The Art of Regifting

The Art of Regifting

As you get older, you probably have most of the things you need. That’s why regifting, done right, can be a great option.

Are you a regifter? The term, popularized by the beloved ‘90s sitcom, Seinfeld, refers to giving someone a gift that you initially received as a gift yourself.

As you get older, you may already have most of the things you need. Still, your loved ones may continue to give you gifts. (Not a bad problem to have!) You might consider regifting the items – but isn’t it bad etiquette?

“Regifting with the intention of reducing waste and giving the gift to someone else who might appreciate it more than you do is, in fact, honorable,” Jennifer O’Hare, chief executive of the artisan gifting site Belle Box, told The New York Times.

There are many benefits to regifting. It reduces clutter in your own home, reduces waste, and saves you some cash, too. That’s a win all around.

Learn about downsizing and other ways to age in place.

Still, regifting, if done wrong,  can indeed be a faux pas. Here’s how to get it right.

Rules for regifting

No one wants to feel like they’re receiving someone else’s castoffs. Make sure your recipient feels special by following a few basic rules.

Be thoughtful

Don’t regift just to clear out your closet. Ask yourself, “Will the recipient of this regift enjoy it? Will she find it useful?” If you suspect your dog walker won’t have any more use for a revolving tie rack than you did, do not regift it.

Only regift in different social circles

Only regift to a person who does not know or cross paths with the person who originally gave you the item. This will avoid lots of problems and hurt feelings.

Stay away from sentimental gifts and heirlooms

If someone gives you a heartfelt or homemade gift, or a family heirloom, keep it. It may not be to your taste, but the sentiment behind the gift makes it invaluable.

Only give items that are new

The regifted item should be in brand-spanking new condition with its original packaging. The gift should look like it came from a store and not from the back of your closet!

Erase the evidence

Check for any sentimental notes or gift tags with your name on it. Inspect every nook and cranny of the gift before repackaging it for someone else.

Rewrap and re-label

Breathe new life into the gift by giving it new wrapping paper and labeling that is specific to the new recipient.

Use a gift basket for small items

Regifted soaps, chocolates, candles, and bottles of wine are great in gift baskets. Just make sure you’ve covered the rules and have given the individual items a thorough inspection for gift tags, notes, or other evidence.

If you get caught, own it

There’s always a risk to regifting, and that main risk is getting caught. If you do, it’s best just to own it. Explain that you thought the recipient would appreciate it more or have more use for it than you did, and you had the best intentions at heart. With all the focus these days on Marie Kondo-ing your life, most people will understand, especially if you stayed away from sentimental gifts and heirlooms!

Happy holidays, and happy regifting!

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Additional resources

Lynn Cicchelli is a writer with over 20 years' worth of experience creating healthy lifestyle content for both print and digital publications. Originally from New York, Lynn currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, stepson, and dog Indiana.


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