Ask the Readers: Have You Ever Re-Gifted?

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  • Comment #1 Regifting Submitted by Jessica P on December 1, 2009 - 10:35.

I have regifted and plan on regifting again this year. I got a nice gift at a holiday party- it's a "wax potporri warmer" you put the wax scented tart on top and light a tealight candle on the bottom and as the tart melts the scent is released. It's pretty and holiday themed, but it's not necessarily my style. I would probably use it, but not often. My husband and I thought his sister might like it and appreciate it more than we would, so we're deciding to give it to her as a Christmas gift. I really don't have a problem regifting and I wouldn't have a problem if someone has regifted to me (they might have and I don't know it), if the other person would enjoy it more than you would, I don't see the big deal. However, if you're regifting junk, then it's a problem. My husband wanted me to regift a music box to my niece, but she's only 6 and is very tomboyish, plus, it's really ugly and I wouldn't want my brother and sister in law thinking I thought that was a nice gift, so I refused to regift that.

  • Tamarametcalf19 I totally regift. In fact I won a bunch of baby stuff from some giveaways that are going in my in-laws gift basket! @wisebread and #WBAsk


It's a sticky subject, but something that is very common. We're talking regifting, and with the economy making shopping new a little bit harder than last year, it's something that everything seems to be talking about. Have you ever regifted? Will you consider it? And if it's something you're not ashamed of, how do you keep it classy?

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Looking to read more on regifting? Check out these fabulous articles:

What to Do With all those Coffee Mugs

Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide

What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?

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Guest's picture
Jessica P

I have regifted and plan on regifting again this year. I got a nice gift at a holiday party- it's a "wax potporri warmer" you put the wax scented tart on top and light a tealight candle on the bottom and as the tart melts the scent is released. It's pretty and holiday themed, but it's not necessarily my style. I would probably use it, but not often. My husband and I thought his sister might like it and appreciate it more than we would, so we're deciding to give it to her as a Christmas gift. I really don't have a problem regifting and I wouldn't have a problem if someone has regifted to me (they might have and I don't know it), if the other person would enjoy it more than you would, I don't see the big deal. However, if you're regifting junk, then it's a problem. My husband wanted me to regift a music box to my niece, but she's only 6 and is very tomboyish, plus, it's really ugly and I wouldn't want my brother and sister in law thinking I thought that was a nice gift, so I refused to regift that.

Guest's picture

yes I have regifted and will do so again.just becareful not to give it back to the person that gave it to you.I hate to see anything go to waste and if someone else will use it; then it should be recycled.

Guest's picture

I sure have regifted! It seems perfectly fine to me to give something that I will never use to someone that will use it and enjoy it. The gift(s) were mine to do with as I wished; so why not pass it along? It's a much better idea than a closet full of unwanted items. I am always mindful to only give what I believe someone will enjoy receiving, not just passing something along for the sake of being cheap and not buying a gift.

Guest's picture

I'm not sure if this counts as re-gifting, but sometimes I've received nice gift with purchase stuff or items in a conference give-away bag that I've set aside for future gifts. (For instance, a brand-name bottle of lotion from a giveaway that later ends up in a gift basket or stocking).

I'm not sure I feel comfortable re-gifting an item a friend or family member gave to me. I try to use them for a while, then give them to charity after an appropriate amount of time.

Guest's picture

I first started re-gifting when I decided I wanted less "stuff" in my life. I inevitably always get something for Christmas that just doesn't fit my personality or I know I'll never use, so I started stashing them for later. Then I realized I actually have a lot of stuff that I never use. Some of that stuff I donated, but some of it I squirreled away for gifts for friends and family. I obviously never re-gift pressies that are unusable or worn into such a state that they are no longer "vintage" and are now just plain ugly. Anytime I get a gift that I know I won't use or that I know someone else will like/use more than me, I stash it away for a birthday or other gift-givin' holiday.

Guest's picture

I am all for re-gifting, but I make sure to label the potential re-gift with the name of the person who gave it to me in order to avoid an awkward exchange in the future.

