The Dos and Don’ts of Regifting


In case you missed it, yesterday was National Regifting Day. So let’s see a show of hands here: Who has ever regifted before? Not just during the holidays, but at any time?

You can’t see me (duh), but my hand is squarely placed in the air—yes, I have regifted. With three girls between the ages of 18 and 21, I’ve seen them open a fair number of gifts with a forced smile and a fake “thank you,” signaling to me that we’ll either be returning that one or possibly regifting it.

And let’s be honest: We’ve all been in that position where we realize, as we’re heading out the door, that we failed to secure a suitable hostess or birthday gift for the party we’re about to attend. That’s when regifting really comes in handy.

present_with_bowAlong the way I’ve learned a few good rules to follow about regifting, and it’s helped me shed any guilt I feel about the practice. Here’s a  list of suggested dos and don’t:


  • Be thoughtful. Only regift an item if you think it’s perfect for the new recipient, not just because you want to get rid of it.
  • Keep a stash of items to regift for when the perfect occasion arises. For me, I typically save several bottles of wine that I can choose from, which makes an excellent last-minute hostess gift.
  • Use sticky notes to keep track of who originally gave you the gift.
  • Rewrap items. Include a new card, too.
  • ringRegift meaningful or sentimental items. This could include passing a family heirloom from a father to his son, giving a treasured book to a special friend or giving a special piece of jewelry that’s been in the family for generations.
  • Regift to charity. Gifts can go to help those in need or to be used in auctions that help support the organization.


  • Give a used gift. Even if you think you can try to make it look new. It must be in its new and original condition.
  • Regift in the same circle of friends or family members. Stay safe and regift in another group.
  • gift-cardRegift gift cards—unless you’re sure that, 1) no amount has already been used (how awkward to give a gift card with a balance of $23.97), or 2) fees have not been taken off due to inactivity.
  • Regift promotional items or swag (that was obviously procured for free at a conference or a trade show).
  • Regift just for the sake of giving. If you don’t have something on hand that you believe the recipient would genuinely love, save the regifting for another time. Regifting is never more apparent when someone opens a gift that’s clearly not geared for her.