The “R” Word (Regifting)

No I mean REALLY, you shouldn’t have.

At least one point in our lives, we’ve received gifts that we don’t like (accompanied with the thought: “what the hell were they thinking?”). I like to think that the majority of us were taught to express gratitude and pretend to like the gift.

should you regift?



I can always appreciate the thought, but not necessarily the gift itself. Into the junk drawer/closet you go, never to be seen again. If there is a gift receipt that accompanies the gift, I will have no hesitation to go into the store and exchange it for something I like or get a store credit if I can’t find anything at the time.  The gift receipt shows the giver was concerned whether or not you would like the gift and wanted to make sure you had the choice of getting something you liked, if need be.

So what about the dirty “R” word?


The dirty regifting word  can be accompanied with other “R” words such as reduce (reducing the amount of time, effort and money to spend on a new gift), reuse (you’re saving the environment) and recycle (Not so sure this one counts though because you’re not really turning something old into something new. Well I guess you’re pretending, by giving something old and making it seem like it’s new).

There are several situations in which the possibility of regifting can creep into one’s mind.  You’re stuck on what to get a certain person for a special occasion. You may be really strapped for cash. It can happen around the holidays where unexpected gift giving seems to run rampant. All of a sudden your gift giving list has gotten longer.  Although you had no intention buying someone a gift, this person got you a gift and now you feel obligated to reciprocate the kind gesture. Regifting seems obvious.

Is Regifting Really Taboo?

Regifting is only taboo if it is really obvious. To me, a bad regift is just as bad as buying a present from the Dollar Store or giving those freebies you get when your purchase of Mary Kay/Avon stuff reaches a certain amount.  I may be frugal and even cheap to a certain extent, but I go out of my way to get decent gifts whenever possible.  I can be a generous person.  I get real annoyed when there are people who clearly have a ton of money, yet give horrible gifts of such cheap quality and not even useful.  However, if the gift is a really good gift, in practically mint condition and you think the recipient will enjoy or benefit from this gift, then why not?

Should You Disclose if You Are Regifting?

Should you tell them that their gift is a regift? I’m 50/50 on that one. I think it depends on what type of person they are.  Some people look down on regifting and may be offended by it and see it as a sign of disrespect. For them, gifts need to be brand new – regifting is a slight.

I don’t see it that way. A father can give his teenage son a used car as a gift. The son would most likely see it as an awesome gift that meant independence and a way to get hot dates.  A grandmother can give her granddaughter a handmade quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation. Someone could give their fiancé/fiancée an engagement watch or ring that is a family heirloom.

Another very important consideration: don’t regift the gift to the person who originally gave it to you. Remember who gave you the gift! Also, make sure to regift the gift to someone who wouldn’t see or doesn’t know the original gift giver. The last thing you would want is the original gift giver to find out you regifted their present away (unless they are okay with it).

While sometimes a dollar amount is put on gifts, in terms of gift exchange and budgeting for the holidays,  the amount of quality shouldn’t be neglected either. It is obvious you can get cheap things for a cheap price and expensive things for an expensive price. At the same time, you can get items of a nice quality at an economical price and you can get items of garbage quality at an expensive price.

Have you ever regifted or been the recipient of a regift? Do you consider regifting bad etiquette?

35 thoughts on “The “R” Word (Regifting)

  1. I have never re-gifted or received a regift but I do not feel like there is anything wrong with it depending on what it is. When you give me something, it is mine now and I can do whatever I want with it including giving it to someone who might benefit more from it.

    • Good point. You should be able to do whatever you want with the gift. I never had problems exchanging a gift, but I’ve always felt bad if I thought about regifting a gift to someone. Then again, I’ve never gotten a really good “regift” gift.

  2. I am doing something of a regift this year — I’m giving my niece something I originally got for my son, but I think she would like it a lot more than he would. So, I’m giving it to her. Her mom knows and seems to be fine with it. Most of the gifts that I get but would never use I don’t regift, though. I figure, if I won’t use it neither will the recipient. It goes into the yard sale pile.

