Some people feel that under no circumstances should a present be regifted. Whether it’s an anniversary, graduation, birthday or a gift for another special occasion, they feel regifting disrespects the gift-giver, who likely spent hours narrowing down the perfect present. I can understand this reasoning, mostly because I used to feel this way. That was until after my wedding when I received multiples of many household items sans a gift receipt. So yes, I’m guilty of regifting. But in my defense, it was the lesser of two evils. These items could sit in a closet collecting dust, or I could find them a happy home.
Everyone has their own ideas and opinions about regifting. Some say it’s okay, and others wouldn’t dare consider the practice. To each his own. But interestingly enough, the art of regifting isn’t as taboo as it used to be. In fact, some etiquette gurus say it’s okay, as long as it’s done tactfully.
But just because regifting has become more socially acceptable, this doesn’t mean anything goes. There are rules to this game. So if you don’t want to offend or get caught, make sure you follow these simple guidelines.
Never, Never Regift Within the Same Circle
Regifting in the same social circle is asking for trouble. As a rule of thumb, the new recipient should not be related or friends with the original gift-giver. It’s too risky. If the gift starts making the rounds—which it could—it might not be long before the original gift-giver figures out your little secret. You don’t want to offend or upset this person, so make sure the new recipient doesn’t have any close ties to him—actually, it’ll work out better if the two don’t know each other at all.
Match the Gift With the Right Recipient
Don’t give the gift to any random recipient. The same way the gift didn’t suit your taste, it won’t be the right fit for everyone. If you start giving gifts without any regard to the new recipient’s needs or personality, he’ll probably pass the gift off on someone else. You have the power to stop this regifting fiasco. So put a little thought behind the gift and match the item with the most appropriate recipient.
Rewrap the Gifts
It’s easier to reuse the same box and packaging of the original gift, but it’s safer to re-wrap the gift. You never know, the original packaging might included a written note on the outside that you forgot about or overlooked. If the gift came in a sealed box, check the packaging carefully to ensure the giver didn’t tuck a card or note in between an opening—which is a dead giveaway of a second-hand gift.
Don’t Regift Anything That’s Handmade
It doesn’t matter how much you hate the hand-knit sweater given to you by a coworker, or whether your best friend’s homemade ceramic gift looks like the work of a four-year-old, never regift handmade items. The gift might not be useful or the most attractive, but the giver put a lot of thought and effort into the gift. So even if you have no intentions of ever using or wearing the gift, it should stay in your possession—even if it remains in the back of the closet and only sees the light of day when the giver visits.
Keep a Record of What You’re Regifting
If you receive a gift that you know you’re never going to use, make a note of the original gift giver. As time goes on, you can lose track of who gave you what, especially if you have a number of unused gifts piling up. Attach a Post-it note to the gift along with the name of the original gift-giver and the date. This way, when you’re ready to pass the gift on, you won’t make the mistake of regifting to the original giver or within his circle.
Some might say it’s tasteless and tacky, but the decision to regift is ultimately your call. If you choose to regift, just make sure you’re recycling gifts with class and dignity.