To re-gift or not to re-gift?

Posted by on December 7, 2009 in Mom2KG Columns

Our regular columnist, Mom2KG, tackles the age old debate of whether to re-gift or not to re-gift

The holiday season is upon us all. We are making lists, and shopping so frantically that the magnetic strips on our credit cards are crying for mercy. But do you really need to buy something for everyone? Do you have a pile of gifts you’ve received in your basement, wondering what to do with them?

Yes, re-gifting. An eternal etiquette question we’ve all pondered. There’s Aunt Myra’s lovingly handmade doily set. You can admire the time and effort and skill, but doilies? Who the hell uses doilies anymore? On the other hand, there’s the pile of clothes your toddler got from in-the-know friends, complete with gift receipts. You’re never going to use the doilies, and some of the kids’ clothes don’t fit your child. What to do?


  • Re-gifting saves money and, however slightly, reduces consumer consumption and environmentally-unfriendly packaging
  • The original gift-giver never needs to know
  • Some recipients don’t mind receiving a re-gift (of course, you don’t have to actually tell them)


  • The recipient, if told of the provenance of the gift, might think you’re cheap, tacky or even a jerk
  • The original gift-giver might be very offended you did not use, love and appreciate the gift
  • You cannot do this as a matter of course; you have to still give an appropriate gift.

Tips for re-gifting:

  • Know your giftee. If they are going to be irritated or offended at a re-gift, either don’t tell them, or just don’t do it at all
  • Don’t re-gift to get rid of crappy stuff you have. If you don’t want it, your brother doesn’t want it either
  • Keep track – do not re-gift the same thing back to the original gift-giver
  • Make the gift special – re-wrap it, write a nice card, make sure it’s clean and unused, and something the recipient will enjoy
  • Don’t re-gift items that have been used, worn, tried out, or even removed from the original packaging.

Good luck and happy holidays to all.

1 Comment on To re-gift or not to re-gift?

By Andrew @ Financial Services on December 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

But how would they know that it is a re-gift? I know most of my friends are pretty understanding and frugal as well, they won’t mind re-gifts.

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