Seven tips for appropriate regifting

holiday sweaterThe presents are opened, the wrapping paper recycled and you might be wondering what to do with those gifts that aren’t quite something you want or need. According to a survey by 83 percent of respondents are okay with receiving a regifted gift. This surprised me. I personally am not a big fan of regifting because it feels dishonest and disingenuous to me, but I know the practice has gotten more acceptable. If you plan to regift there are several things to be mindful of before doing so.

When you regift a present avoid giving it to someone who is in the same circle. You don’t want the person who gave you the gift to hear from someone else that they received their gift. Watch this episode on Seinfeld as Elaine discovers her gift was regifted.

Never regift something that you’ve used. It must be new and in the original packaging.

Be sure to remove any cards or notes that came from the original giver.

Only regift an item if it’s something you are sure the other person would enjoy. Don’t give a gift to someone just to get rid of it. For instance, if you received a nice sweater from your Aunt that is a color you aren’t fond of, but you know your friend really likes this color and would enjoy the sweater, it would be appropriate to regift it to your friend. But don’t give your coworker, who is allergic to scents, the cologne you received from Aunt Jane.

An alternative to wrapping a gift and presenting it as something you picked out for the person is to offer the item unwrapped if you think he or she would enjoy it. Say something like “I received this book and I’ve already got a copy of it, which I’m enjoying reading. I thought you might like it.”

Never regift something that is handmade, very personal or very meaningful. Yes, when it comes from your mom or best friend who spent hours knitting that scarf for you, you need to hold on to it and wear it or display it at least once so she can see it.

When in doubt about regifting something don’t do it. Give it to a charity – a win, win for everyone. Or, do as my book group does – have a white elephant gift exchange where everyone knows you’re gifting something you don’t want. As they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

How do you feel about regifting? Do you do it? Are you okay with receiving regifted items? If you don’t like it why don’t you?


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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. TiffanyNielsen on December 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Arden,
    The Seinfeld video is a crack-up! Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Personally, I’m not a fan of re-gifting. Making it priority to focus on the thoughtfulness behind the gift and on gift giver themselves, keeps the ‘spirit of giving’ elevated.
    If a gift isn’t the one of my dreams, so what. I’ll make the gift work, share it with my favorite charity or save it for a rainy day to use/wear/admire.
    It’s the thought that counts…
    Fun article!
    Thank you!

  2. ArdenClise on December 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    TiffanyNielsen Hi Tiffany, so nice to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the article and the Seinfeld video.That show provided quite a few fun etiquette scenarios.

    I agree with you on regifting. I’m not a big fan of it, but if 83% of people say they are okay receiving a regifted gift I guess we’re in the minority.

    All the best to you.

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