. If your neighbor gives you a gift basket of gourmet cookies you know you’ll never eat, take it to your office’s white elephant gift swap. Similarly, the gag gift you get during the office gift swap might be perfect for your young nephew.
3. Remove any tags.
Before you go and regift that jewelry set your aunt gave you for your last birthday, thoroughly inspect it for gift tags, notes, or any signs of personalization. Imagine the embarrassment on your face when your friend opens up a gift bag with a tag addressed to you for your birthday!
4. Don’t regift anything meaningful.
Anything handmade, personalized, or sentimental is not game for regifting, especially if you received it from someone special like your aforementioned dear aunt.
While you don’t need to keep a sentimental gift forever (after all, gifts don’t have to become burdens—they’re yours to do with what you want without guilt), something so personal is not something you want to regift.
Your aunt spent time picking out that jewelry set for you. Sure, it’s not your style, but you love your aunt. The least you could do is wear it the next time you’re together or donate it.
5. Only regift items in good condition.
If you have things that are in poor condition or literally collecting dust, it’s probably best to throw them away or donate them to charity. Only regift items that are in good condition, preferably ones that are unopened and in their original packaging.
Regifting your used items is bad manners. You can still give your stuff away as long as you don’t wrap it up and frame it as a gift. Be honest and let the recipient know that you wound up with an extra copy of a book by their favorite author and offer them the option to accept it or pass.
6. Rewrap your regift.
If you’re going to give a regift, the least you can do is to take time to rewrap it. A new gift bag, wrapping paper, or bow can give your regift the refresh it needs.
7. Keep your regifting in check.
This isn’t some regifting challenge where you see how many regifts you can give in one holiday season. Regifting can be an appropriate gift-giving solution as long as you do it discreetly, thoughtfully, and infrequently. If regifting becomes your go-to, your ways are bound to catch up with you, and you could hurt someone’s feelings and look like a total cheapskate in the process.
8. Be honest.
Everybody makes mistakes. If your coworker calls you out because you accidentally regifted them the coffee thermos they gave you last year, or if you forgot to take the personalized gift tag off the bag, just cop to it. It may be a little embarrassing, but be honest, apologize, and move on.
Items That Are OK to Regift
Certain things are better to regift than others. The following items are all great regifting ideas:
- New household items, such as dish towels, coffee mug sets, or small appliances
- Picture frames (add a photo of you and the recipient for a personalized touch)
- Bath products, including soaps, lotions, or scrubs
- Unopened perfume, as long as you know it’s something the recipient will like
- Unopened gift baskets
- High-quality, gourmet foods, such as a bag of coffee, a box of chocolates, or a tin of cookies (don’t forget to check expiration dates)
- Unopened bottles of wine, beer, or other spirits
- New-with-tags clothing and accessories (make sure the item is either nondescript, or you know the recipient will love it)
- Inexpensive jewelry
- Books in good condition
- Unopened CDs and DVDs
- Anything from a store like Brookstone or Sharper Image
- Children’s toys and games
- Gift cards (double-check that the balance hasn’t expired and the card isn’t addressed to you)
- Lottery tickets
- Novelty or gag gifts
Things You Should Never Regift
Some items should be avoided at all costs, even in moments of desperation. Don’t regift these items:
- Anything personalized, monogrammed, inscribed, or signed
- Anything that’s already been opened
- Anything totally dated, like a GPS
- Perishable food, such as homemade holiday cookies
- Anything universally bad
Remember to regift responsibly. Only you can decide whether a regifting scenario will turn out well, and if you have any doubt, don’t do it. Saving time and money on a gift isn’t worth the cost of committing a faux pas.
Reset for the New Year
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