The Seven Simple Rules of Regifting

A group of friends sharing Christmas gifts

Regifting is a beautiful thing.

Wait. Check that. Thoughtful regifting is a beautiful thing. Smart regifting is a wonderful thing. Haphazard regifting is a bad thing, and a potentially dangerous one at that.

Regifting is a great way to show someone that you’re thinking of them without spending any money. But that’s only if you do it right. And how do you regift the right way? By following the seven simple rules of regifting. Here they are:

1. Never used

Just because you’ve hardly used that blender and you’ve still got the box lying around doesn’t mean it’s okay to tape the whole thing up and stick it under the Christmas tree. Partially used gift cards aren’t a great idea either.

Gifts should be unused, in their original packaging. Lightly used may be acceptable in some situations, but it's not ideal.

2. Light on sentimental value

Did someone knit you that hat? Then that’s your hat – don’t try to give it away.

Particularly sentimental gifts aren’t very good candidates for regifting. If you really don’t want it, consider giving it to charity instead.

3. Nothing personalized

A book you don’t want could make a good present for someone else, but if the original giver inscribed some thoughtful words on the inside cover it becomes a slightly less good present for someone else.

Basically, if your name’s on it anywhere, don’t regift it.

4. A good fit for the recipient

The most important rule of regifting is the central rule of all gifting – have a reason for giving what you give. Giving any gift just for the sake of giving it undermines the joy of giving.

Only regift something that you believe the receiver would value and enjoy.

5. Consider the original giver

In general, people give you gifts because they think you’ll like them. There’s a universal understanding, however, that sometimes gift-giving misses the mark. So it’s not entirely surprising or shocking that sometimes you’ll give a gift that the receiver then turns around and gives to someone else. It happens.

Still, it’s good form to make sure the regifted gift doesn’t end up some place where the original giver will see it – or worse, accidentally given back to the original giver as a regift.

6. Presentation matters

Regifting means saving on the cost of a new purchase, but it doesn’t mean you can skip the time it takes to make it look nice. Put some thought and effort into the wrapping and presentation. 

7. No shame

You don’t need to announce to anyone that you’re regifting (in fact, don’t), but at the same time don’t feel weird about it either. If you’ve followed all the other rules you’ve given someone something they’ll cherish more than you would have. And that’s a great thing!

The most important thing to remember is the spirit of why you’re doing what you’re doing. As long as there’s meaning, thought, and good intention to your giving you really can’t go wrong.

Regifting to save cash this year? That's a smart strategy! But if you need a little extra help stretching your income, be sure to talk to a free budget counselor. Expert advice, available 24/7, online and over the phone.

Tagged in Christmas, Reducing expenses, Smart shopping, Holidays

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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