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The Rules of Regifting: The ‘Hows’ and Definite ‘No-nos’

The Rules of Regifting: The ‘Hows’ and Definite ‘No-nos’

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Such a nasty word to ruin the holiday cheer.

But I’m all for it.


Mainly because I don’t like anything in my house just sitting there collecting dust. I don’t want to use my home’s limited storage space for keeping things I don’t intend to use, either.

Regifting has its economic and time-saving perks, too. I don’t like crowded places, so spending less time in malls and Christmas bazaars in Metro Manila is a-OK with me.

Some people might see regifting as cheap, tacky or insensitive. But for me, regifting is only gross if:

  • you are giving away something universally awful
  • you are giving away something you already used
  • if it’s not done artfully

When done tactfully and with thought, regifting can make other people happy and makes great sense compared to letting an item age without being used.

So here are my personal dos and don’ts of regifting:

Don’t regift it if you already used it

Sometimes we use a gift a couple of times before we finally admit to ourselves that it’s not for us. At that point, if you really want to give it away, either just donate it or offer it to someone who you know will like it. To avoid any complications, outright tell the recipient that the item was given to you by someone and that you tried it but it doesn’t suit you.

Don’t do it to your nearest and dearest

I draw the line of regifting for close family and friends. People around you who truly love and know you most likely put an effort into their gift. So even if you don’t like their presents, it’s best to keep and use them.

If the giver is someone who isn’t really close to you, like your landlord or a boss who isn’t your immediate supervisor, they’re most likely to have bought you a generic gift, like fruitcake or a bath gift basket. If they found out you regifted their present, they won’t be too hurt. (Chances are their presents are regifted, too.) They are also the best people who you can give regifts to as people who matter most deserve personalized gifts.

Don’t try to make regifting like Ellen DeGeneres’ 12 Days of Giveaways

Regift in moderation. Don’t regift every gift you don’t like without thought and don’t regift it all during the Christmas season. This is a surefire way to give the wrong item to someone and possibly hurt someone’s feelings.

Don’t wait for a special occasion

The best way to regift is to give the item on a normal day. It comes off as a spontaneous and thoughtful surprise, and the recipient wouldn’t think it’s a Christmas regift. If you try to save a regift for someone’s wedding or birthday, you’ll seem like a cheap and tacky friend. Better to not have given a gift at all.

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Do remember who gave you the gift

This is pretty obvious. There’s nothing worse than regifting a present to the person who gave you the gift in the first place. The best-case scenario is that they immediately get that you’re regifting. The worst-case scenario is that they think that you’re being passive aggressive and telling them you never liked their gift. Either way, both are hurtful.

Do regift outside your circles

This coincides with the previous do. Make sure you remember who gave you a certain gift and make sure that you give the present to someone who does not know the original giver. Otherwise, you might end up insulting two friends and being the topic of gossip in your barkadas or family reunions.

Do change the gift wrapper

Crumpled packaging and traces of tape can give you away. Give your present a fresh packaging to remove any trace that it’s a regift. To make it a gift from the heart, personalize the wrapper. If you do a bit of calligraphy, you can write the recipient’s name in a fancy way. Maybe you can even make the wrapper a decoupage.

Do make sure the recipient will like the gift

This is the most important factor to consider when regifting. Don’t regift an item just to get rid of it. Only give something to someone when you know it’s the perfect gift for them.

Say your aunt gave you socks with cute prints but it really isn’t your style, it doesn’t make sense to regift the socks to a friend who’s always wearing heels. Make sure you’ll give the gift to someone who likes the print and doesn’t mind receiving socks for Christmas or any other occasion.

If you receive a gift that you’re sure no one you know will like, best to donate it.

Regifting makes practical sense and can make others happy. Just make sure you don’t do it haphazardly. If you get caught, come clean and apologize. Who knows? It could turn out to be a funny regifting story for you and your friends or family.

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