December 22, 2010

12 Useful Tips for Regifting

We have all received gifts that we find unuseful. There are some things that can be returned and other items leave you wondering where in the world they they came from. Rather than tossing or donating your unwanted gifts, consider repurposing them by regifting. Although regifting may sound tacky to some of you, here are some useful tips to consider.

1. Don’t give partially used gift cards. I received a used gift card more than seven years ago when my daughter was born and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The gift card was for $17 and some change. It left me wondering if they returned something and just gave me the gift card from the return or if someone gave them a gift card and they used it, and were giving the leftovers to me. If you have a gift card with an odd amount on it, consider adding a few dollars to it so that you can use it for a gift. Rather than giving someone a gift card with $17.86 on it, add $2.14 to make it an even $20.

2. Only give new unopened gifts. If you have to dust it or clean it first, then don’t regift it.

3. Consider using your unwanted gifts for a gift exchange party. Some refer to this game as Dirty Santa. I have played it with family, co-workers, and at church Christmas parties. It is actually pretty fun. You pick a number and that determines when you’ll get a turn in the game. The first person picks a wrapped present and they unwrap it. Then the next person can take the first person’s present or choose a new wrapped present and unwrap it. Each present can only be taken twice. Honestly, I think this is one of the best ways to unload an unwanted gift. For these gift exchange games, it’s usually assumed that people will bring something funny or something they don’t want.

4. Don’t just regift something to get rid of it. Make sure the person will like or appreciate the gift.

5. Remember who gave you the gift in the beginning. Don’t regift the item to someone who will show it the person who gave it to you. You don’t want to regift that book to your cousin who will show your aunt.

6. Make sure all the paper and tape from the original gift is gone. You don’t want evidence that the item was already gifted to you. (You need to be careful of this issue on things you buy from the store as well. I have seen items on the shelves that had a little bit of tape or wrapping paper left on the boxes.)

7. Be careful what you say about the gifts people give you. I’ve heard of people telling others humorous stories about the gifts they received from others and then regifting the items the next year. The people knew the item was a regift because they remember hearing the stories from the year before.

8. Make sure you know what’s in the box. You may get a present that has a crock pot on the box, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a crock pot inside. Some people simply reuse boxes. It would really be a mess if you thought you were giving someone a crock pot, but you gave them something else. Or worse, there could be a card inside with your name on it.

9. Only regift current items. And by that I mean don’t give someone an old CD, discolored cologne, a bath product that is no longer sold, etc. I remember one year someone gave me a set of Bath & Body Works products. I took it back to exchange it for a different scent and found out that Bath & Body Works had new and different packaging from what was on my gift. To make things worse, when I opened the gift, there was an expired coupon inside.

10. If you don’t have money for a gift, then choose something that your friend has complemented in your home. Then tell them that you didn’t have any money to buy them something, but you knew they really liked the crystal clock you have on your dresser, and you wanted them to have it. Honesty would probably be appreciated and the person would actually get something they like.

11. Don’t regift handmade items. Handmade items are very personal and the person receiving the item will be sure to ask, “Did you make this?”

12. Consider using your unwanted gifts for those in need. Each year, I know that my church will collect coats, blankets, and toys. I also know that each year I will assemble shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I have used things that we have received to help fill the shoeboxes. (Of course the items were new.) This is an inexpensive way to bless others with a new item of something that you don’t need.

If you don’t want to regift, but don’t want to hurt your pocketbook, try this certificate from You can make a certificate for something you want to give someone, such as free babysitting. I’d love for someone to give me some free babysitting or housecleaning.

Do you regift? What items have you regifted? Do you have any regifting tips?

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