Guest's picture

I do re-gift, but I will not re-gift an item for a special occasion, such as Christmas or any other holiday. I will use things I was given on those days as gifts later to someone else, but its usually a hey, here you go, enjoy type of gift. Not exactly the definition of re-gifting, but I am giving someone a gift I was given as a random here you go type of gift. And as a cardinal rule, I never give the gift around someone who gave me the gift, even though there gift will be used by that person more then what I used it.

Guest's picture

I absolutely regift. I consider it a form of recycling. When I get a gift basket with elements in it I'm not fond of, or small, token gifts I don't care for, I often use them as stocking stuffers or recombine them in a different way and give them as gift baskets of my own creation. I do make sure not to regift to the person who gave it to me in the first place, and if something is just really awful or looks like it's made the rounds a few times already, I don't regift it; I give it to Goodwill.

Guest's picture

Oh YES I regift! It is a great way to unclutter the closet. Half the time, the gifts are so odd that they are not items you'd display when gifter comes over - nosehair trimmer? Just be sure to inspect the package well - remove notes, stickers, etc; you'l probably need to rewrap it. I'll regift books, this year's fruitcake, a kitschy photo frame, you name it!

Guest's picture

I see nothing wrong with re-gifting as long as its a quality present. I have received gifts that were so cheap or cheesy that I passed them on to Goodwill instead of re-gifting. That doesn't happen often...but don't we all have that one relative that we can never figure out where she gets this stuff???!!!

Guest's picture

ReGift is the best way to shop! Small household items are ideal since no one notices them unless they are wrapped up.

Guest's picture
mary jane

Certainly I've regifted, not just stuff given me but stuff Hubby's elementary school students give him (yes, you CAN have too many travel mugs). Mostly I donate the items to my club's raffles/drawings/auctions/etc. Sometimes it's just doesn't feel right to ask for the receipt from someone who gave you a gift that fell flat, and it's wasteful to throw these things out.

Guest's picture

I regift and have been regifted. For me, I prefer to see it as directing things to their rightful owners. Someone once bought me a beginners embroidery kit, and I had no use for it whatsoever. The only stitches I manage are those I get in the hospital after particularly clumsey episodes! So I regifted this to a friends child, who had just learned to sew. I knew there was a better chance of the gift being enjoyed by that person than by me.

Of course, I also regift to charity jumble and bric-a-brac sales.

Guest's picture

I have re-gifted a few times and won't rule out doing it again, but it's not something I do often. I'm also very careful that the parties involved in giving/receiving have no chance of coming into contact with one another. I'm pretty terrified to offend the original giver.

Guest's picture

I've only been brave enough to re-gift twice, but both times I also included a personal first-time bought gift along with the item from home. I think it's okay if you've never used the item and the other person could benefit/or would like the thing (i.e. a picture frame). (Of course, don't take one off your wall and leave the picture of your cousins in it. That's a no-no!) But why not be resourceful, not just because it's a recession, but rather because it helps everyone out - save money, declutter, give good gifts!

Guest's picture

I regift but my fiance takes it to a whole new level. We just moved and he started a pile of "gifts" - mostly junk that we acquired through some previous gift process. Many of these things are previously used. I tried to tell him that it's totally not cool to give his cousins books that he had read but didn't want anymore or camping sets that we used but turned out to be too small for the both of us. He doesn't seem to worry about the etiquette. He even tried to re-gift something to his sister that his mother gave him last year! Like she's not going to notice!

The strange thing is that his family is very much for the buy-everyone-something-big thing, which I hate. My family has never done much by way of gift-giving, so dropping 1k during the holidays on gifts is outrageous to me.

Guest's picture

Yes, I have regifted. I see no harm unless you regift to the same person so keep track. I have regifted kitchen tools I would never use (a mandoline), a towel set in a color (turquoise even tho I live in Florida) that has never gone with any color scheme I've had, and jewelry. I always make sure to repackage, and to give to someone who would use it. I also make sure to check for extraneous tags, like personal notes.

A further explanation: these gifts were given to me from people who do not live near me or who do not really know me like office mates and who would not be visiting my home.

A gift is given with no strings attached, at least it should be, and is yours to do with what you want.

Guest's picture

Of course I have. There's no shame in it if you'd buy it for the other person anyway. Bath and Body Works items are all I've ever regifted, I think, especially if I have much more than I can use.

