Smart $aver: To regift or not to regift?

Kathy Petry of Springettsbury Township with Deb Moats of East Manchester Township (Photo by Kate Penn)

for Smart

The holidays have come and gone.

You’ve unwrapped, exchanged and played Secret Santa enough this season to amass quite the holiday haul.

But among the gifts from your friends, family and coworkers, there’s that one thing that just isn’t you.

You are sure the giver had the best of intentions. But you hate the color. You don’t need another knickknack. Or you just can’t stand this token of holiday cheer.

There is no gift receipt. You have no idea what store it came from.

Do you stuff it in a closet and cross your fingers it doesn’t hit you on the head when you open the door?

Will you donate it to a charity and hope it finds a good home?

Or do you — gasp — regift it?

What not to do

My parents were married for 25 years, and at their anniversary party, they received a lovely silver photo frame from their friends.

It was tastefully wrapped and had a thoughtful card attached wishing my parents many more happy years together.

But once they pulled the photo frame out, a second card fell from the box. It was a note wishing the gift givers a happy anniversary.

Uh oh! Busted!

Regifting is an acceptable practice, but all the rules must be followed.

If you receive a gift that you already have, have no use for or flat out don’t like, it can be regifted.

But do so with care. Take into consideration that your gift came from someone who took enough time to think of and shop for you.

Regifting 101

Some questions to think about when considering regifting are: Was the gift crafted especially for you? Is the gift personalized with your monogram? Will the new recipient put the gift to good use?

If you feel confident that you’re in the clear, then it’s time to pinch your pennies and shuffle your unwanted present onto the next lucky owner.

But, first, a few things to remember:

  1. Never regift a present to someone who gave it to you, anyone who was in the room when you opened it or anyone in the same circle of friends as the gift giver.
  2. Never regift something that has been used. If you opened it, wore it or sampled it, it’s yours to keep.
  3. Never regift a present in its original wrapping. Rewrap the present with all the flourish due to the new recipient.

Only regift if you can answer yes to these questions:

  1. Will the recipient love or have a great need for the gift?
  2. Have all traces of the original wrappings and cards been removed and replaced?
  3. Is the gift still in its original box, unused with its tags still intact?
  4. Is it comparable to what you would purchase if you had to buy a gift for this person?
  5. Are you prepared to deal with any hurt feelings, awkwardness or questions if it discovered that the present is actually a regift?

Read more creative money-saving tips from Sarah Mock at and

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1 Response

  1. December 29, 2012

    […] sure you loved that sweater? Get the scoop on re-gifting — when it’s OK and when to skip, plus tips on approaching the subject […]

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