The Rules of Regifting

By Julia Bauer
Santa holding a gift

Almost everyone has received a gift – or two or three – that is sitting on a shelf collecting dust or shoved in the back of their closet. That’s OK. Not every gift is a hit. But what if that gift is perfect for someone else you know? Is regifting something you should think about?

If you’ve considered regifting something, don’t feel bad. Although it might be frowned upon, the idea of letting the gift go to waste isn’t any better. But is regifting strictly taboo, or can it be acceptable?

Is it OK to regift something?

Regifting is complicated. On one hand, you’re reducing waste, getting rid of clutter in your house and ensuring the gift gets the love it deserves. On the other hand, it can be tacky, and you’re admitting that you didn’t like a gift you received.

That could hurt the feelings of the person who gave it to you. Because of this, regifting is typically discouraged. However, there are certain cases where it is acceptable.

Regifting should be reserved for special circumstances. Don’t go around giving away every sweater or trinket you’ve received just because you don’t like them that much. Regifting requires careful consideration.

For example, if you received a gift that you don’t like but you know one of your friends would absolutely love it, you might be able to regift it.

If you encounter an instance like that and are considering regifting something this holiday season, follow these four rules.

The 4 rules of regifting

The gift should still be brand new

If you have opened or used the item you are thinking about regifting, think again. Opened or used items should not be regifted. Instead, the item should be in the original packaging and still have the tags on it, Jodi RR Smith, founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, told Good Housekeeping. Also, make sure the gift wasn’t handmade or personalized for you!

Be careful when choosing the recipient

Try to avoid regifting to friends in the same circle. If one
of your friends gave you a gift and you decide to give it to someone who is friends with the original gifter, things could get messy. Not only that, but you might end up hurting the original gifter’s feelings.

Rewrap it

Don’t put it back in the original wrapping. Since you didn’t have to put in any effort to get the gift, put that effort into the presentation! The gift is even better if you wrap it in a way you think the recipient will love, according to Good Housekeeping.

Make it meaningful

Regifting isn’t about getting rid of things you don’t want. For example, if someone gave you a UF t-shirt that doesn’t fit you right, giving it to your friend who is an FSU fan probably isn’t the best idea. You should only regift something if you truly believe the new recipient is going to love it.

If your main goal is to get rid of things you don’t need, consider donating the items instead. Ultimately, gift giving is a love language. Always remember it’s the thought that counts.

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