Regifting – Offensive, Acceptable? Now is the Time to Figure it Out!

by Evans Putman

Not all gifts are created equal. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes the person buying the gift just doesn’t know you. So what do you do with all the gifts you really won’t ever use? Don’t give the gift giver a WTF look. Smile at them, say thank you, and think about someone you know who WILL like it, and use it. Not too happy with that Gilbert Gottfried movie collection your cousin Billy got you this year? Don’t just tuck it away under the bed to gather dust. If you don’t want to try to sell it on eBay, just save it, rewrap it and regift it.

It wasn’t so long ago that the television show Seinfeld dedicated an entire episode to a regifted label-maker and the ramifications of being caught – gasp – regifting. Now, according to a survey from, “a whopping 92 percent believe it’s completely acceptable to regift items, and more than 87 percent believe they too have been a recipient of a regifted item. And, with shoppers looking to save more and spend less this holiday season, more than 62 percent plan to regift an item to a friend, neighbor or colleague for the holidays.”

I’m just wondering when we turned that corner and regifting went from offensive to acceptable.
Have we become so materialistic that every item – every gift – is interchangeable, meaningless and expendable. Then again, we’ve always said, “It’s the thought that counts.” This acceptance of both giving and receiving regifted items seems to back that statement up.

If you are going to turn to regifting as a source for gift-giving this Christmas or you’re going to save those Christmas gifts to regift for other occasions like a birthday, maybe we should have some ground rules. I mean, we already have a National Regifting Day. Surely there is some sort of regifting rulebook making the rounds out there somewhere.

I haven’t found said rulebook as of yet. I did find four rules for regifting everyone should follow before passing along one of the four fruit cakes you received over the holidays. I’ll even go so far as to regift these rules without quoting directly and adding a personal touch to make you feel a little more special.

Regifitng Rules for the Holidays and Beyond

Don’t open that box of chocolates, eat the ones with caramel, and then pass along the remaining candy to your mom (or anyone else for that matter). If you plan to regift, the original packaging should be unopened and sealed.

Wrinkled and torn gift paper should not be ironed and pieced back together using staples, paper clips, duct tape, gum or any other adhesive tool. Take the time to re-wrap the gift yourself. And if you want to save money, just buy your Christmas gift paper after the holidays at a huge discount.

Did your grandmother hand-knit your name in the clothes she gave you last Christmas? Was your Snuggie monogrammed with your initials and family crest? You might not want to regift those items. Unless, of course, you can find someone on your list with the exact same name as yours.

Learn from others’ mistakes. Watch this clip from Seinfeld to see what I mean. Don’t regift to someone who is in the same circle of friends, same workplace or same family as the person who originally gave the gift. You might even want to make sure they are not connected on Facebook also.

So there you have it: Your guideline to regifting. Follow those four rules and you’ll more than likely not offend the last 13 percent of people out there who are still offended by receiving regifted items. And I do hope you are not one of those people because this article was regifted from the sources much smarter than myself. Feel free to regift – I mean share – with your friends.

Are you a regifter? Have you received a funny, regifted item from someone you know? Please share your story in the comments below.

Additional Resources

How to Stop Being Such a Spendthrift

5 Personal Finance Resolutions for the New Year

Grabbing Financial Stress by the Haunches!

Simplify Your Personal Finances – Infographic

In-Store Warranties vs Alternatives

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