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12 Rules for Re-Gifting Without Fear

Updated on May 14, 2013
Regifting requires a little finnesse.
Regifting requires a little finnesse. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

We’ve all received them. Duplicate gifts, or worse, gifts that we don’t like and will never use. So what do you do with these gifts, besides stash them away in the attic or a closet somewhere. Re-gifting has become the latest means for clearing out those unwanted items. But there are a few tricks to re-gifting the right way so no one gets their feelings hurt.

Re-Gifting: The Rules

  1. Rewrap the gift. The giver may or may not remember if they gave you this specific gift, but they will most certainly remember the gift if you present it in the same wrapping paper or gift bag. What hurts feelings in this case is not so much that you’re passing on the gift, but that you couldn’t even be bothered enough to unwrap it.
  2. Only re-gift unused items. Unless it’s a “white elephant” party, most recipients don’t want items that have been used. That includes partially used gift cards.
  3. Keep a catalog of who gave you what. Or label items you intend to re-gift so that you know who gave it to you and when. There’s nothing worse than re-gifting something to the person who gave it to you. It just screams, “You give lousy gifts!”
  4. Re-gift items to someone who will really appreciate them. Don’t just re-gift things to get them clear out your closet.
  5. Never re-gift one-of-a-kind, monogrammed, or handmade items. Promotional items or generic gifts, on the other hand, are fair game.
  6. Don’t let the receiver know that the item is a re-gift. That secret is one that it’s okay to keep to yourself. And don’t feel guilty about re-gifting, especially if you know it’s going to a good home.
  7. Re-gift to your favorite charitable organization. There are many people who could make use of that duplicate household item for free or at a less-than-retail price.
  8. You can always keep an unwanted gift if it’s from someone important and you know their feelings would be hurt if you didn’t at least pretend to enjoy it.
  9. Check the gift for notes or cash tucked inside that would clearly indicate that were the original recipient. Look for anything that would be a dead giveaway that you’re passing along an unwanted item to someone else.
  10. Take any re-gift items someplace where re-gifting is considered okay, like a “white elephant” party, a swap meet, or a flea market. Such events make it easier to find the right owner and lessens the chance that original giver will find out.
  11. Return it to the store. If the giver was kind enough to include a gift receipt, it means he or she recognizes that you may already have this item or that you may prefer a different model. This makes it easy to exchange something. On the other hand, you may inconspicuously ask where such a lovely gift was purchased. Then go exchange it on the sly.
  12. Sell it on eBay, Craig's List, or the Green Sheet. Of course, this only works if you know the giver doesn’t peruse these places regularly.

There are ways to pass on gifts that you can’t, or won’t, use. No need to clutter up those closets or attics any longer. As long as you’re careful, and follow the re-gifting etiquette, then passing on gifts to others who can make use of them is considered okay.

Wikipedia. Regift.

Regiftable. Regifting 101. The 9 Rules of Re-gifting.

Huffington Post. Re-gifting Christmas Presents: How to Do it Properly.

The Origins of the Term "Re-Gifting"


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      12 Rules for Re-Gifting Without Fear a well advised and thought of hub awesome tips here and worth trying indeed.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Not going to lie - I've definitely done this.You give excellent tips here for a safe regifting experience! Voting up and sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting hub on this topic something I have never experienced but is worth making note of

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Great ideas. I've done these before as well

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      good point about the gift receipt. It acknowledges the fact that they may prefer something else and you wont be offended if they take it back.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      When I receive a gift that I don't need, after a while, I just try to give it to someone else not as a wraped gift but just as something that I don't need. I will give it to my kids if they wanted or to some of my friends or to charity.

      Because I don't like to receive something that I would not use, with a group of friends, we decided that for our birthdays instead of giving a gift, we give each 10 $ for each brithday to Kiva. We started at 4 and now we are 3 of us to do that and since 2008 we managed to lend our money already 49 times to women in need in the world.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject!

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 4 years ago

      These are all great tips and I usually use the donation to a charity tip and sometimes, depending on the gift, I will sell it on ebay.

      With a couple of my friends, when I buy something new for them, I always give them the receipt so the can return it. I also will mention that if they don't like it, they can re-gift it.