Guest's picture

Of course I regift, especially for stuff the kids get for their birthdays -- there's invariably two of the same game or something we already have or don't want. One time someone regifted my kid with the gift we'd given her kid the year before. :-D

Guest's picture

After all, aren't re-gifts the gifts that keep on giving? (and giving, and giving....) :)

Guest's picture

I have regifted and would do it again in the future. I don't think there's anything wrong with it if you got something you don't like or won't use and you know someone else would like it and use it.

Guest's picture

I have definitely re-gifted in the past, and will continue to do it. However, I do try very hard to only re-gift something that's appropriate for the person (i.e. something I would have considered giving them beforehand). I definitely am not sold on the "it has to be brand new and you have to have spent $$$ for me for it to be called a gift." But, that's just me. That said, when i received a funny hat for a 4 year old when my first child was born from in-laws who had a 4 & 5 year old, it felt a little odd that they had most surely re-gifted, but without paying attention to the age of our newborn and the size of that hat. :)

Guest's picture

To regift, or be regifted is fine with me. The gift has to be treated like any other gift - unopened, unused, and appropriate for the receiver.

The last 2 items I've regifted were gift cards. I was given a restaurant gift card and hardly eat out, so I gave to a friend for their birthday because he loves to eat out. I won some Home Depot gift cards and gave them as a wedding gift to a couple who just bought their first home and have a lot of renovation work to do.

Guest's picture

I definitely regift - and there's nothing wrong with that! I think of it like recycling. If I don't, all that's going to happen is that the gifts that don't appeal to me will gather dust at the bottom of a drawer.

Guest's picture

I have no problem with regifting, do it myself and encourage others to do long as it's well done. This includes making sure the gift is something that the recipient would like (except in the case of White Elephant Gift Exchanges, but that's a whole other category) and there is nothing that screams "I regifted this!"...again, unless there's an understanding that it's okay to do so.
My Mom and I have an understanding that used books, CDs, DVDs and the like are perfectly fine to regift or even first time gift after they've been used by the original buyer. She specifically has asked me to look for certain books and DVDs at the chain of used bookstores near me.

Guest's picture

Yes, of course I regift. If I didn't we would have lots of items put in the trash or sitting around the house unused. I have received many regifts and liked each one!

Guest's picture

But I would NEVER regift something that I've used or that isn't brand new.
I received an ebelskiver pan (Danish pancakes) from my husband for Valentines Day and then my bil bought me one for my birthday (a month later). I kept it and gave it to my brother on his birthday (brand new, in the wrapper and I made him a recipe book to go along with it). He loves it. It was a great gift and I would have bought him one anyways.
I just received a calendar for next year when I already have one so I will regift the just received calendar to a friend of mine who will appreciate it.
If a gift isn't something I will use or appreciate, I see nothing wrong with passing it on to someone who will enjoy it. The caveat is that I would never regift to anyone where the person who gave it to me could find out.

Guest's picture

Well of course I've regifted! All those random gift cards you get to stores that you don't really shop at? Cha-ching.


Guest's picture

We have regifted when we have gotten duplicates of the same item. Rather than going back to the store and returning it. Happens every few years. Generally, though, we don't regift, with the exception of kids toys that we get. Invariably, we get way too many kids toys at birthdays.

A few times we are the recipients of regifts that are obvious. The worst is for holiday food items that have an expiration date from earlier in the year. That's really tacky. We got a food basket once that was clearly from the prior Christmas.....

Guest's picture

I have regifted, but I only regift nice things that I a) already have or b) love but know that a friend would REALLY love it. Oh, and I have regifted gift cards, but that was because the store/restaurant wasn't in my area.

Guest's picture

Oh yes, I regift. But my favorite regifting story is last Christmas when I took my free Harlequin romance novels, which I received for signing up to be a reviewer for them, and gifted the books to my aunt who is a voracious romance novel reader. Luckily I am very skilled at being able to read a book without even cracking the binding, so no one ever knew until now.

Guest's picture

If a gift isn't a good fit, it is either sold on amazon or ebay, or if too inexpensive to sell online, donated to a local thrift store.

Fortunately, the need to do this does not happen very often!

Guest's picture
Stacey Marcos

... like it's my job.

