The Do’s and Don’ts of Regifting Holiday Presents

We’ve all received presents that we either didn’t want or couldn’t use. Most of the time, those gifts go right in the closet, never to be seen again. They might even make it to a yard sale. However, one way to save some cash this holiday season is to regift those items. Etiquette Expert Diane Gottsman chatted with us about the right way to unload those unwanted gifts. Why are some people hesitant to regift?
Diane Gottsman: Regifting, when done for the right reasons, is a good way to pass along a gift that is perfect for someone else, not necessarily for you. Some may be hesitant because regifting is associated with giving something away that is ugly, damaged, or has no redeeming qualities. It is also associated with the giver being cheap—all of which are not necessarily true. While some have regifted for these reasons, it is not a universal standard. When is it not okay to regift?
Gottsman: When a family member gives you a family heirloom, or someone has made something specifically for you. What is the number one regifting “don’t?”
Gottsman: Don’t regift ugly, damaged, or used. What are some pros and cons of regifting?
Gottsman: The pros of regifting are it’s a good way to recycle a gift that may not be your size or color, but you have a friend or family member that you are certain would appreciate it. It’s a way not to waste something that is perfectly good. It can also be donated to a charity that will put the item to good use. The cons of regifting are you run the risk of hurting someone’s feelings if you don’t regift carefully and cautiously. The best way to regift is to be honest, not try and pass it off as a new gift. Say something like, ‘I was given this cologne as a holiday gift. It’s not a fragrance I wear, but I know it’s your favorite scent and I’d like for you to have it and enjoy it.’

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert, speaker, author and  owner of The Protocol School of Texas.