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Re-gifting: Is it the cardinal sin of gift giving?

Christina Holt is a blogger and freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her husband and three boys. Christina uses her love of design, adventures in parenting and teaching background as inspiration for her writing on numer...

Is re-gifting recycling or rude?

Is re-gifting ever acceptable? It might be considered recycling, but can you live with the guilt when the gift was meant to be for you? Take a look at our reasons, rules and options to decide what's best for you.
Is re-gifting recycling or rude?

Did your aunt get you a scented sock drawer sachet again this year? If so -- and if you never asked or hinted that you needed or wanted sock drawer sachets -- there's a 50 percent chance it was a grab-bag gift. A grab-bag gift usually comes from a box of last-minute or unwanted gifts -- also known as recycled gifts.

Not all grab-bag gifts are cringe-worthy -- some smart gift-givers keep a box filled with useful and trendy items. Items that make a thoughtful thank-you gift for a hostess or perfect last-minute party gift. But what if you know a friend that actually uses or needs sock drawer sachets? Should you re-wrap your unwanted gift, re-home it or donate it?

4 Reasons why you shouldn't re-gift

  1. The purpose of gift giving is to give a thoughtful gift -- from you.
  2. It can come back to bite you if not done carefully.
  3. Proper gift giving etiquette includes giving your gift with a receipt. Gift receipts allow the recipient to exchange or return a gift in the event that it's defective, too small, too big or they just don't like it.
  4. Break the cycle! When you receive a re-gift, do you ever wonder how many times it has been around the block? Break the cycle and save the next person the guilt.

4 Options for re-gifting

  1. If you receive a gift that is best suited for another person, simply give the person the gift. Don't save it for a birthday, wrap it up and pass it off as your own.
  2. Donate your unwanted gifts to a local shelter or charity organization.
  3. Save an unwanted gift for a while elephant party -- just make sure the gift giver isn't at the same party.
  4. Repurpose your gift into a craft project with your kids.

Giving back after the holidays >>

4 Rules for re-gifting

If you do decide to re-gift, follow these guidelines so it doesn't become painfully obvious that your gift is a recycled gift. If not done right, it can become an embarrassing situation for the recipient and you.

  1. Don't give a gift just to give a gift. If the recycled gift doesn't match the new recipient's personality or style, don't give it.
  2. Inspect the package! Don't leave proof that the gift has been opened, don't leave remnants of wrapping paper or a piece of tape, and check for any personalization on or inside the gift.
  3. Wrap the gift with new paper, in a new bag and with a new card.
  4. Include the gift along with a complimentary or larger-scale item like a gift basket.

Re-gifting successfully – Tips to help you re-gift with style >>

Tell us

Have you ever re-gifted? Did you follow the rules above? Share in the comments below!

More on gift giving

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Etiquette tips for teacher gifts
Bridal shower gift etiquette

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