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The Art Of Regifting

Regifting. It’s a controversial etiquette issue. Is it ever ok to regift, and if so, what are the rules of when and how to regift? I’ve heard the argument that it’s a economical way to give gifts for expensive holidays and celebrations in this economy, and it is ridiculous to throw away something perfectly useful to someone else just because you do not want it but didn’t pay for it. I have also heard that a regifter is cheap and trying to find a way to receive presents without reciprocating, or to participate in gift exchanges without any effort or cost.

Where do I stand on regifting? I feel it is totally fine to regift, under specific circumstances. There is an art in how to regift, and if the recipient of the regift is aware it is a regift and not a gift exchange, in my opinion it is not only acceptable, but very thoughtful to pass along something new that you don’t want but are aware someone else would love to have.

How To Regift

Example of Thoughtful Regifting:

Me: Hi Kelly. We received these train horns as a present but we don’t really need them. I know Jack likes to do creative things with his car so he may like to have these.
Kelly: Thanks!

How Not To Regift (read: how to alienate friends):

Me: Hi Emily, Alison gave me these gifts, but little man is too young for this toy and I’m not a fan of this fragrance. Since we are exchanging gifts this year, I figured I could save money and give these to you, since your family might like them and I’m just totally broke!

Another Tacky Regift No-no:

Penelope: Hi Kim, here are our gifts for your family! We hope you like them, it took us forever to find the right things!
Kim: Aren’t those the gifts Marianna gave you?

If you are planning to exchange presents with someone, do not give them items that are not suitable just because you have them lying around the house and want to save money. A better idea is to donate them, or pass them on to people who would love these unwanted items and that you aren’t planning on exchanging with. It is very tacky to make plans to exchange gifts with a friend or another family and try to get out of spending money by regifting items.

It’s also a major faux pas to pretend you bought something that you were given and pass it on (even if there was no gift exchange planned). You will be embarrassed if the original gifter ever sees it in the hands of the new recipient and says something. Be upfront.

I hope you have a great holiday season, and these tips on how to regift are helpful to you. And in case you are the recipient of a recycled gift, what does etiquette suggest you do? Nothing. Graciously accept the regifted present, and if the gift was clearly given without consideration of your tastes or any forethought to being something you would truly like, make a mental note not to exchange gifts with the regifter again.




  • Virginia from That Bald Chick

    Laughing at your tacky examples. LOL. There are definite ways to regift, and ways to NOT do it. Thanks for the Monday Morning smiles!

  • I’ve always had a problem with re-gifting so I usually just donate the stuff that doesn’t work for us.

  • Jennifer

    I don’t see a problem with re-gifting but you provided some great tips. That’s be horrible if someone said “hey didn’t XXX give you that?”! lol. I think I would die

  • Donna

    Great tips! I personally have no problem with re-gifting… either as the re-gifter or as the recipient of a re-gift. That’s recycling, and much better than throwing something back in a closet or drawer and never using it, or worse throwing it away to fill up our landfills. Just as long as it’s done with some thought and care, of course. 🙂

  • Tammy

    I have been known to regift toys my son used to get. He was never into toys.

  • Mary Williams

    I totally agree with you. If you receive something that maybe you don’t need, I think it is totally ok to give to someone you know will use it. I wouldn’t necessarily tell someone it is a regift, if it is something nice and appropriate as a gift for that person, I say go ahead and regift it.

  • I’m kind of amazed at how people are so not slick with their regifting!

  • Marcie W.

    GREAT examples! I’m actually regifting some bath & body stuff because I don’t like the fragrance. I’m giving it to my charity child who asked for bath & body stuff!

  • Zippy Sandler

    There truly is an art to regifting and you certainly covered it all. Thanks for the smile.

  • nicole @WriteSpell

    OHHhh Those are tacky. You’re so right. Promise, I won’t do any. Pinky swear.

  • Shop with Me Mama (Kim)

    LMAO at your tacky examples, hahaha! But, some great tips too!

  • Kelly

    Great advice! I’d also add that if you don’t follow these tips you’re likely to get yourself in a sticky situation. When I was 18 or 19 I received a gift from a friend, waited a couple of years and didn’t have anything to give her as a gift and accidentally regifted the same item back to her. I was so embarrassed until she admitted she had regifted the item to me from someone else!

  • Whitney at It's Gravy, Baby!

    Instead of regifting, I usually just donate any unwanted items. I don’t have anything against regifting, I just can’t stand having items that are useless to make taking up space so I get rid of them ASAP.