Regifting 101

Ok, you got your stuff. All those presents you did or did not need. Those gifts that are so tacky that even Goodwill won’t take them. Those gifts that look like someone else used them. Now what do you do? Here is my annual guide to regifting so as not to appear as a tacky, self-centered snob.

Disclaimer: If you have ever given me a gift, this post does not apply to you. You have wonderfully impeccable taste. It only applies to those who are not as tasteful as you!

So you have a couple…ummm…..odd or goofy gifts…frankincense and myrrh come to mind. What on earth would a young couple with a new baby and a donkey do with frankincense and myrrh! How about diapers or formula? They called them the three wise men. I can tell you three wise women would never have given those gifts! A couple of onesies and some formula maybe but frankincense, no!

We all received something that makes us scratch our head! Maybe a gift that you already have or in a size or color that just won’t work. Perhaps some hand-painted pictures for over the mantle by a totally unknown (and never to be known) artist or even worse…by a friend or relative or even worse…a painting of Elvis on black velvet. I have the solution for you.

I confess I regift. It goes along with my recycling personality which was nurtured by my mother who grew up during the depression. Everyone has their own feelings about it but I believe that the best tribute to a friend who has given you a gift is to ensure that it is used and enjoyed — even if it’s used by someone else.

I am hard to buy for. I like what I like. If you take the time to really know me, it’s not so bad but for those who have better things to do, it’s tough.

So what do I usually get? With my love of cats, I get cat stuff. Fortunately, that is waning. I don’t keep a lot of tchotchkes in my house. I don’t like to dust. The cats knocked them over, etc. Ironically, the few I have are ducks which intrigue me. (Note to friends: do not buy me more duck stuff.) Then there are always gift certificates, candles, ornaments, soaps, lotions and that kind of thing. Those are good things because you use them.

Occasionally, I get something that I really don’t like or can’t use because of the size, colors or scent. If they are lovely, I will regift to someone who I believe would love them. The key is that it fits the person. You can’t regift to get out of buying a present.

I have been doing this for thirty years. Here are some pointers that work for me:

  • For goodness sakes, don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you even if you know they would love it, unless it’s a joke gift. In that case, they deserve it!
  • Don’t regift anything that is ugly or useless. Yes, occasionally you get those. I once received a pot pourri burner that wasn’t stable. It was just asking to burn down the house. THROW THEM OUT!
  • Don’t regift anything that is personalized unless there is another person with your name. I once received a coffee mug with my name on it in old German script. It was one of the ugliest mugs ever. I was going to give it to someone else with my first name but I just couldn’t do it. (See second bullet.)
  • You can’t regift it if you used it — like a burned candle or a worn sweater. Tacky! It must be brand new or the gig is up. For heaven’s sakes don’t return an article of clothing you wore to the store because for sure I will buy it and smell the armpits!
  • If you aren’t immediately regifting, be sure to put a post-it identifying where it came from (see first bullet). Trust me, you will thank me later!
  • Also be sure to rewrap and check for cards in the box. I learned that lesson the hard way. Ouch!
  • Sometimes you can donate to an organization for raffles or Chinese auctions. That is another good use only if the giver isn’t there. I put together a bunch of cat stuff in a basket for a Chinese auction. There was a bidding war! For poorly made cat statues? Would you believe that?
  • Regift outside of the circle that it came from. If it’s from family, regift to a co-worker. If it’s from work, regift to family or friends unless they overlap.

Sometimes you are just stuck. Someone important bought you something they expect to see either in your house or on your body. Suck it up and use it for a short period of time. Hope they forget about it.

When I buy a gift that is not regifted, I include the receipt along with a note that encourages the receiver to keep or exchange as they wish. I would much prefer if they have something they like rather than a closet of unused gifts from me.

I am all ears if you have any other suggestions! By the way, my sister-in-law actually LIKES fruitcake just in case you received one of those that needs a home.

I have no idea what you would do with frankincense and myrrh but I can offer some ideas for the gold!

31 thoughts on “Regifting 101

  1. As I am very picky about fruitcake, I’ll decline the kind offer.
    I just don’t regift. Have gotten some terrible gifts, but brought up with that “it’s the thought” thing, so to avoid feeling guilty about not keeping them, I hand them off to Salvation army or a shelter. No matter what you are trying to get rid of, there’s someone who is desperately wanting that exact thing.
    No doubt if I tried to regift something it would somehow go to a person who actually went shopping with the original gift giver and suggested that item for me…that’s just my luck.


