Regifting was once thought of as tacky, cheap and rude, but today, under the right circumstances coupled with the right intentions, regifting in an acceptable practice. To insure that you are following proper etiquette when regifting, the following guidelines are recommended.
Regifting With the Right Intentions
Regifting should only be done when a gift that you received is better suited for the person receiving it. Regifting should not be done out of laziness, procrastination, disinterest in or dislike for the gift recipient. Doing so risks hurt feelings and it is disrespectful.
Regifting Under the Right Circumstances
- Don't Regift the Used or Slightly Used
There is a big difference between regifting an unused night light or one that you plugged in for two months and then decided that you did not want. A regift is a new item that you give to someone else. A hand-me-down is an item that you have used, unboxed, played, washed or cooked with and then give it away.
- Keep Hand-Made Items
Hand-made gifts that you have received are personal and should never be given away as a gift, unless it is given as a heirloom. You risk hurting the feelings of the person that made the gift for you, if they discover that you no longer have it.
- Don't Regift the Gift Card
A gift card hidden in tissue in a gift box can easily get passed along by mistake. Take the item out of the old wrappings, inspect it and start new.
- Don't Regift the Gift Wrappings
Old gift boxes, gift bags, and gift paper age quickly. Cardboard becomes soft and seems to absorb the odors of wherever it was stored and old gift wrap can be spotted just by the feel of it. When regifting, do not use the original gift bags, paper or tissue.
- Do the Sniff Test
Speaking of absorbing odors, always do the sniff test on anything that you plan to regift. If you stored it in a closet where the scent of your perfume or cologne lingers, chances are the sniff test will detect it. Kitchen odors, mothballs, tobacco, and pet odors are particularly aggressive about seeping into closed drawers and cabinets.
- Don't Tell
People like to believe that the gifts that they receive are chosen with thought and consideration. If you tell someone that you are giving them the silk scarf your Aunt Jane gave you last year, then what you are really saying is that you are giving them something that you decided was ugly or lacking somehow. The only time that you would want to mention giving your gift to someone else is if it is not presented as a gift, but rather as a give-away.
- Don't Forget Who Gave You the Gift
Avoid regifting to the family or friends of the person who originally gave the gift to you. If the regift is displayed, you risk getting caught by the friend who gave you the gift. Keeping a list of the people who gave you gifts you plan on regifting can help you avoid an embarrassing situation.
- Old Stored Away Gifts Aren't Gifts
If something has been stored in the back of your closet or attic for years, don't regift it. It is obvious when something has been around a long time, even if it was never used. Presenting it to someone as new will only succeed in making you appear cheap and thoughtless.
- One of a Kinds
If you receive a gift that is unique or one of a kind, don't regift it unless you are certain that the person getting the gift will never be around the person who gave you the gift.
- Do Regift Nice Things
Often the items getting regifted are undesirable, like the "Men in Briefs" calendar someone thought you'd get a chuckle over. Why pass it along? However, if you received a nice gift, such as a wonderful cookbook you already own, do regift it to someone who you know will enjoy it. The nicer the item, the more it makes sense to regift it rather than to let it go to waste.
- Do Regift Heirlooms
Perhaps 10 years ago Aunt Jane, who has passed on, sent the set of her prized crystal wine glasses, but you already have plenty and the design doesn't work with what you are using. Regifting the crystal to someone in the family would be a wonderful gift. It has both monetary and deep sentimental value.
A good rule of thumb to follow when trying to decide if you should regift something, is that if you have any doubt, play it safe and go buy a gift.