Regifting. It’s the act of receiving a gift, and then after a period of time, wrapping it up and giving it to someone else.
Some people are not sure which items are permissible to regift, and which are definite no-nos. So, here’s a quick guide for you. It should be noted that you can only regift items that are NEW, and should never regift used items unless they are antiques.
Items You Can Regift
This stuff seems to get passed around from person to person and there’s no reason it has to stop with you!
Jim Gaffigan once famously said of the candle gift he received, “You know I have electricity, right?” The great thing about candles is they are designed to be used up and thrown away. So, after enough time has passed, it’s very easy to regift any you haven’t used. If the person who gave you the candles asks about them, well… they were awesome, you lit them every night, and they are all gone now.
2. Wine and Spirits
Unlike most food items, wine only gets better with age. So, if you ever receive a bottle you probably won’t drink, it’s very safe to regift it. This also applies to bottles of hard liquor, including whisky, rum, bourbon, gin, or anything else. If it’s sealed, you’re good.
3. Gift Cards
If you are given a gift card to a store you never frequent, it’s fine to regift it. You may have to buy a new gift card holder, as the original may be personalized to you. Check to make sure the balance never expires, or is still intact (there are some devious people out there operating gift card scams).
4. Gift Baskets
Some people love getting gift baskets. Others, not so much. If you don’t, you are good to regift it to whomever you please, as long as you haven’t removed so many of the contents. If it’s chock full of goodies, and you only want the little tin of mints, go ahead and take them — but don’t destroy the packaging. And a word of note… food items go off. Don’t keep it so long that you are regifting a basket full of spoiled goods.
5. Some Clothing
Clothing can be tricky. If someone gets you an ugly sweater that you will never wear, they may well give you the receipt so you can return it. If they don’t, be careful who you regift clothing to. If it’s a unique item, and you travel in the same circle of friends, that sweater could become the cause of an argument. But if the clothing is relatively nondescript, and still has all the tags attached, it’s totally fine to regift it to someone who will actually wear it.
Perfumes, after shaves, and eau de toilettes are all fair game for regifting — provided, of course, they are sealed in the original box. All of these items come wrapped in plastic. Once you remove that, it’s considered used, even if you never spray it. So, if you do receive something that you’re unsure of, go check it out first at your local beauty store before cracking the seal. If it’s not your style, regift it.
7. Toys and Puzzles
Your kids may get toys, games, stuffed animals, and puzzles that they really don’t want. These are perfectly okay to regift, and are often great to have on hand for those many birthday parties your kids will be invited to throughout the year. However, make a note of who gave your kid that gift. The last thing you want to do is give it straight back at the next birthday party he or she attends.
8. Kitchen Items
Toasters. Blenders. Frying pans. Coffee makers. These, and many others, are all totally fine to regift in their originals boxes. Even refurbished items are good, too. Just make sure you don’t offend anyone who comes over to your home and cannot see the great coffee maker they got you. Awkward.
9. Soaps, Lotions, and Bathroom Items
When I was a lad, I used to get my dad “soap on a rope” every year. I am pretty sure he still has them all somewhere in a box in his attic. Soaps, hand creams, lotions, bubble baths, or anything else in that vein are all fine to regift. The good thing about them is they’re private and personal. They are supposed to stay up in the bedroom or bathroom, so no one expects to see them around the house.
10. Novelties and Gag Gifts
You will get a lot of these at white elephant exchanges, or when you turn a certain age. From tins of unicorn meat to whoopee cushions, these gifts are never really meant to be taken seriously by you. They’re fun. If you want to give them to someone else later, that’s totally okay. In fact, some people bring back those same gifts to the white elephant parties year after year as a running joke.
Items You Should NEVER Regift
Meanwhile, some stuff you have no choice but to keep.
11. Anything Personalized
Unless you know someone with the exact same initials as you, you cannot give these items to anyone else. Imagine their surprise when they open a set of cufflinks only to see your initials engraved on them. It just leaves a bad taste. Even names are off limits, because there will always be that suspicion that you gave them an item you just didn’t want.
12. Dated Items
There is a difference between dated and classic. If you have something very cool, still in its box, that someone would find collectible, it’s good. But that ancient piece of technology, or something that looks and feels old (even though it’s unopened and in pristine condition) is off limits. A prime example of this — GPS navigation systems. These days, many cars, and almost all phones, come with this tech built in. An old unit, with outdated maps and no current tech support, will not be a welcome gift.
13. Jewelry and Watches
There’s nothing wrong with regifting watches or jewelry if they are unworn and in their original packaging. However, when people give you gifts like these, they expect to see you wearing them at some point. How do you explain why you have never worn that great watch or pair of earrings? It’s up to you if you want that kind of hassle, but honestly, keep them for a while, wear them, and then if you really don’t want them, sell them on eBay or Craigslist.
14. Framed Paintings or Photos
A piece of art, be it a painting or a photograph, is a tough thing to regift. Someone went to a lot of trouble selecting something that they think will look beautiful displayed on your wall. When they next come visit, they may want to know where it is. Anything like this is going to give you all kinds of regifting headaches.
15. Anything With an Inscription
If someone goes to great lengths to inscribe a special note to you inside a book, it is no longer just a gift. It’s a personal message. Sure, you could deftly remove that page, and few people would notice. But you’re not only regifting an item, you’re regifting a heartfelt statement — and that’s not a good idea.
16. Anything That Is Universally Awful
You may receive a gift that you absolutely hate. And, chances are, your friends and relatives will hate it too. Who knows why such items exist, be they tacky, offensive, cheap, or just plain useless. You don’t want to regift someone an awful present. When you get one of those, find a way to sell it, or donate it. Maybe someone, somewhere, will find a use for it. Maybe.
17. Opened CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays
They may well be brand spanking new, but if they don’t have the seal around them, you cannot regift them. Everyone knows that these items are sealed due to copyright protection. If the cellophane is ripped off, and that little tamper-proof seal is gone, you have to keep it.
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