Regifting: The good, the bad, and the controversial

Regifting has become a popular — and surprisingly controversial — topic. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently wrote a story about the psychology of regifting, featuring Money Management International's

However, whether you're pro- or anti-regifting, there's one thing that's undeniable: It sure makes for a funny story!

Since launching in 2006, we’ve had thousands of people submit their regifting stories — ranging from heartwarming to downright hilarious. So in honor of all of you regifters and regiftees out there, I'd like to share a few of my personal favorites:

The 'art' of regifting

As a young student I was constantly strapped for cash, but was pretty artistic. I had a huge crush on a girl and I saw her admiring a hand-made jacket at a fashion show, so I went to work and make a beautifully designed jacket by hand, very intricate and beautiful. I had never done anything like it before, so I assumed it was special only because I had made it, but held no other artistic value. After giving her the gift, we dated for a few months, then went our separate ways. Years later I found the very same jacket prominently displayed in an upscale gallery on Boston's Newberry street! I would have bought it back, but the price tag was in the thousands!!! When I asked about the "artist", the gallery had no idea, and wouldn't release the name of the owner.

Maybe I went into the wrong field!

-Chadd C. 

Mom regifts too? Who knew!

My Mom was given two adorable stuffed bears for her birthday in November by a co-worker. She thought they were cute, but she felt "silly being a 60 year old woman with stuffed animals" So they were put away and not seen again, until a year later when I opened my Xmas present. A beautiful gift basket and the basket were the bears. I almost died laughing, my reaction was "Mom?!?!? You’re a regifter????" to which she simply said, "why not, I would never have them out and I know you liked them and would display them somewhere.” She was right of course, but I was still floored, who knew Mom was a regifter? It simply wasn't possible. Not my Mom. I lost her 2 years later and those two little bears (one an Angel bear) now mean the world to me. I look at them every day and am so glad Mom was a regifter. I know that Angel bear in particular is my Mom watching over me and letting me know everything is ok. I was never a regifter, but I believe in it now.

-Nadine L.

Twenty-two years of regifting

My first house came with a wonderful couple who lived across the street. As I was single at the time, Jim and Helen were great helps. That first year I sent a Christmas card along with a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant. Only, in my absent-mindednss, I forgot to sign the card. Next Christmas in my mail was the same card I had sent the year before signed with warmest wishes. I mentioned the "regifting" of the card to Helen and Jim. We had a great laugh. I saved the card as a reminder and, as a laugh, crossed out their names and sent it back to them with an outline of events of my past year.

Since then, I have married and each of we each have moved to other cities but every year the card is sent back to the other listing the events from the past year. It has been 22 years of laughter and costs over $5 to mail with the addition of holiday themed toilet paper that bears the history of our families but I smile and look forward to this regifting every year.


Regift retracted

Growing up, my doctor father got a lot of freebies from the drug companies — pens, calculators, even a plushie shaped like a pancreas. It took my brother years to figure out that my dad's random "gifts" were actually gifts he'd gotten from a drug company. One night, my dad brought home a stuffed cheetah for my brother with a collar on it. My brother's just starting to recognize letters and he says that its collar has a name on it. Without thinking, I read aloud "Androgel", the testosterone gel for men! The name stuck and my brother continued to call the toy "Androgel" the week he played with it.

-Bridget M.

He'll never know...

When my son was turning 2 in February, I had purchased a set of large Lego blocks in a box as one of his presents. The Legos were big, hand sized for toddlers. When he opened the present, he didn't seem too interested in them and pretty much ignored them. Well when Christmas rolled around, I decided to try it again. I wrapped the box up and added it to his stash of presents. Again, the same situation... Not very interested in them. Next Feb. I tried it again — birthday paper replaced the Christmas paper. At 3, he looked at the present quizzically (haven't I seen these in my closet?) but of course never said anything. No interest. I think I finally gave up on the blocks on the 2nd Christmas when he was almost 4. He might have opened the actual box and played with them briefly, but I knew it was a 'lead balloon' gift — wasn't ever going to fly! I think I finally sold them at a garage sale the next summer — and to be fair, I gave him the money for them.

-Lori S.

A hairy situation

Imagine my pleasure when I received a lovely electric razor from my sister-in-law one Christmas. Every woman wants sleek, smooth legs that are hair free without the possibility of nicks and cuts. The razor was a splurge I never would have bought for myself. I was the cheapskate who lathered up with Dial soap and shaved with a dull Bic razor. I couldn't wait to try it. Once home in the sanctuary of my tub, I turned the razor on and prepared my legs for the ultimate shave. Just as I was about to apply blades to leg, I noticed something fuzzy on the end of the razor. Upon close inspection, I discovered the ultimate regift? HAIR in the razor! Not only did I receive a used razor but I also received a large portion of her leg hair. The personal touch to the ultimate regift! 

-Dawn K.

Eternity scarf

My daughter is forever bringing stray friends to the family Christmas celebrations with little to no notice. One year her friend was an elderly neighbor lady. My (now ex) boss, who is widely known for his inappropriate gifts had given each of us employees a cashmere (I'm allergic) scarf (I don't wear them) in hot pink/orange (I'm a blue/green person). I left the scarf in it's original box which I rewrapped and tagged with the elderly friend's name. She was stunned to have a gift under the tree to open, and was delighted with the scarf. She died of lung cancer a few months after Christmas. My daughter said she was buried wearing the scarf.

-Lisa B.

Now it's your turn! How do you feel about regifting? Do you have any experiences as either the gifter or the recipient? Share your thoughts, opinions and stories by commenting on this post!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

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