Guest's picture

I have definitely regifted. Especially during the holiday season. My friends and I also end up exchanging gifts using the same gift bags we've all used for years. We just keep passing them back and forth.

Guest's picture

I never have, but I'm pretty sure my sister gave me a fondue set that she got from her MIL.

Guest's picture
Jay Brock

I got married and received, among other things, dozens of unwanted and unrequested gifts. We returned whatever we could, and the rest we decided to re-gift. We ended up savings around $300 over the next few months of summer weddings and birthdays.

The one regret... we received two teapots, so we gave one away as a birthday gift. A week later, my wife broke ours. I think I'm about ready to bite the bullet and buy her another -she's given me grief for over a year!

Guest's picture

I often enter free giveaways for things that I know a certain friend or family member would enjoy. If I receive a gift I know I won't use and I know someone who will use or enjoy it I will regift it. Otherwise it would get thrown away of gather dust somewhere. I do not regift used things or thing I have had for a long period of time unless it is an item with a personal significance to the person I am giving it to like an item someone has always admired.

Guest's picture

I just did my first and only regift last Christmas - I'd been given a $100 Pottery Barn gift card, but I'm not a Pottery Barn fan. So I checked the balance, made sure it was valid, and gave it to my brother who just bought his first house (because he really IS the Pottery Barn type).

Guest's picture

I have regifted, but only if I know the recipient will appreciate the gift more than I did.

Guest's picture

I'm a regifter, and I am proud of it! The key for me is knowing who will not be offended at a regift, and who needs something new in the package. If I don't want/need/like something, and I know that a friend will really love it & appreciate, off to them it goes. I was once offended when my MIL gave me a book as a gift, but only after she read it first, but hey - I've grown up a lot since then :-)

Guest's picture

I'm definitely a regifter, but with a few considerations. I prefer to purchase gifts inexpensively throughout the year, but when I receive something I don't like or won't use, I will regift to someone is a separate social circle than the original gifter. Regifting helps to keep the clutter in check.

Guest's picture

I and a total regifter. i loved the bread maker that kept showing up in the movie old school. i don't think it's so bad. i mean, it's a gift!

Big Frank

Guest's picture
Tami R.

I totally regift. In fact, I won a bunch of baby stuff from some giveaways that are going in my in-laws gift basket! Is that aweful? I don't think so.

Guest's picture

I am as frugal as they come, and even so, I would not regift. It is something I have thought about and something that I decided was not for me. With sales like they are, you can get some really good deals and I just don't like the thought of taking a gift from someone else and just passing it down the line. It reminds me of hand me downs and nobody likes those.

I do firmly believe in things like where you can recycle items so they don't end up in the landfill. If you join your local freecycle group, you can end up giving items that you no longer need to people who really could use them. You may end up with some great things you need as well. Is that regifting? I don't think so. I think of regifting as giving an actual gift to someone as a present. Freecycle is a bit different than that. So what to do with something you will never use? Give it to someone who can use it or donate it to charity.

For me, I just can't regift. It is a personal decision I guess.. :-)

Guest's picture

I see no problem with regifting if it's done in a classy, thoughtful way. Classy = repackaging and re-labeling the gift; thoughtful = ensuring it's something the recipient will like. Also another big caveat -- make sure the original giver will never find out about, or be offended by, the re-gifting. For example, giving a present to a cousin that her mother gave to you.

Re-gifting generic items like chocolates or gift baskets is best.

Most importantly in my mind, thoughtful re-gifting ensures that the gift will be used and appreciated rather than junk.

Guest's picture

Yes, we've re-gifted before. We get a lot of "gift packs" as gifts, and sometimes for whatever reason we don't like the scent of something, or how something would look in the home (after all, everything is personal taste).

So these make great re-gifts, especially if we think the people we're re-gifting to will make better use of it than we were.

Guest's picture

I have regifted those baskets of teas and smelly stuff, I never use them, I just leave them wrapped and give them to co-workers.

Guest's picture

I do and I do not mind getting a gift that has been regifted!! If fact, several of us are planning on taking things we have received to the office next week and seeing if anyone can take them for giving this Christmas!

