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Regifting-How to Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Edited Jul 13, 2016 6 6

Regifting is one way to give a gift that keeps on giving. The term “regift” was first coined in a sixth season episode of the classic comedy Seinfeld entitled “The Label Maker”.

With difficult economic times, many people who once thought regifting was cheap are now looking in their closets for the unopened and unwanted presents they received in a whole new light.

Regifting rules

Rules for Regifting

The first rule of regifting is that the gift has to be new, unused, and in the original packaging. If it is used, donate the item or sell it, but in no way should you give someone a used gift (unless, of course, it is an antique or a coveted collectible item).

Another re-gifting rule is that the gift should be something the person actually wants. Do not give a gift simply because you have a new one hanging out in your closet, and feel that the person who gets it should be grateful for getting anything at all.

What to Do Before You Re-gift

Regift using new wrapping pape and ribbons

If you get something that you really do not like, put a sticky note on it that tells who gave it to you, the year, and for what occasion. The reason for this is so that you never give a person back the same gift she gave you! This also prevents hurt feelings if the person is part of the family, and you give the gift back to another family member who remembers who gave it first!

Even if something is brand new in the box, look inside to see if there are any small cards or notes tucked inside. That is another tell-tale sign that the present you are giving to another is a regift. This is a true story…someone once gave me a wallet as a gift. It looked new…it was in the original box and had no markings on it. When I opened it up, the photocopied driver’s license of the gift giver’s sister-in-law was inside! Obviously, this was a used regift!

The bottom line is to be very careful if you choose to regift an unwanted item. There is a lot of emotional baggage tied to the present someone took the time to shop for and give to you. It is almost a form of personal rejection.

Is It Cheap to Regift? A Moral Dilemma

One thing that makes people think twice before regifting is that they will feel cheap. Yes, you are being a tightwad if you have a healthy bank account, yet you do not want to spend any money on a new present.

If you are afraid of feeling cheap, you can regift and augment the present. For example, if you want to bring a bottle of wine to someone’s home, and that bottle had been a gift to you, add a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers as a host gift. No one will ever know…unless you tell them!

Which leads to this piece of advice…if you do choose to regift, keep it to yourself. If you tell people that you regift, from that point on, everyone who knows will question if what you give them is new or a reject of yours.

There is an art to recycling gifts. If you choose to regift and give the gift that keeps on giving, then you need to be careful to whom you choose to bestow your unwanted presents.



Nov 4, 2011 4:47pm
I was giggling all the way through this. Loved it so much.
Nov 4, 2011 9:57pm
I frequently regift things ... and your article encourages me to keep right on regifting! Thanks for a delightful read!
Nov 4, 2011 10:10pm
In addition to re-gifting, I like to reuse really beautiful gift bags or packaging (that are in like-new condition of course!). I use the suggestion that mommy wrote about...I put a post-it note of the name of the person who gave it to me so I won't 'accidentally' give the gift bag back to the same person!
Nov 5, 2011 2:34am
You've nicely addressed the pros and cons of regifting. It's not a habit I have, but partially because I ask for personal gifts such as photos or other mementos from family.
Dec 24, 2011 5:53am
Great to read it in an actual article. I don't really practice regifting but I often end up giving away unwanted gifts to someone who will love them.
Dec 29, 2011 5:21pm
Many really good tips!
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  1. "The Label Maker." Seinfeld Scripts. 2/11/2011 <Web >

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