When is Regifting Appropriate?

Occasionally, I will get a gift that I just cannot use, or refuse to use. Then the question becomes, what do I do with this gift? Some will try to return the gift. If you’re fortunate enough to know where the gift came from, you’re still at the mercy of store policy. Without a receipt you’ll probably get store credit. Inevitably you’ll arrive at the question “Should I use this present and save it to regift to someone?”

The short answer is it depends. In certain situations it is perfectly fine to take an unwanted gift and regift to someone else. However, you need to thoroughly evaluate the situation and who you intend to give the present to. Ensure that whoever you regift to is not the original gifter, and that they will actually get use out of the present. I’ll cover some appropriate (and inappropriate) situations for regifting.

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Return To Sender Regift

Regifting a present to the person who initially got it for you is never acceptable. Doing this risks hurting their feelings, because they know you didn’t like, or want the gift they selected. This is especially true if the person you know is close to you. We tend to spend more time researching and selecting a gift for those we hold dear. If you give this to someone who holds you dear, they may realize it and call you on your choice. Awkward. It’s best to just avoid this situation.

White Elephant Regift

This situation is ideal, because there is a large pool of people who could potentially use the gift. As long as you didn’t receive it at last years event, no one will ever know this is a regift. Obviously, it is best to make sure the gift is usable by a large portion of the population. Things like, coffee mugs, candles, and books are best. Avoid things like clothing, as sizing is a limiting factor.

You’ll have to make sure the gift is appropriate for the audience, because regifting a gag gift can make for an awkward “discussion” with your boss about propriety. For more tips on white elephant gifting, check out this post to see if any of your gifts fit the bill. You could also check out our top white elephant gift list here, if you’re feeling guilty about the regift.

Regifting to a New Beau

Regifting to lovers is a particularly sensitive situation. I don’t recommend doing this for several reasons. I mentioned above that we tend to spend more time, effort, and sometimes money on those we hold dear. Going against the norm can pay off if the gift is perfect, and I mean perfect! Making sure it’s something they can use, and actively want is best. Don’t just pass off that book you got last Christmas to your significant other who doesn’t read.

Anytime you’re thinking of regifting a sentimental gift, just don’t. On the off chance anyone in your circle of friends mentions you having gotten a similar present from your ex, the ensuing conversation isn’t likely going to end well.

Charitable Giving Regift

Similar to the white elephant scenario, giving a regift to a charitable organization has very little chance of ending poorly. There virtually no chance of the person who receives the gift knowing that you regifted it. Furthermore, the organization is likely to send the gift onto someone who needs the present, and is unlikely to regift the item themselves. Congrats, taking this route means your gift has probably found its forever home.

Final Thoughts

If there is any chance that someone in your inner circle will know the person you are regifting to, I recommend waiting at least a year before giving your item as a gift. Ensure that whomever you decide to send the gift to will get use out of it, otherwise it’s just a revolving door and may end up making it’s way back to you. Large groups without a dedicated recipient are the best scenarios for regifting.

If you’ve found this information helpful, consider taking a look at some of our other gift guides for other questions you might have.

This site (TheGiftasaurus.com) is owned and operated by Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank, CJ, and other sites. Graphite Designs Unltd. LLC is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

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