Tips on Regifting Etiquette – When to keep and when to regift?

Published on December 26, 2019 by Lauren

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  • This is another one of ‘those’ topics that I think can get a bit personal for people, Regifting Etiquette. When should you do it and when should you keep the item? The idea of regifting items and when it may or may not be appropriate.

    Sometimes we are fortunate enough to receive some AMAZING gifts due to the kindness and generosity of our friends and family. Some examples may include some very generous gift cards, beautiful clothing, great accessories or tools. Unfortunately sometimes we run into some problems with these presents.

    Despite how wonderful the gifts are, there are instances where there is no way that they will ever be useful to the gift recipient. It can be such a bummer! What do you do then? I’m thinking of the gift cards to businesses that aren’t local, or businesses that may have closed down.

    Your out-of-town relatives might not realize this and wanted to treat your family to a meal out. What do you do then? (There are websites where you can sell your gift cards like, but you may know someone who would really enjoy this treat!)

    Re-gifting can be a way to get these quality gifts into the hands of people who can fully use or appreciate the item. Re-gifting does not mean you did not like or appreciate the gift. For me it means that I just want to ensure the gift goes to good use. Personally, I would much rather this fate for gifts I give rather than being stuffed in a drawer or gathering dust.

    Of course on the opposite end of the spectrum there are times when re-gifting is NOT a good option! Some of these are pretty funny and I hope you can enjoy these sentiments!

    Regifting Etiquette

    Regifting Etiquette Explained:

    1.) “Who gave me this?”

    Um yes, if you can’t remember WHO gave you the gift, you probably should NOT re-gift it. Would you really want to re-gift the item to the same person who originally gave it to you? This could create some very awkward situations!

    2.) Unique Items

    This can also go along with handmade items as well. These are items that are very specific whether it is something you can’t find easily or something that was made specifically for you.

    Why is it not such a good idea to re-gift these items? Well there are many reasons why. For one thing, a handmade item often takes a great deal of time, effort, and thought by the person who made it. Another thing to consider with these items is that you don’t want to give it to someone is close to the person who gave it to you. It would often hurt people’s feelings if they see that cross-stitch they made you hanging in their cousin’s house, or someone wearing that nice sweater. In many cases it is best to keep these items and not re-gift them. Personally, I tend to love the homemade gifts. 🙂

    3.) Monogrammed items

    Do I really need to explain this one? Items that are personalized or relate to you specifically are poor choices to re-gift. Just sayin’. Some people might not want memorabilia from your college or something with your initials embroidered into it.

    4.) Perishable Items

    I think this one is probably a no brainer, right? Items with expiration dates are probably not the best choices for re-gifting unless you are going to do it promptly.

    I mean, not everyone likes fruit cake or peanut brittle right? Keep in mind that people do have food allergies also so sometimes it’s best to just enjoy your goodies or bring it to work to share with co-workers.

    5.) Items you actually want (or specifically asked for)

    Wait… what? Who would re-gift something they actually want? Surprisingly enough it can happen more frequently than you might think. Sometimes we panic and need to provide a gift immediately, so we grab something readily available. Often times we don’t take the time to consider if it’s an item we actually want or need. Sometimes we might just not THINK about the item.

    Keep in mind that this can really come into play if you make an Amazon wishlist to share with family and friends. They might wonder why you want that same movie or video game you requested previously!

    Keep in mind these are just five slightly funny scenarios where re-gifting is not the best choice. I do think re-gifting can have a time and a place. It can be a great way to pass along awesome gifts to those who could use or appreciate them. I just think we need to proceed with caution so we can avoid some holiday mishaps!

    Have you guys ever had a snafu with re-gifting? Any funny stories to share?


  • Whenever I gift a handmade item, I include a note letting them know that I’m not offended if they regift it. I’d much rather have someone using it than to have it languishing in a storage bin or closet.

    I know they appreciate the gift, but sometimes it’s just not their color or as useful as I’d thought. By including the note, it relieves them of any perceived obligation to keep it and frees them to regift it without any guilt.

    While it wasn’t the right gift for them, I had at least provided them with a gift for someone else.

  • I don’t think regifting to avoid purchasing a gift is ever acceptable. If you get something you don’t need and want to give it away to someone who would use it then that’s fine, but not in lieu of a gift you would have purchased for them. But that’s just me.

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