We Are Both Right

Our Two Cents: Regifting Etiquette

As tempting as it is to regift, make sure you read these rules of engagement first. © jaylopez/stock.xchng

Dear Amanda and Suzanne:

Last week, we had our office holiday gift exchange and while the cute scarf and glove set that I received was great in theory (and very thoughtful of course), I really don’t need it.

Besides that, I have quite a few other miscellaneous gift items that I’ve accumulated over the last year or so, still in boxes and taking up space. Some of the things are doubles that the kids got from their birthday parties but that didn’t come with a receipt to return or exchange.

I’m thinking of the money I could save and how easy it would be just to find a new home for these things by recycling them as holiday gifts. But how much of a faux pas is regifting these days? Would you do it?

–Regift or Buy New

Suzanne: There’s actually nothing wrong with regifting as long as you follow the same rules that apply to buying a “new” gift to begin with. Most importantly, make sure that the gift is a good match for its recipient. In other words, don’t regift just for the sake of regifting and to unload something you don’t want.

Sure you would like to free up some closet space, but if your child’s bus driver comes equipped with her own hat and gloves, then maybe a coffee and donuts gift card is really the better bet. Then again, if your friend’s child is a year younger than your own, and doesn’t already have the full collection of Thomas the Train cars that your son does, then why not pass along the doubles from that birthday party that you can only return without a receipt for pennies on a dollar.

Amanda: My name is Amanda and I am a regifter. (And to my friends and family who read this — clearly I didn’t regift to you, nor did I ever regift something you gave me or my family. Just so we are clear.)

I say go for it.

Look, money is tight all around these days. If you have something of value you can’t use, it makes perfect sense to pass it along to someone else who can. It doesn’t matter how you received the item in question (unless you’ve stolen it), it’s yours to do with what you like.

Like Suzanne says though, make sure the gift is a good fit for the person and not just a square peg you are trying to fit into a round hole. Particularly with gifts for children, double check the suggested age, being aware of little pieces and other hazards that aren’t appropriate for little little ones.

To save yourself some embarrassment, make sure what you are regifting is free of any tell-tale signs — a card tucked into the corner of the box or slight tears on the package from old tape for example. And never regift something you’ve already used. Also, make sure that the people you are regifting from and to will never find out.

I know the thought of regifting makes many cringe, but I think as long as the intention is pure — to give something to someone that they will truly like and not to just unload something we don’t want anymore — it’s perfectly fine.

It’s tempting to regift and in some cases, it makes a lot of sense. Do you do it? How often? What rules do you follow?


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