The Rules of Regifting: How to Do it Right

The Rules of Regifting: How to Do it Right

We’ve all been there: unwrapping a gift from a well-meaning family member just to discover that it’s destined for a dusty closet corner. While their intentions were surely pure, some gifts are great in theory, but deep down, we know they won’t get any use.

For most people, throwing away a perfectly new, unused item stings. So there it stays, tucked away until the next big move or thrift store run. At this point, we’ve all wondered, is it okay to regift a present? Will I hurt the feelings of the original gifter or the new recipient?

The thought of passing on a well-intentioned present may raise hesitations, but here's the catch: regifting an unwanted gift is perfectly fine, so long as you use the proper etiquette and do so tastefully. By thoughtfully repurposing items, you simultaneously avoid clutter, save money, and can feel good about reducing waste.

In this article, we'll dive into the often misunderstood world of regifting etiquette. Follow these simple tips to navigate graceful regifting for a win-win gift exchange that leaves everyone smiling.

Here's how to pull it off.

Make Sure it's Worth Regifting

Regifting isn't just about saving money. It’s about sharing something of value that will bring someone joy, even if that someone isn’t you. The last thing you want to do is make them a victim of another unwanted gift. Make sure the products align with their taste, hobbies, or home decor style.

Here’s a litmus test: Would you buy this item new for them, or is it a gift of convenience? Regifting something generic and cheap is bad etiquette. The object is to make them smile, not merely shuffle items around.

Take Care of its Condition

Your regifted present should radiate the appeal of a new gift, reflecting the care you put into selecting it, even if you didn’t get it from the store. Inspect its appearance and ensure it’s in good condition, looking as good as the day it was first received. If possible, keep it in the original packaging to maintain the aura of a brand-new surprise. Good regifting etiquette respects your budget without sacrificing the delight of the receiver.

Wrap it Like You Mean it

While regifting champions resourcefulness, your presentation should compensate for not personally shopping and choosing the gift. Opt for an extravagant gift bag, eye-catching wrapping paper, and cascading ribbons and bows. Include the present in a gift basket with other hand-picked items just for them. Any regifter-guilt you feel can be subsided by going the extra mile to showcase your care and reaffirm that your intentions are as genuine as ever. Just because you didn’t spend money on the gift doesn’t mean you can’t go all out on the presentation.

Be Honest that it's Regifted

Good regifting etiquette doesn’t demand secrecy. If the new receiver recognizes the gifts or asks where they might have seen it before, tell them the full story! A truly regiftable item should be something you’re confident they’ll like, so there’s no shame in saying “I saw this and thought you would love it way more than me.” It goes without saying that you should remove the previous gift tag so the person doesn’t think you put zero effort and thought into it.

Get Out of Your Social Circle

The most important gift-giving rule is to aim for neither the original giver nor the new receiver to know that you’ve regifted. Say your aunt gives you a scarf that isn’t quite your style, and you hand it off to your grandmother the same Christmas season. Your aunt would likely be hurt that you didn’t like her gift and didn’t have the manners to hide the fact. Your grandmother would be stuck in an awkward place, knowing you gave her a non-personal, unwanted present.

As we said before, there’s nothing wrong with regifting as long as you approach it the right way.

Never Regift Sentimental or Personalized Items

It could be perceived as odd or callous to give away family heirlooms or gifts that were personalized just for you. Items with such tremendous sentimentality should be honored, even if you don’t want to wear them often. An unwanted item can still find purpose elsewhere, but not at the cost of the emotional connection the original gifter intended. 

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