National Re-gifting Day: The 5 Rules of Re-Gifting

Graphic with photo of presents and santa


Let’s set the stage with a few worst-gifts-ever situations…


Bless Her Heart

One year, I received a gift from my grandmother. I unwrapped the present to find a little tin box. I opened it and inside was a fake gift card. I looked up at the loving face of my grandmother who proceeded to tell me, “It’s a gift card holder. You can put all of your gift cards in there.” I started laughing and said, “Nooo, Grandma, you are supposed to put a gift card in here to give to someone!” It was really cute, though. Bless her heart.

Pajama Time

This year I got a pair of pajamas that were identical to the pair I was wearing when I unwrapped them. Thanks again, mom!

Do Socks Have an Expiration Date?

My grandmother got me a "Can of Socks", which was literally what it sounds like. A can that you have to open with a tin opener with socks in it. I have no idea what kind of minds create something like that.


What to do?

Receiving an awful gift happens and among the first questions we think of is “What am I going to do with this?” Re-gifting is a possible solution if it is done correctly. Here are the Top 5 ways to do it right―Good Luck!


  1. Never Re-gift Anything Meaningful or Handmade.

Handmade gifts take thought, a lot of personal time, and are meaningful: crocheted hats, whittled wood figures, or personal histories are a few examples. These are not re-gift worthy!  You may not need these gifts but appreciate the time and effort that went into it and keep it…. that’s what attics and basements are for.

  1. Only Re-gift Brand-New Items

That gaudy scarf with the ’70s orange and green that your dear Aunt Betty gave you may not be your style, but you know your best friend’s mother would love it. First, take the personalized tag off. Then, spend some duckets on a really nice gift bag and rewrap it.

  1. Was this Already a Re-Gift?

Just because something is new in the box, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been passed along a few times. Before you re-gift, make sure it isn’t already a re-gift. Then question whether this person should be crossed off your gift giving list. Here are a few things to check for:

          - Leftover wrapping paper

          - Tape

          - Signs that the box has been opened

          - An original card or tag from the giver

          - A name written on the packaging

          - Personalization, such as a book with an inscription (unless it is a collector’s item, i.e. antique)

          - Promotional material, such as a logo on something you received for free.

  1. Never Re-gift Food

An old bottle of wine may be re-gift worthy. But, if someone gave you baked goods or treats, don’t re-gift that. Instead, take the treats to work and share the calorie filled joy with them, someone is bound to like fruitcake.

  1. Charity Loves Re-Gifts

Don’t want to bother with the return hassle? That sweater or jacket that was just too small or not the right color may be perfect for someone else who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Consider giving it to your favorite charity such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and Toys for Tots who all accept new items. Bonus for you: Your donation is tax deductible, just make sure you get that donation receipt.


Great Re-gifting Ideas

  • New household items, such as small appliances, dish towels or blankets
  • Unopened bottles of wine and other spirits
  • Candles
  • Gift cards (check to make sure the balance hasn’t expired, and the card isn’t personalized to you)
  • Unopened gift baskets
  • Books in excellent condition, unless it’s a collectible
  • New-with-tags clothing (make sure the item is either relatively nondescript—like a scarf and gloves—or the perfect gift for the recipient)
  • Unopened perfume and fragrances
  • Board games, toys, and puzzles (new with all the pieces!)
  • Novelty or gag gifts

Avoid These Regifting Ideas

  • Anything monogrammed or handmade
  • Anything signed
  • Anything that’s been opened
  • Dated technology, like an outdated flip phone
  • Opened CDs and movies
  • If you don’t like it, they most likely won’t either (think socks in a can).



Contributed by Angelica Mecham


Worst gift stories are taken from askreddit

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