It’s that time of the year again: holiday season! Birthdays roll in, fall commencements, anniversaries, religious events. It’s the season for crazy holiday deals and the best time to shop until you drop. But sometimes, after spending all year, we find ourselves a little strapped for cash come December and resort to, well—finding things in our closets (with the tag still in tact!) to give away as gifts. Yes, you know what it’s called: re-gifting. The opinion on re-gifting etiquette differs from person to person; some people believe it’s a tacky and cheap practice, while others say it’s a good way to conserve and keep things from going to waste. Whatever your opinion may be, if you choose to re-gift, takes these three thoughts into consideration before daring to take the present plunge.
Know Who’s Getting the Gift
Hopefully your friends and family members really know you, and you know them well, because honestly, gifts should rarely be recycled. Re-gifting, especially during holiday gatherings with several people, can really send a negative message: “This is a special day, but you’re not so special.” Don’t re-gift an item just to give something; truly put thought and meaning into it, as if you went out to the store and bought it yourself. Make sure you know the person to whom you will be giving the item will actually appreciate it.
Re-gift for Random Occasions
It’s not a smart idea to re-gift for birthdays or the holidays—but it’s better for random potlucks or White Elephant parties. Also, random gifts, just to show that you are thinking of someone, are good opportunities for re-gifting. Since it’s not a special occasion, there’s no awkwardness with the expectation of an amazing gift. You’re basically saying, “Hey! I thought of you and you might like this.” This is where you think—the thought counts.
Keep It One Hundred
Sometimes there is no need to hold a front—especially if you’re going to be handing out an item you’ve been gifted with the person who originally gave you the gift in the same room! If you’re going to be bold enough to re-gift, then you should be bold enough to tell the recipient that it was an item given to you by someone else. You can also choose to tell your original giver what you plan on doing. The situation will be much more awkward if your original giver and the recipient discover the re-gifting. Also, never pass off a very important or special gift to someone else, like your grandmother’s ring. It is an easy way to hurt someone’s feeling and appear insensitive.
If you decide to regift, then take into account the art of re-gifting. Here are a few do’s and don’ts from the Austin Post:
1. Do rewrap the gift you’re giving. Especially if you’re giving it to someone of a different gender, age, or interest. A book gift-wrapped in pink for me would definitely not sit well with my 50-year-old, male boss!
2. Don’t regift it to the same circle. If you received a re-gift-worthy item from your colleague, give it to you neighbor—one who will never meet that colleague.
3. Do try selling your gifts and “re-gifting” yourself with the proceeds. I hear Ebay and Craigslist are nice places to start with this idea.
4. Do consider the recipient’s take on the gift. If you didn’t like the gift, don’t give it to someone who might also not like it.
5. Don’t re-gift personalized items. Need I explain?
6. Do consider giving to charity. I repeat, share your blessings.