To Regift or Not to Regift?

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Let’s face it. We’ve all done it. Everyone has gotten a gift they didn’t want and given it to someone else when in a pinch to find a gift. Regifting is a notorious side-effect of the holiday season. If you choose not to avoid it, here are some things to keep in mind as you regift.

Most Common Regift Items

According to the NY Daily News, here are the most commonly regifted items during the holiday season:

Candles - The easiest and most notorious regift item. Did you get a candle as a holiday present? You may not have been the original recipient.
Gift Cards - It makes perfect sense. It’s handy, easy to carry and travel with and even fits in a holiday card.
Housewares - It’s hard to account for someone else’s taste. If you guess wrong on the style of houseware they like, the odds of the item being regifted might increase.
Clothing - The saying goes that clothes make the person, but not if they’re ill-fitting or the wrong style.
Bath soaps, gels, and lotions - Similar to candles, these items are unspecific enough to have broad appeal. They always make a good gift, therefore they could make a good regift.
Fruitcakes - Fruitcakes are not everyone’s favorite dish. It’s a popular item to pass on to someone else.
Gift baskets - The best part about gift baskets? The wrapping is already done for you!
Liquor - If you receive an extra bottle, particularly if it’s a type or brand you don’t prefer, you may be tempted to pass it off to someone you forgot to buy a present for.

Regifting Etiquette
So, you’ve resigned yourself to regift something. Are there etiquette rules to regifting? You bet. Here’s how to approach the forward pass.

To Regift or Not to Regift
First, ask why you’re regifting an item. Did you forget to buy a gift? Did you run out of time to buy a gift? Are you trying to save money? Or are you just trying to reduce the number of possessions you own? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may have the wrong motivations. Giving a gift can be a special and personal experience. If it’s a gift on the above list of common items, it may give away the possibility that someone’s been given a regifted item. You may be better off avoiding common regifts.

Personalized Items
If it’s customized, personalized, monogrammed or otherwise displays any indication it was a gift specifically for you, under no circumstances should it be regifted.

Used vs. Pre-Owned
If you’re going to regift, make sure the item is in new or like-new condition. If it shows any signs of having been used, worn, opened, partially consumed or otherwise altered, you’re better off hanging onto it. If you still want to rid yourself of an item without regifting, consider recycling or donating to a charity when applicable. There’s no sense filling up a landfill if it’s an item somebody can use.

If you get caught regifting, don’t deny it. Everyone has received a gift at some point that just wasn’t the right fit for us. Explain this honestly and point out that you felt the gift was a much better fit for the person you’re giving it to. Maybe you saw it and immediately thought of them. Sometimes such a personal sentiment is more important than the item.

Hopefully, you won’t have to regift this holiday season. But if you do, you’re now better equipped to make sure you do it the right way, for the right reasons. Above all, remember that the holidays are more about connecting with people than material possessions. Happy holidays.