7 Rules of Regifting

Can we all first recognize that regifting exists? I do it, you do it, we all do it. However we pretend that it doesn’t exist. Regifting remains a taboo subject even though everyone does it. So let’s all first recognize regifting and then talk about some rules of regifting.

The Spirit of Gifting

Gifts are given on occasions of happiness and special events. They are given at the beginning of new relationships and to cement existing ones. The spirit of gifting should be to make the relationship better with thoughtfulness and kindness. The value of a gift is in the spirit with which it’s given and not in it’s price. One should never give a gift out of obligation. Give it because you care. No one ever asks for a gift. Remember that your gift is a reflection of you and not the receiver.

What is a Gift

A gift can be:

  • A new item you specifically bought for the receiver
  • Cash/gift card
  • Flowers
  • Something handmade
  • A card
  • An experience/service
  • Or it can be an item you received as a gift yourself and you choose to pass it on to another. This is called regifting.

Why Does Regifting Happen?

Regifting happens because of many reasons:

  • Your budget doesn’t allow to buy a new gift
  • You did not have time to buy a new gift
  • You received something as a gift you do not need or already have
  • You wish to recycle a gift because it’s better for the environment. You want to be green reducing clutter

Why Does Regifting Get a Bad Name?

Regifting has become taboo and gets a bad name due to the thoughtlessness with which it’s done. The classic example that comes to mind is the Black Forest Bakery Cake that was passed from one house to another during my childhood in Pakistan. Auntie A bought a cake and gave it to Auntie B as she came to congratulate her on the new house. Auntie B kept it in the fridge and took it to Auntie C’s house two days later at her son’s graduation party. Auntie C received too many cakes that day and puts the cake in the fridge. The next day she is invited at dinner to Auntie D’s house and takes it there because she did not want to go empty handed. Auntie D cries, “ohh I love this bakery” and Auntie C feels pretty smug about her regift. However when Auntie D opens the cake at dessert time to serve, not only has it gone bad but it also has the following written on top with icing “Congratulations A on your new house”.

I’m sure many of us have examples of terrible regifts such as expired chocolates, personalized gifts passed on and receiving one ugly vase too many. There is one regifting mistake everyone fears: giving back the same gift to the person who originally gave it to us.¬†Many a complicated algorithms have been designed to avoid regifting back to the original giver but this is a topic for another blog post.

Seven Rules of Regifting

Let’s talk about seven rules of regifting to make regifts thoughtful and valued.

  1. Don’t pass on a handmade gift. Handmade gifts are specially made for you and passing them on is a little tacky. Not to mention can put you in a tight spot if the receiver asks you for specifics like how you knitted the scarf etc.
  2. Make sure to check expiry dates for all food items before you regift them. If I had a dollar for every expired box of chocolates I have received…
  3. Make sure you check the original gift wrapping and remove any personalized gift tags. Give the regift a new life by adding fresh wrapping or a new card. Please reuse gift bags because that’s more green but make sure they aren’t torn or collapsing under the weight of the gift.¬†Adding a couple of videos at the end of this post with some great ideas for affordable wrapping options.
  4. If the original gift came with a gift receipt, do add it with your regift. Sometimes people worry that a year old receipt might expose their regift. The receipt can however make the receiver do a return or an exchange.
  5. Try to match the regift with the personality of the receiver. Don’t pass on a gift just because you want to get rid of it.
  6. Repurpose a gift you received by adding more value to it. A new vase lying in your basement that you received as a gift and have no use of? Add some flowers and give as a gift. Received a frame that you don’t need? Print a picture of the receiver and give as a gift.
  7. Only regift never used items. No one wants to receive a makeup kit when it’s obvious the seal is broken. The exception to this is items which you declare as used and pass on due to the emotional value, for example, your baby’s clothes to your friend or younger sister etc. Even for these make sure items are cleaned well.

Do remember that the value of a gift is not in its price but the intention and emotions with which it’s given.

[Read More: 14 Tips to Visit a Newborn]

Wrapping Ideas For Regifting

Wrapping can give new life to gifts. It does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Reuse gift bags. Use newspapers and brown bags. Here are some videos with great ideas.

Simple and Cheap Wrapping Ideas:

Hope you enjoyed all these ideas! What has your experience been with regifting? Always love hearing from you!

[Read More: Twelve Things That Happen at Desi Dinner Party]