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Dec 122013
 December 12, 2013  Posted by  Features, Holiday, Hot Deals, Money
Regifting is fine if you do it right.

Regifting has gotten a bad rap, mostly because it’s often done carelessly and without consideration of the person who receives the re-gift. We’ve all heard stories about regifts with the name of the original recipient left in the package – or the gift presented to the person who originally gave it.

I consider regifting an honorable extension of recycling, but only within simple guidelines. It’s like giving used presents. Sometimes, it’s all right. Here are 10 rules for smart regifting:

  1. If you are a regifter, keep a list of unwanted gifts along with the name of the person who gave it.
  2. Don’t use the original packaging. Make the gift “fresh” with fresh wrapping and ribbon.
  3. Do not regift anything that doesn’t look fresh or new. If you’ve been given a less-than-desirable gift, do not inflict it on anyone else.
  4. Don’t put a regift in a store box. I was once given a gift that turned out to be the wrong size in a Macy’s box. When I tried to exchange the item, I was told it was not from Macy’s.
  5. Make sure the gift you’re recycling is appropriate for the person you want to give it to. If it’s a clothing item, make sure the colors and sizes are correct. And while you may have no use for that shiny belt or bling-y earrings, do make sure that the person you’re giving to actually wears shiny belts and bling-y earrings.
  6. If there’s even the remote possibility that the person who gave you the gift will see it in someone else’s possession, don’t do it.
  7. If it’s likely that the person who gave you the gift will expect to see it on your person or in your home, then you must keep it.
  8. Don’t ever regift a fruitcake, unless you know someone who actually likes them. (Yes, Virginia, they do exist — I have an English friend who enjoys fruitcake, but only the fancy versions sold by purveyors like Fortnum and Mason.) Also, be cautious about regifting those mass-produced food assortments that include cheese “products” and similar items.
  9. The best regifting follows the rule of Yes-No-Maybe. Take a good like at the item in question. If you were in a store shopping for the potential recipient, would you consider buying the item? If your answer is “Yes” or “Maybe,” go for it. If it’s a “No,” donate the item to Goodwill or another charity and feel good about making that choice.
  10. Bottom line: The most important rule is that the regifting will not result in hurt feelings or embarrassment to anyone.

Lillian Africano

Lilllian Africano is the editor-in-chief of, cruise editor at JAX FAX, senior editor at Elegant Accents and executive editor at She also blogs on and She formerly served as a freelance editor and writer at AOL Travel and is the author of 16 books, including three best-selling novels (under the pseudonym “Jessica March”). She co-authored the 9th edition of Off the Beaten Track Guide to New York, as well as You Know You’re in New Jersey When… and two editions of The Insiders Guide to the Jersey Shore. Lillian is president-elect of the Society of American Travel Writers and past president of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. Find her on Google +.

2 comments on “Regifting: 10 rules for doing it right

  1. Samantha on said:

    I completely disagree with no. 7. I refuse to junk up my home or my closet to prevent someone’s feelings being hurt. It’s much simpler to give it away, and if the gifter asks why they haven’t seen it you have two options: tell them it was lost/broken and risk them getting you a second one, or just be honest and let them know while you appreciate they thought of you, it didn’t suit your style, fit with your decor, look good with your body shape, etc. and you gave it to someone who loved it (hopefully).

  2. Annie Logue on said:

    One other bit of advice: make sure no one stuck a card inside the packaging. We received a regifted kitchen gadget at a white elephant swap, and when we opened the package, there was a lovely and heart-felt note from the original recipient’s aunt. Ooops! Because it was a white elephant swap, we didn’t care, but we felt bad for the aunt.