    • That’s great her mom is fine with the regift. I feel like a lot of stuff at yard sales are unwanted gifts, but hey one person’s bad gift/regift is another person’s gift/treasure.

  3. I see absolutely nothing wrong with re-gifting, as long as care is taken not to injure the feelings of the original gifter. A great form of recycling, the way I see it!

  4. I see nothing wrong with re-gifting either. Just make sure you’re not giving it to the person who gave it to you and that it’s not a bad/cheap gift. We received tons of great baby shower gifts and we had many friends also having babies. Some gifts were redundant or we just didn’t have room for it, so we re-gifted the gifts to other friends who had babies. I wouldn’t give a gift that I thought was bad and or cheap however.

    • Neither would I, but it irks me when I see people giving bad/cheap gifts. It makes it quite obvious that they didn’t put any thought to it. Even a cash gift is better. At least that’s useful!

  5. I think that as long as the gift is still something you might have purchased, it is fine. it’s when the gift is totally out of place that it is inappropriate. Once, my aunt and uncle gave my 14 year old self a toy tea part set. Grrrr…

    • Seems like they gave the toy tea party set 10 years too late! I feel it’s rare a regift is something that the recipient might have purchased. They’re usually unwanted things that most people don’t have a use for.

  6. There is nothing wrong with re-gifting, but there is an etiquette to follow. My mom used to regift some of the gifts she received from her students. The students never knew, the recipient never knew and she didn’t need all those knick knacks, chocolates and candies anyways. Another good idea for regifting is if you receive a gift card, buy something with the gift card and pass along the gift!

    • My sister is a teacher and she gets a ton of gifts, many of them duplicate/triplicates of the same thing. She often regifts the chocolates and candies to me, and I have no problem with that. 🙂

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever re-gifted anything, but I have brought things I didn’t want or things that were gifts originally to things like white elephant parties. I think I have been re-gifted though. Sometimes it’s OK, especially if I really wanted that particular item.

    • I feel like I’ve been re-gifted too, more than once. Out of those potential re-gifts I’ve never really wanted the item. I would pass it on to someone else, but not as a re-gift for an occasion, more like a casual, hey you want this, because I don’t want it.

  8. Personally I’ve only regifted once and it was a gift I’d gotten a while ago from someone. It was something I’d never use, but I knew the person I was giving it to would. As long as the other person doesn’t know, its ok to regift I feel.

    • I don’t think I could do it. I have too much of a guilt conscience, even though it was in good condition and would be something that the person could use.

  9. I’m with Stefanie – we will often re-gift luxury-type of gifts we get (like awesome homemade soaps) to save money on our budget. Although I would love to keep them, getting out of debt is more of a priority right now.

  10. I think the key is as you mentioned, making sure that the person that gave you the gift and the person that received the gift have no overlap or even occasional interaction.

    I probably wouldn’t flaunt it or say anything at all, as receiving a re-gift probably isn’t in anybody’s wish list, even if it’s the perfect item.

  11. Personally.. I have no problem with re-gifting at all, and would have no problems with anyone regifting something to me. It’s almost thoughtful in a way for someone to say.. “I don’t need this, but I know someone who does!”

    • I prefer reusing gift bags over wrapping paper. I’m not very good at unwrapping a gift carefully to save the paper. The paper tends to rip quite often.

  12. We do a lot of regifting, but we try to keep it classy. Recently, we got married. This led to a huge number of gifts. We would never use some of the items that we were given, so we tried to figure out who might actually need them for birthday/Christmas gifts…

  13. It completely depends on the item/person, as you’ve said. One of the things that we’ve regifted the most is wine, but usually because we’re set to go out for dinner and only have really cheap stuff of our own. We try to replace the bottles with the same ones for us to drink later (unless they’re ones we know we don’t like!). Other than that, I haven’t truly been in a regifting situation yet. *fingerscrossed*

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