This is a bit of a touchy topic… Is regifting OK or does it make you a horrible person? I’m not completely against the idea, but if you’re going to do it, it needs to be done right or there could be tears!
In a situation where you get identical gifts from different people, I definitely think it’s ok to regift one of them to someone who would appreciate it. There’s really no point you having two of the same thing (unless it’s bottles of wine!) And as you still have one of them, both recipients can still see you appreciating the gift they chose for you.
I have occasionally regifted in other situations, but I must admit I do feel a bit guilty about it. It was kind of the person to give me a gift and it feels slightly ungrateful to regift it. But if it’s something I really don’t want or need, then is it really so bad to give it to someone else who would like to have it? And presumably that person doesn’t know you very well (or doesn’t care) if they got you something you don’t like…
I guess it’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons in each situation…
Pros of regifting
- The gift will (hopefully) end up with someone who actually appreciates it.
- You don’t need to find somewhere to store something you’ll never use.
- It can help you declutter if you have a stash of unopened and unwanted gifts lying around.
- It’s better than throwing it away (though perhaps you could donate it to a charity shop instead?)
- It can save you some time and money (but this isn’t really a good enough reason on its own!)
Cons of regifting
- It is a little bit deceitful as you’re unlikely to be honest with the original gift giver (and maybe not even with the new recipient).
- It’s not going to be as personal as something you’ve chosen for that person yourself.
- If the person who first gave it to you finds out, it’s going to be embarrassing at best, the end of a friendship at worst!
What’s OK to regift?
Are some things more acceptable to regift than others? I definitely think so.
I personally think it’s OK to regift books, booze and bath and beauty products. There are certain smells I really can’t stomach in a bath product but that another friend might love, so it makes sense to give it to that friend. I also think things for the home, like candles or glassware, are usually fine.
Things that I believe shouldn’t be regifted are handmade or personalised gifts, heirlooms or sentimental items. But you might think differently and I won’t judge you! 😁
If you decide that it’s OK to regift, then here are some tips to help you avoid any embarrassment. They’re not really rules (you can obviously decide for yourself what’s OK and what’s not), just some guidelines to consider…
- Never regift within the same circle of friends or family unless you’re going to be honest with both the original gift giver and the new recipient.
- Only regift brand new items that are still in perfect condition – giving something that you’ve used is probably a step too far…
- It’s probably also not very good form to give away handmade or personalised gifts.
- Don’t regift something that was given to someone else in your household without permission.
- Check the original box and packaging for any clues that it was originally gifted to you, e.g. any notes or cards inside the box, anything written inside the cover of a book, some of the original wrapping paper still attached with tape…
- Perhaps put some extra effort into the gift wrapping and get an extra special greeting card to make up for the fact that you didn’t spend any money on the gift.
- Make sure it is something that the new recipient really wants. Is it something you would have bought for that person if you didn’t have one available? Put some thought into it and don’t just give things away to any old person for the sake of it.
If regifting just doesn’t sit well with you, there are alternatives…
- Keep it and use it only when the person who gave it to you is around.
- Keep it and store it away somewhere.
- Be particularly careless with it and hope it breaks!
- If it’s something edible or drinkable that you don’t like, open it when other people are around so they can finish most of it.
- Donate it to charity, homeless shelter or food bank.
- Sell it. Though the only advantage of this over regifting is that the recipient won’t mind that you were originally given it as a gift.
- Give it away but tell them it was originally a gift to you rather than packaging it up as though you bought it as a gift for them.
- Give it back to the person who gave it to you. They’ll know you didn’t like it and won’t make the same mistake again. This alternative is only for the bravest!
Think about this: how would you feel if you were in the other person’s position? Would you be hurt or offended if someone regifted a gift you gave them? Or if you were the recipient of a regifted item, would you mind? If not then it’s probably OK for you to do it. But otherwise you might need to decide whether the guilt is worth it 😆