Yelly Writes

The rules of regifting

Regift: (1)noun:  an unwanted gift used by its original recipient as a gift for someone else; (2)verb:  give an unwanted gift that one has received to someone else as a gift

Now, I don’t mind getting recycled gifts…especially if it’s baking supplies (specialty bundt tins, moulds, brand new spatulas, unopened and unused storage solutions)!  But this Christmas, I received a regift.  The gift was a bath set.  I am all for skin care because, lately, I’ve been struggling with my skin (it’s constantly dry and itchy and I am willing to try any product that can help alleviate the discomfort).  The scent was nice, and relatively neutral and was from a fairly good brand.  I opened one of the bottles and my heart sank because there was crusty residue on the foil seal.  But when I opened the bottle, the bath gel was viscous, clear and looked okay.  So I told myself it was fine.  It had a handy spongy scrub thing which I thought was interesting and I did need a new bath sponge so I thought, “Score!”  It wasn’t until I opened the body cream that I had the shock of my life.  It was already opened and used!  Hmmm.  I checked the packaging and noticed that the side tapes that usually fasten most boxed bath sets weren’t there.  There was a huge chance that my gift was a regift.


Emily Post says that it’s not exactly acceptable to regift, while it is practical and financially sensible, because you are being inherently deceitful and you open yourself to a situation where you might hurt the feelings of the original giver of the gift and the receiver of the regift.  Emily Post says that there are only a handful of situations where regifting can be acceptable and that regifting should be done only very rarely:

  • If you’re absolutely certain that the gift is something the recipient would REALLY like to receive.
  • The gift is brand new (absolutely no cast offs allowed!) and comes with it’s original packaging and instructions.
  • The gift isn’t one that the original giver took great care to select or make.
  • It’s not handmade or personalised (think monogrammed or engraved).

I have been tempted to regift a few gifts before.  But I’ve always stopped.  Not because it would be tacky.  That didn’t even enter the equation.  When I give gifts, I think about the person receiving the gift, what their personality is, what they like doing, what I think will make them smile.  I like to think that people who give me gifts do that too (I have faith that people follow the golden rule you see: treat others the way you want to be treated, etc.).  Plus I am always, always worried that the person who give me the gift and the person who receives my recycled gift will find out what I did.  Now that would be trés awkward, n’çest pas?

I think if you are going to regift, please make sure that:

  • the gift is in the original packaging, can be resealed with nary a trace of it being opened
  • never regift opened toiletries (in the same way you don’t let people use your deodorant or your toothbrush!)…or toiletries full stop (unless it’s perfume, or something you know the person receiving it will absolutely love it!).
  • the recipient and the original gift giver won’t ever find out about the origins of the gift (i.e. individuals in different social circles)
  • regift only if you’re dead certain the person will absolutely love the gift and won’t mind where the gift came from
  • in this age of social media, it’s not something you posted a photo of online!
  • wrap the package in an absolutely fabulous way…because if you didn’t spend that much time selecting the gift, at least you spent an inordinately absurd amount of time making sure the gift wrapping is pretty!

I am trying very hard to get over the regifting faux pas…it was such an icky moment!  I am sure that the person really wanted me to get a gift from them.  It’s just that…well, I’d sooner not have a gift really, if it was something that they took out of the back of their cupboard and dusted off and wrapped up just for the sake of saying that they gave me a gift.

Sadly, the bath set is going into the bin.

Penny for your thoughts!

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