Regifting Dos and Don’ts

As the holidays approach, let’s have a discussion in “regifting.”

We’ve all been guilty of buying thoughtless or obligatory gifts. And I would say that many of us have regifted those thoughtless or obligatory gifts. I can say with certainty that I’ve been given those gifts over the years.

I’m not saying that regifting is bad. It’s OK to regift if it’s done with style, thoughtfulness and consideration.

Be green. Regift.

Be green. Regift.

Regifting a good bottle of wine you’ll never drink is acceptable. Hell, regifting a good bottle of wine you would drink and feel confident the recipient will share with you is an even better plan… and quite deviously brilliant.

My mother regifting me her wedding china that has been housed in the garage for more than a decade after a broken marriage is quite thrifty and beneficial for both of us!

Embroidered napkins are also nice, although I may find it highly convenient that our last names start with the same letter.

Anything that involves alcohol, hunting gear and footwear … not a good regift unless they already have a collection of oddball wine racks.


One holiday season, my dad offered me a nice jacket. It was a little big, but it was made by a reputable company I was familiar with, was comfortable and warm. I said “Thanks, Dad!”

He fessed up and said that his dad, my grandfather, had given it to him and he didn’t really want it. “Oh, well, that’s OK.” Except that his brother had given my grandfather the coat. I was the fourth owner in his coat shuffle and now it seemed that I had a coat no one wanted. Granted, I was an awkward 14-year-old girl who probably shouldn’t have been wearing an oversized coat that was purchased for an 80-year-old man, but what did I know? I have no idea where that coat is now, but I treasure the story… even more so that my dad admitted to everything while regifting.

Here are a few re-gifting rules that may help ease you into the holiday season:

  1. Do not regift the gift to the original gifter. If you must, at least use new wrapping paper. If you’re not a huge fan of the original gifter, feel free to present the gift while standing on a chair … tap your spoon to your wine glass first and make sure you have everyone’s attention.
  2. Do not regift the gift to another person in front of the original gifter. If you must, again, at least use new wrapping paper. And if you’re still busted, exclaim that you loved your purple burlap polka-dotted door ornament so much, you decided to make it your go-to gift, too.
  3. If it’s a personalized gift, it’s best to come clean. Although you may think your motives are inconspicuous,  gifting etched glass beer steins to your fifteen-year-old cousin who just happens to share your monogram is a red flag to other family members.
  4. If your grandmother finds out you regifted her homemade peach jelly, you’re on your own. Same goes for the crocheted socks.
  5. Make sure the regift matches the occasion and/or the recipient. I’ve been given Halloween dish towels at Christmas. Yes, they were special. Yes, I knew they had been regifted. And yes, I couldn’t wait 10 months to use them. Perfect regift.
  6. Let’s be honest: Halloween candy is OK to regift in Christmas holiday “goody bags” as long as there are no black cats, jack-o-lanterns or candy corn on the wrapper. Don’t laugh – what else are we suppose to do with that stash?
  7. When all else fails, ask for a gift receipt. Take it back to the store. Get a gift card. Gift the gift card. Voila! Who doesn’t love a $13.46 gift card to Target or the Pickled Pineapple Boutique?

Let’s face it. Some gifts are purchased with no thought of the receiver. We all do it. It’s easy to do in a pinch. Those are the best gifts to regift, especially to people you don’t know well enough to buy a thoughtful gift or you just don’t have time. Other times, it’s just not a right fit.

If you find yourself receiving a thoughtless gift, go ahead and plan a fun get-together to openly regift those thoughtless presents you’ve received and encourage your guests to do the same. Those white elephant gift parties are hilarious fun, especially when someone opens that “redneck wind chime” you received for your birthday as a legitimate gift… just be sure not to invite the original gifter.


Still not sure if you can re-gift that sweater or not?  Try using this handy infographic from


One response to “Regifting Dos and Don’ts

  1. Pingback: What You to Need to Know Before Returning That Gift |

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