Is Regifting Okay?


I’ve done it. (And now my friends are running through a mental inventory of gifts I’ve given them, wondering if it was regifted.) And I’m fairly certain I’ve been on the receiving end of regifting.

But is it the right thing to do?

I’ll start with the Emily Post Etiquette answer. According to Emily, there are only a few rare circumstances in which regifting is considered appropriate. When…

  1. You’re certain that the gift is something the recipient would really like to receive.

  2. The gift is brand new (no cast-offs allowed!) and comes with its original packaging and instructions.

  3. The gift isn’t one that the original giver took great care to select or make.

  4. It’s not handmade or personalized (think monogrammed or engraved).

Here’s what I think about regifting.

Sometimes, a recycled gift is all you have to give. When you’re so strapped that you have no other means to give a present, and there sits a pristine, still-in-its-original-package item that is fitting, meaningful, or helpful … go for it! There is no shame in well-targeted, well-timed, well-fitting recycled gift.

However, if you’re considering regifting and it makes you feel…

  • guilty

  • deceitful

  • awkward

  • afraid the original giver might find out

… then, I advise against it.

The whole idea behind giving a gift is to honor, bless, and provide something meaningful, thoughtful, or useful to the receiver. Where is the joy of giving if you have to feel sneaky about it?

If budget has you cornered or lack of time puts you in a bind, I say the best solution is blessing through honesty. Write a quick note informing the recipient that you would love to gift them with a special outing of coffee at their favorite place on such-and-such a day. Or create a little coupon for babysitting their toddler. Or offer to take photos of their beloved pet. The gift of connection and time offered for their benefit is far more “clean” for you to give, and probably more meaningful for them to receive. Guilt-laden regifting can damage your relationship. Where’s the joy in that?

Check your gut, heart, and conscience — they will tell you whether or not to regift!

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