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:
- If you are a regifter, keep a list of unwanted gifts along with the name of the person who gave it.
- Don’t use the original packaging. Make the gift “fresh” with fresh wrapping and ribbon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bottom line: The most important rule is that the regifting will not result in hurt feelings or embarrassment to anyone.