First I want to justify WHY regifting is a good idea:
- It gets rid of STUFF. If you have a cabinet or closet full of items that have no useful place in your home, they can be made useful by giving them to someone who CAN use them. We live in a society that has more unnecessary junk than any time in history... Regifting is Recycling in its highest form.
- It saves money. If you need to buy a $10-20 gift for someone, don't have a good idea of what to give them, and there's a lovely tchotchke in your closet that you know they would like, where's the virtue in going and spending money on a (presumably) FRESH tchotchke to give them?
- For CLOSE friends and family who get upset when you spend money on a present for them, regifting becomes a sort of fun cadeau challenge - finding something truly appropriate for someone, yet letting them know it was inexpensive or a freebie so they won't get upset that you spent money. Regifting works well in this context.
Now that's I've cleverly persuaded you of the validity of regifting, here are some rules to follow, since there is risk involved:
- If you don't remember where a gift came from, then be VERY CAREFUL where you regift it. Nothing is ruder or more appalling than giving it to the original Giver, or someone who was around when you initially received it. This should be obvious!
- Personalized gifts are ineligible for regifting - books with notes written on the endpapers, notecards with your name embossed, monogrammed stuff.
- Rewrap the item, or re-giftbag it. Overly-crumpled tissue paper is a dead giveaway that this gift has been "around the block." I used to get regifted items all the time from a co-worker, and they were perfectly nice... but for some of them, it was pretty obvious that they'd been sitting in reserve for a while!
- Be particularly watchful for pricetags and aged price stickers - if the pricetag has been on the bottom of an item for so long that the glue has started to deteriorate, or it was poorly removed and the remaining glue has gotten grimy, it's a good giveaway that the item's been in rotation.
- If you suspect that a gift you have received has been regifted more than once, it needs to stop with you. Gifts that are continually passed on begin to acquire an Aura of Failure. It needs to be taken out of the rotation, lest it arrive back in the hands of the intial giver by mistake! Give it to Goodwill or AmVets. Stop the cycle.
Recommended regifting ideas:
- Candles. Always useful, neutral, safe
- Picture Frames. Ditto
- Certain books - duplicates of books already on your shelves in particular, or ones that are humorous or seasonal.
- Christmas ornaments.
- Scented soaps, fancy lotions, "gourmet" toiletries.
- Gourmet foods, such as biscotti, olive oil, fancy coffee, European jams & jellies.
- Blank books and journals.
- Anything from the HomeGoods section of TJ Maxx.
Gifts to avoid regifting:
- Mugs. These need to be taken out of the gift-giving business alltogether. They are acceptible in rare occasions when filled with, say, diamonds. Or Krugerrands.