Is Regifting Ever a Good Idea?

This is a collaboration

We have all been there and received that gift that made you have to force your ‘Christmas Delight’ face when in reality you wonder whether the gift giver has ever met you before. 

Maybe it was an item of clothing that was a little too small (or too big). Perhaps it was something to decorate your home that just doesn’t match your sense of style (I see you giant polar bear face cushion). Whatever the reason, you might have considered the benefits of putting that present away and using it as a gift for someone who might enjoy it more, further down the line.

Regifting can be an economical way to ensure that you’re not cluttering your home with items you don’t want to use. It also means that you can fill up your gift closet with extra presents a lot faster, without having to spend a fortune. Unfortunately, there are some challenges to regifting too.

Here’s what you need to know about the etiquette of regifting.

Always Show Gratitude

First, when you first receive the gift that you’re planning on giving to someone else, don’t make it obvious that you don’t like what you’ve received. It’s always good gift etiquette to smile and say thank you, no matter how disappointed you might be. Remember that no-one is obligated to buy you a gift, so you should be grateful for anything that you receive.

If you’re not sure what to say after opening the present, ask the person to explain where they got the idea for the item, as this may make it easier to see why they decided to give it to you. Once you’ve gotten home and you’re out of the way of prying eyes, you can then decide whether you’re going to keep the present, or regift it.

Remember, don’t mention “Oh this would be great for Sarah” when you’re in the middle of the gifting process, as this makes it seem obvious that you’re just going to give the product away.

Consider Your Obligations

Unfortunately, there are some gifts that come with obligations attached to them. If your grandma knits you a sweater for Christmas, then she’s going to expect to see you wearing it on at least one visit. In the same way, if your mother or father buys you an expensive moving-in vase for your new home, they’ll probably want to see you displaying it when they come to visit.

If you think that the person who gave the gift is going to want evidence that you’re using or enjoying it, then you might not be able to consider regifting as an option. On the other hand, if you know that this person is never going to follow up, or the gift is something like food that you can easily tell a white lie about, then you should be safe.

Do remember that if you are regifting food, you’re going to need to do so within a specific time limit. Don’t just put your gift in a regifting box and forget about it until the next year.

Know What You Can’t Regift

Whether you like it or not, there are going to be some items that you simply can’t regift. For instance, items that your loved ones are going to expect to see you using are just one example. Other options might include products that you know are cheap and tacky. If someone just grabbed something for you out of a bargain bin, you don’t want to give it to anyone else.

You should also never give away anything that was handmade for you. Even if you don’t love the item that you get, giving one of these hand-made items away indicates that you don’t appreciate the time and effort that someone put into making the present. Hand-made items are some of the most time-consuming and most meaningful gifts.

Never give away any used items or opened boxes, and avoid giving personalized items away, even if they’re suitable for someone else in your life.

Avoid Uncomfortable Situations

Finally, remember that you need to be cautious if you’re going to regift an item. Make sure that the person you give the present to isn’t going to interact with the other person who gave you the present to begin with. This will help to reduce your risk of any awkward situations where you have to lie and say that you bought another version of the item for the person.

Remember to re-wrap the present and make sure that everything about the present is in good condition. You should also check the box included to ensure that there are no cards and names that indicate the present wasn’t intended for the new recipient.

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