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.
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.