To Regift or Not to Regift, That is the Question

By November 16, 2009 In the News No Comments


This is the age old question: To regift of not to regift. The jury is still out on this one. Some say never but I say why not?  It’s a great way to save some money this Christmas while not letting perfectly good gifts go to waste.

Over the weekend I opened the box of gifts we received last year that remain unused. Among them, a beautiful Yankee Candle Christmas set that I just never got around to opening; a Disney Sing It for Wii – already have one but I’ll figure out who doesn’t; a Lenox picture frame – very pretty; a Christmas snow globe – I actually know someone who collects these so hooray for that; a really nice set of pasta bowls; and lastly, a Santa suit for my dog. I’m not into dressing up my dog but I know a few too many people who are. You see, none of these items are garbage that no one would want. They are simply items that we had no real need for.

Some people sell unwanted gifts on e-bay or Craigslist but my philosophy is that if the item was a gift you should not profit from it. Giving it away is the right thing to do. Therefore, I’ve written the following guide to regifting etiquette.

  1. Know who gave the gift to you. The biggest faux pas you can make is regifting to the original giver or any of their friends or family members. The key to successful regifting is not getting caught.
  2. Make sure it is not monogrammed or personalized in any way. Last year a former co-worker gave her father’s girlfriend our corporate gift, a Tiffany crystal bowl, hoping she would not notice the faintly etched company logo at the bottom of the bowl. Bad, bad, bad!
  3. Check the packaging carefully. The item should be in the original box and the box must be free of blemishes such as warping, stains or tears from previous gift wrap tape.
  4. Never regift food – i.e. – the proverbial fruitcake. As a matter of fact, never give fruitcake under any circumstances, ever!
  5. Know what people like before you give them a gift. Be sure that it is something that the person would want. I’m not a fan of Amaretto but I was able to regift a beautiful di Sarrono gift set to a friend who loves it.
  6. Make sure it is a timely item. Don’t you dare regift a VHS tape even if it looks brand new. Regifted video games and toys are a dead giveaway. Kids know what’s hot and what’s not. If your kid didn’t play with Mighty Beans five years ago, don’t think my kid will want them now.
  7. Avoid regifting clothes. Last years styles will be obvious to a savvy shopper and heaven forbid they try to return the item. You’ll be caught regifting and that would not be good.
  8. Never regift something that NO ONE would want. If you received a gift that was so hideously ugly that you would be caught dead wearing it or displaying it in your home then why on Earth would you want to give it to someone else?
  9. Be sure that the item you regift will not be missed by the giver. The last thing you want is for someone to ask why you are not displaying the tchotchke they gave you last Christmas.
  10. Never regift a used item. I once received a cordless phone as a gift from my boss that had a voicemail message from his teenage son asking to be picked up from a party because he had too much to drink. Obviously it was used and even worse, it contained something he would not have wanted me to hear.

So there you have it. These simple rules can lead to big savings on your holiday spending and make someone else very happy in the process. Remember, regifting is not a bad thing. It’s how you regift that makes all the difference