Guest's picture

I regift all the the time. When I receive a gift that I don't want/need/isn't "me", I put a post-it note on it saying who gave it to me and when. I store all the gifts in the closet and give them at birthdays, holidays, and whenever else is appropriate! If the "regift pile" gets too high, then it's time for a trip to Good Will! I don't think it's just a matter of being frugal... it's also very "green" to not purchase more items!

Speaking of regifting... save gift bags, bows, etc! I always reuse these and never, ever buy them unless a gift is really, really odd-shaped, which almost never happens.

Guest's picture

I don't mind at all if someone gives me something that is regifted if they think it is something I will really like. I sometimes regift as a partial present, but never as the only gift.

Guest's picture

If it's brand-new and not hideous, I'll re-gift to someone who I think will appreciate it.

Guest's picture

Yes, I have re-gifted many times. Don"t people always buy you things you don't need, or want?

Guest's picture

A family tradition around here is gifting items which we have used and loved to the younger generation. My daughters are just now getting old (and big) enough to be the recipients of cherished vintage clothing and pieces of family jewelry (much of it costume jewelry). When they move away from home, that will be followed by kitchen utensils and furniture. I sit every day in my Grandmother's chair, and I will be mashing the potatoes for dinner tonight with her potato masher. My daughter is wearing my grandmother's dress for Christmas this year (a striking 50s number), her first of many family "re-gifts" to come.

Guest's picture

I have no issue with re-gifting or receiving something to be regifted - unless of course it has obviously been used by the re-gifter.

I regularly re-gift, but it has to be appropriate. Usually it is because I have received utterly thoughtless gifts from certain people, or gift baskets containing so many items I will never ever use (like perfume and body lotion - I am so not a girly girl. I prefer DIY stuff) so I re-gift it to people I know will get a kick out of them.

Take for instance this Christmas period. I have in my present stash 6 large bottles of bodywash, matching body puffs, numerous bottles and tubes of hand cream and lots of things that women are supposed to enjoy - so I am making up a HUGE basket and dropping it at our local Women's Refuge in time for the holidays.

Re-gifting at its best.

Guest's picture

At holidays and special occasions, our family and close circle of friends tend to give gifts with exchange notes so that we can take them back and get something different that's more to our taste if needed. We even bear in mind when buying gifts that it's better to pay a bit more to get a gift from a larger store, so that if they want to exchange they can find a branch near them and also have a wider range of alternatives to choose from.

So we very rarely regift, but I don't have a problem with it in principle, as long as the new recipient is likely to be pleased with it (rather than "pass the buck" gifts that noone wants).

Guest's picture

Yes, I have re gifted. I think it's fine, as long as the gift isn't scary and weird. Dear Abby had a little poem that she ran in her column once that was intended to be included with any gift, that basically said "This gift is yours, do what you want with it" Of course it said it much more sweetly than I just did! I think you have to know the original giver too. Some people pour themselves into a gift and to find out you've given that away, is really hurtful. But most of us would do well, to really give gifts freely, without obligating the recipient in any way. We shouldn't be giving with strings attached.

Guest's picture

I have been regifted to -- and the person told me right after I opened said gift -- not a nice feeling. I have passed on things that were given, but mostly donated to a resale shop or Goodwill. I always hope that people who decide to buy me a gift actually think about what I would like and shop accordingly. If I received something that is totally not me, but would be perfect for my sister, I would probably give it to her, but not as a birthday or Christmas present. I guess I've been burned by regifting once too many times.

Guest's picture

Let me start off by saying I have no problem with re-gifting. Re-gifting is not the problem, it is the stigma associated with it, caused is by people who will re-gift a junk item in order to save a dime on a present for another person.

If I get an item I do not want or need but feel it is a truly good gift for another person, then yes I would save myself the time and money by re-gifting, and have done so on a small handful of occasions. I will not, however, re-gift something if I would not have bought it to give as a gift with my own money anyway.

I am much more likely to attempt returning a gift I do not need (although return policies have gotten much stricter over the past year). Since I won't re-gift junk, the practice is really just saving me the time of going to the store and working out an exchange.

Guest's picture

...I don't mistakenly re-regift the same thing back to the original person who sent the gift!

