Golden rules for regifting unwanted presents

The ten regifting rules that will keep you out of the doghouse this Christmas

Regifting unwanted presents


Regifting is a perfect way to offload a present that wasn't all you had hoped for - and can be a perfect save if you need a present for someone at the last minute. However, it can backfire horribly if you don't follow the golden rules.

See also: Re-gifting etiquette: what is acceptable?

See also: Rubbish presents? Can you take them back?

See also: Should you sell unwanted gift vouchers?


"Miss Laura" an etiquette expert, told The List, that you can really offend people if you're not careful. She outlined her golden rules:

1. Don't give a gift that makes no sense
Think about the person, and make sure you can actually envisage the person using the gift you are giving them, so you don't end up handing over something completely inappropriate.

2. Don't regift within the same circle of friends
If you give something to someone in the same social circle (or family) as the person who gave you the gift in the first place, there's always the risk they'll both find out. She says: "If you get a gift and your first thought is 'that's not staying with me', put a note on it so you know who gave it to you". That way you can be sure you give it to someone who doesn't know them.

3. Don't give it to them in the original wrapping
She says: 'It's a big red flag that says 'look this is a regift'.

4. Don't rule out regifting gift cards or cash
That way the person you give it to can pick something out that really suits them best.

To "Miss Laura's" rules, we would add:

5. Examine the item carefully
Check inside the box for a card or note that may have been included, and check the item itself in case it has been personalised or inscribed!

6. If you regift the item, make the card meaningful
Given that you saved time and money on the present, spend a bit extra of both on the card and the message to show them you care.

8. Draw the line at your closest loved ones
While friends will probably forgive you if they discover a regift, your partner or parents may feel differently. If they ever find out you regifted a present from them - or that what you gave them wasn't a first-time present - they may be terribly offended.

8. Draw the line at meaningful gifts
If someone hands something over that clearly means a lot to them - like china that has been passed down through the family, or clothes they made themselves - it's heartless to pass it on - however much you might want to.

9. Don't tell anyone
It doesn't mater how proud of your regifting skills you are, you can't ever boast about it. Otherwise anyone who ever gets a present from you will wonder if this really did come from you at all.

10. If it's a 'joke gift' all the rules change
It may be funnier to rewrap it and give it back to the person who gave it to you - so you can swap it until the joke wears off.

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