Regifting: To Regift or Not Etiquette

November 29, 2012

regiftingWhat’s your opinion on regifting? In my mind it is perfectly OK, as long as the item you’re regifting is something you would have genuinely given to the recipient and it is still in good enough, brand-new condition. You don’t want to give away old used crap and call it a gift.

In my mind regifting goes along with my notion of a gift closet–the actual, literal closet I have upstairs where I stash items for when I need a gift. The items in my gift closet are those that I’ve purchased on sale all year long and/or gifts I’ve received that weren’t quite right for me and I couldn’t return–either because I had no inclination to make it to the store, or I didn’t have a gift receipt that would have allowed me to return or exchange the gift.

To some regifting is an anathema to the whole notion of gift giving. But think about it with regards to the bottle of wine you likely received as a hostess gift once when you hosted a dinner party? If you didn’t serve that bottle of wine and put it away–and then grabbed it the next time you needed to bring something when you went to a friend’s house to have dinner–you regifted. Does that seem so awful? Well, to me it doesn’t–as long as you never ever ever regift back to the original gift giver. Keeping a mental note or a physical list of who gave you what comes in handy for that.

What got me thinking about all of this regifting and the etiquette of regifting was a new survey, the results of which ended up in my in box earlier this week.

This survey was conducted by, an online yard sale community that helps yard salers buy and sell stuff near them. According to Bookoo’s 2012 Holiday Regifting Survey, the holidays are the most common time of year for people to regive presents that they previously received from someone else.

While frowned upon by some, a whopping 92 percent believe it’s completely acceptable to regift items, and more than 87 percent believe they too have been a recipient of a regifted item. And, with shoppers looking to save more and spend less this holiday season, more than 62 percent plan to regift an item to a friend, neighbor or colleague for the holidays.

Frequent regifters feel they have mastered the art of regifting and take precautions to ensure it stays a secret. Some popular techniques include:

  • re-wrapping the item to look new (53 percent)
  • inspecting the item and removing any gift cards or receipts from the previous giver (50 percent)
  • planning ahead to make sure they do not give the gift to anyone associated with the original gifter (66 percent). (Sounds like familiar advice, huh?)

Most commonly, people regift because they feel that someone will appreciate the item more than they do (62 percent) or because they couldn’t use the gift personally (53 percent). Additionally, regifting has its cost-saving benefits with 82 percent of people estimating that they have saved up to $150 by regifting. Wow!

While most respondents suggest sticking to more commonly acceptable regifted items–home decor pieces, antiques, books, toys and jewelry–some survey respondents mentioned some pretty hilarious stuff that had been regifted to them. Clearly, you do not want to give any of this crazy stuff when you regift, but for a laugh, here is what people listed:

  • Old fruit cake
  • Box of chocolates with bites taken out of several pieces (Gross!)
  • Monogrammed items with someone else’s initials (Tacky!)
  • Used toilet seat (Ew!)
  • Electric toothbrush
  • False teeth (Ew again!)
  • Fingernail clippers (Ew a third time!)
  • Outdated old desk calendar
  • Items the recipient had originally given to the gifter (Major faux pas!)
  • Toys with broken pieces
  • Gift cards that were partially used

Even though we are talking about regifting at the holidays, the survey found that people regift all year long. Other popular times of year to regift items include:

  • birthdays
  • baby showers
  • housewarming
  • thank you gifts

I would add hostess gifts to the list, too.

No matter the occasion, women are more likely to regift items than their male counterparts 3:1. You know what? Guilty as charged!

One last thing: there is actually something called National Regifting Day, and this year it is December 20th, just so you know.

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