  2. All great suggestions and pointers, Kate. I’ve regifted when I thought the gift I didn’t like would be one someone else would. I would feel worse about a gift sitting unused in a closet when there is someone who might actually be able to enjoy it.


  3. I am a definite regifter, Kate. I can’t see anything wrong with it at all if something isn’t going to be used. I do appreciate thoughtfulness, but you know, I have also received gifts that would make me wonder if the “giver” knows me at all. LOL! I do try to use some common sense. And sometimes it really is best just to give unwanted items to the GoodWill. I think this year my gifts made sense! I won’t be putting anything out. It would be great fun if through the years I had kept a list, though, of some items that really were nothing short of strange. 🙂


  4. I have never regifted…unless giving to Goodwill is a form of regifting. This year instead of a gift exchange at work we all put money in and bought for a kid whose name was on a tree at a mall. Best way to do a work gift exchange ever.


  5. Like you, I know that I am very difficult to buy for. I’d be too paranoid that I’d regift to the person who originally gave it to me. So your suggestion that they tag it is excellent. Maybe, the best advice is to suggest something they’d like to receive that is affordable … or ask they donate to a worthy cause in the intended recipient’s name.


    • When I was married to Brand X I suggested that instead of exchanging gifts with his 40 something siblings, we donate in their name to a homeless shelter. Oh my goodness, all hell broke loose. They wanted their presents! Your advice is very good


  6. I also LOVE fruitcake…keep that in mind please. I’m all for re-gifting as long as it’s worthy. This year someone made me something, which can be very scary. It was a set of coasters/trivets, which are useful however when they were given to me this is what was said “your gift cost 2 dollars and 79 cents to make” ….. thank you? Who the hell says that? Um yea I hope you enjoy your Coach wristlet!


    • Bargain hunters are a cult. They not only have to get a deal even if they make it themselves, they have to brag about it. Her joy was not in giving you a gift but in saving money while she did her duty. Now about that Coach wristlet…..


  7. So you have a couple…ummm…..odd or goofy gifts…frankincense and myrrh come to mind. What on earth would a young couple with a new baby and a donkey do with frankincense and myrrh! How about diapers or formula? They called them the three wise men. I can tell you three wise women would never have given those gifts! A couple of onesies and some formula maybe but frankincense, no! LOVE THIS….

    I got a book called, Getting To Know Jesus and a bottle of cologne that smells like Baby Powder that I’m on the fence about. Jesus, no offense, is going to charity and Justin the baby upstairs may have his first bottle of aftershave.


    • I love gift cards. Got one myself. Right size, right color and I have the joy of the selection. Can’t lose although not everyone feels like that. I know what you mean about the baked goods. I have a friend that I haven’t seen in years. She used to bake in the dirtiest kitchen I have ever seen. She would be rolling out cookies next to a pile of change. We all know how dirty money is! Never ate the stuff.


  8. I love this one-amusing as well as helpful. I still have a bottle of Britney Spears perfume an employee gave me last year…not intended to be a practical joke; she was sweet and very sincere. I held onto it in case I need a gag gift, but it must be time to let it go…


  9. I never know what to do with candles. They’re so pretty I can’t light them. Especially if it’s one of those baby angels. I always imagine them going “I’m meeelting!!”
    Regifting it is then. Hopefully someone will be more brave than I am.


  10. I noted the silence to your last blog. You must have “stunned” the group, or maybe they thought you were talking about them. Either way, the silence was deafening. 😖 Then again, maybe the holiday took up their response time. Hang in there, the flood gates may open today.

    Enjoyed our visit, hope you enjoyed your steak. lovely tree! You’re house looked beautiful.

    We did make it to the Gehringer house. They got home about 8:30, that gave us some time with them before we got “wiped out” completely. They’re about 8 years younger than we are, but I believe we are in better physical and mental condition. Yes, even Betty is in better shape than them. It’s all in the “genes” I say. 😁

    Have a great “day after!”

    See ya, Stay Warm,

    Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 13:03:00 +0000


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