As long as the gift is not horribly cheesy, tacky or tasteless, I don't see why you can't regift it. I get lots of generic-type gifts (lotions, candles) from office gift exchanges which I think are appropriate in situations where you have to gift a casual acquaintance/mail person/babysitter/etc. I do draw the line at regifting items that I'm opened, even if they are unused- that's just unsanitary...

Guest's picture

When my sweetie and I married we received THREE tea pots. One sported a small print in cornflower blue. Definately not my taste. When an aquaintance had her wedding shower, I had no qualms about giving it to her as it was just right for her future kitchen. The only odd bit occured when her aunt asked where I found such a perfect match.... Since then I've passed on fancy scented soaps to our young neices and crazy socks to a sister who loves those kinds of things. The secret is to pay as much attention to what a person wants, as you would if you purchased the gift. One of my sisters and I have a mutual love for thrift stores and yard sales and have no problem giving each other things we like, purchased that way. It's especially fun for older and hard to find items.

Guest's picture

several of my friends and family like gift cards. So what I have done is always give a gift reciept for the gifts I give, and when I know where a product is from, if I don't like it I try to take it back for a gift card or for a new gift. If its a card I have them round it to the closest 5 dollar increment so it doesn't seem used. I have even split a large gift card given to me into smaller gift cards to give to more people. I did this because I don't miss the money I never really had and it might not be the most thoughtful gift, but most people won't complain unless the gift receiver expects you to know what to give them like your spouse or something.

Guest's picture

I absolutely regift from time to time, but only when the gift is unused and appropriate for the recipient! But if I receive something that I wouldn't use, and I know someone else would enjoy it, I don't see anything wrong with passing it along to someone else.
In the same way, I don't feel bad about giving a gift that I received for free from a giveaway but decided not to use myself; you don't need to have actually spent money for something to be a thoughtful gift.

Guest's picture

I thinks it is fine to regift...I would only regift something new, but I wouldn't mind getting something previously used in good condition (especially books) if it was something someone thought I would like.

Guest's picture

I have re-gifted and would do so again if it is something brand new that I can't use but I know for sure someone else wants/needs/would appreciate.

Guest's picture

I've never regifted. I have given someone something that I'd received and decided wasn't for me, but I didn't present it as a special gift for a special occasion for a birthday or Christmas. I usually tell the person I have something I thought they'd like or that I couldn't use.

Guest's picture

Yes. I agree with many of the other posters--quality of the gift counts and make sure that the receiver would appreciate it more than you do and it is fine.

Guest's picture

I have regifted before, and only for a person whom I suspect has regifted to me numerous times in the past. So I don't feel guilty at all.

Usually however, I try my best to make sure that my present fits the person whom I'm giving it to, and to make sure that he/she will be able to enjoy it. :)

Guest's picture
Just The Thing I Need; How Nice

We got a surfin' santa anamatronic one year. I'm sure they thought it would be great. Actually, I think they wanted it themselves, but could not justify the purchase except as a gift during the holidays.

It just was not our cup of tea. If we could have re-gifted it to the giver, we would have (see above), but we put it into a gift exchange at work and let karma find it a new home.

Guest's picture

I have and will continue to re-gift. There should be no stigma attached to this if you are giving something that is in pristine condition that you know the other person will love. Gifts should never be judged on their dollar value (I bought you a $1000 ring so I love you more than the person that spent $10 on you). I often buy gifts from garage sale where the owners have received a gift they don't like but would rather sell it than re-gift it. I ask them about it and try to find out if there is a history to it (their cousin bought it for them in Germany, their aunt worked in the store that she bought this from). This Christmas I will be giving my sister a brand new $45 book on herbs that cost me 50 cents. It was given to the person holding the garage sale as a retirement gift and they have no interest in gardening, my sister on the other hand bought herself a small greenhouse this spring and I know she will love this book.

Guest's picture
Guy G.


Just chanced on this post searching for giveaways.

It's amazing how at one time this gifting strategy seamed so taboo, and now it is one of my top ten favorite tips on budgeting. What could be worse than adding to the stress of planning the holdidays than adding the financial stress of funding gift purchases you know they may not even appreciate.

I feel very comfortable regifting, but only if the item is in great shape and I know the recipient will really appreciate it.

Happy Gifting,