The Do's and Don’ts of Regifting

It’s easy to attach a stigma to regifting, but when you really think about it, there's actually nothing wrong with creatively (and thoughtfully) passing along an unopened item that you yourself can’t—or won’t—use. You just need to make sure that you do it right and don't get found out. If you follow these 11 do’s and don’ts of regifting, you'll be successful every time.

Expanded View >
  1. Do Think Carefully About the Person on the Receiving End

    Give thoughtful gift

    Just because an item is still in its original packaging doesn’t mean it’s the perfect gift for your friends. In fact, the same rules that apply to picking out a brand-new gift apply when regifting. The bottom line: You still need to be thoughtful. If a person hates scented candles, don’t regift them the ones you received, but don't want.


    Related: 11 Easy Ways to Be the Best Holiday Host

    istockphoto.com

  2. Don’t Regift Anything That’s Obviously Been Used

    Dont give used gifts

    Even a tiny amount of wear and tear—on either the actual gift or the packaging—takes an item out of the running for regifting. The item you’re passing along needs to at least appear brand-new, or else it’s a no-go.


    Related: The Cheapest Gifts from the Fanciest Home Brands

    istockphoto.com

  3. Do Make an Effort to Wrap It Nicely

    Wrap gifts nicely

    Presentation matters, whether you’re giving a regular gift or regifting. Because you didn’t shell out any cash for the present, spend a few dollars on wrapping paper and ribbon to make your offering extra special. (Hey, it helps!)

    Related: 13 Better-Than-Gift-Wrap Ideas for Packaging Presents

    istockphoto.com

  4. Don’t Pass Off Anything That Was Clearly Made Just for You

    Personalized gift

    Handmade items? Anything monogrammed? When it comes to regifting, personalized items are off the table because there’s no way to disguise the intended recipient. This is a no-brainer.

    Related: 25 Handy Stocking Stuffers Under $25

    amazon.com

  5. Do Keep a List of Who Gave You What Every Year

    Christmas gift list

    The expert regifter keeps diligent track of items received every year. Why? Think about it: The cardinal sin of regifting is accidentally giving an item to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

    Related: 15 Gadgets Everyone Wants for Christmas

    istockphoto.com

  6. Don’t Regift Office Swag

    Office swag

    Some freebies are easier to spot than others. Anything with a company logo—water bottles, T-shirts, and tote bags—should be avoided at all costs.

    Related: 9 Handy Holiday Gifts for the DIYer on Your List

    istockphoto.com

  7. Do Regift Items to Charity

    Donating gifts

    Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean a charity can’t benefit from it. The basic regifting rules still apply: The item needs to be new and in perfect condition. As long as an item meets those criteria, it can always be auctioned off or donated to help raise funds for a worthy cause.

    Related: 50 Under $50 Gifts for Homeowners

    istockphoto.com

  8. Don’t Regift from a Store That’s No Longer in Business

    Out of business retail store

    Come on, this is regifting 101: If a store no longer exists, it will be obvious to the recipient that you didn’t make an effort to shop and pick out something new.

    Related: 10 Kitchen Products That Will Last a Lifetime

    istockphoto.com

  9. Do Regift for a White Elephant Party or Yankee Swap

    White elephant gifts

    It’s the name of the game, isn’t it? At these parties, you're supposed to show up with a wrapped gift to contribute to the pool, then try to leave with the best one. It's a regifter's paradise! In fact, joke gifts are usually encouraged.

    Related: Skip the Line: 10 Amazon Buys for Everyone on Your Gift List

    istockphoto.com

  10. Don’t Regift to Mutual Friends and Family

    Dont regift to family friends

    If there’s even one ounce of a chance that members of your inner circle could actually see you regift something they gave with love to you (or even find out about it after the fact), stop in your tracks. (Seriously, it’s not worth the hurt you could cause.)

    Related: 10 Creative Stocking Stuffers You Can Make in Minutes

    istockphoto.com

  11. Do Keep Any Regifting a Secret

    Keep a secret

    It should go without saying that successfully regifting an item isn’t something to brag about. Instead, celebrate your resourcefulness—and keep it to yourself.

    Related: Bob Vila's Guide to "$30 and Under" Stocking Stuffers

    istockphoto.com