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5 Cardinal Rules of Re-gifting

By Lindsay Sheehan

As the heady buzz of the Christmas season draws to a close, you might find yourself with some (however well-intentioned) gifts that fall under the category of “unwanted and unneeded”. Rather than stuffing said gifts into the back of a closet where they will be soon forgotten, why not find the gift a good home with someone who will appreciate it?

Regifting is no longer considered verboten or tacky or morally reprehensible. Perhaps that ugly sweater you got this year wasn’t even meant for you in the first place.

Let’s look at regifting as form of recycling that prevents items from landing in the trash heap. In fact, it should really be added as the fourth “R”: reduce, reuse, recycle…and regift! (And of course, regifting won’t cost you a thing, which never hurts.)

Inevitably, a birthday or wedding or housewarming or some other gift-giving occasion will furnish you with the opportunity to regift. That being said, do not regift with reckless abandon! Here are some basic guidelines to follow before you rewrap and regift:

  1. The regift is something the recipient will value

Possibly the most important aspect of regifting is giving the gift to someone who will like it and use it. Even though you didn’t physically go to the store and handpick the gift doesn’t mean that you can’t be a thoughtful regifter. Break the regifting cycle and really consider whether the gift-receiver would appreciate it. Ask yourself: would you have purchased this gift for this person?

  1. The gift is unopened and unused

Used-once gifts are not suitable candidates for a regift. The gift should remain in its original packaging and any vestiges of prior gifting (tape, wrapping paper, gift tags) ought to be removed.

  1. The original gift-giver does not know the regift receiver

There should always be a few degrees of separation between the original giver and the eventual receiver when it comes to regifting. A bit of subterfuge is good; you certainly don’t want your sister to notice that the scented candles she gave you are being proudly displayed in your mother’s home! Regifting something that came from a family member to a coworker is a perfectly suitable example of a stress-free regift.

  1. Rewrap it

It should really go without saying that you must rewrap your regifts!

  1. It’s a secret

Although the vast majority thinks regifting is totally fine, social decorum would dictate that it needn’t be broadcast that you just gave someone a regift. This supplementary information is simply not necessary and could lead to some hurt feelings, so just keep your regifting practices under wraps.

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