The Christmas gift from your sister Barb is beautifully wrapped and beribboned. The card attached to the outside includes a thoughtful note.

Tucked inside the box is a small envelope with a Bridal Shower card inside it. The envelope is addressed to Barb, and inside is a card signed by Shelley. You have been regifted, and – if your name is Shelley – with your own gift!

Related: These Gifts Keep On Taking

When is Regifting Okay?

Is regifting rude?  Is it tacky?  More and more people think it’s acceptable to regift and the practice is growing in popularity.  There are some rules to make it okay, but be very careful:

  • The item must be brand new in the (preferably unopened) original packaging with no obvious signs of use – no crumbs in the toaster for example.
  • Keep careful track.  Make sure the person receiving the gift is in a completely different social circle than the person who gave it originally – especially if it’s an unusual item, or one of a kind.
  • Don’t regift something that has been sitting in your basement for decades.  If you have to dust it off, it’s not an acceptable gift.
  • The gift shouldn’t be something so hideous that you are regifting just to be rid of it.
  • Don’t try to pass off an item as something you’ve purchased just for them.
  • Never regift an item someone has made for you, is monogrammed, or has an inscription on it.
  • Don’t regift free, promotional items.
  • Avoid foodstuffs.  The world’s most regifted food item is fruitcake.  Food and drinks in gift baskets can go stale, rancid or curdle and can be dangerous if eaten past the due date.

Remove any tell tale signs about where the gift originated.  Take off old tape and bits of attached wrapping paper.  Make sure any cards and notes are removed.

Give good stuff

Turn a gift you can’t use into one you can, but have some consideration.  There’s nothing wrong if you’re truly thoughtful and respectful toward the recipient’s needs, interests and tastes.

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Some good candidates are (unopened) bottles of wine or spirits, new household items and inexpensive jewelry – something useful you don’t need, or already have, or simply not to your taste – that you know the recipient will love.

Regifting a family heirloom (or similar) is acceptable.  In fact this is what many “old money” families do.

Final thoughts

I would not regift because I don’t want people to think I’m thoughtlessly unloading something I don’t want to someone who won’t want the item either.  I don’t want the feelings of the regiftee to be irreparably hurt by thinking I can’t be bothered to spend time and money on a gift they will appreciate.

When people say, “Really, you shouldn’t have,” I don’t want them to mean it.

I would more likely donate an unsuitable gift to a charitable organization. But I seem to be in the minority.

This site has declared the third Thursday in December as “National Regifting Day”, something to keep in mind for the ubiquitous gift exchange at your next office party.

Ebay Canada markets “National Regifting Week” as an annual event from December 26 – 30.

What are your thoughts on regifting?

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