Regifting Guidelines

Regifting has become popular enough that there is a web site,, that will teach you the do’s and don’t’s. A survey by Money Management International last year found that some 40% of respondents admitted to regifting. The main reasons were to save money, time, or because they felt the recipient would like the item. Here are six regifting guidelines:

  1. Is the gift regiftable? Never regift handmade or one of a kind items.
  2. How’s the condition? Only new, unopened gifts in good condition please.
  3. Is this going to work? Only regift items to people who are not likely to see the original giver.
  4. Do you have good intentions? Don’t just give to give a gift. Be sure that the recipient will appreciate the item.
  5. How does it look? Gift bags in good condition can be reused, but wrapping paper is a one time thing.
  6. Can you handle it? If you don’t plan to announce the gift as a regift, make sure you can keep the secret. Never feel guilty about it once it is done.


According to a survey by American Express, 33% of Americans will recycle a holiday gift this year. 37% of those people earning more than $50,000 a year confess to recycling, while only 22% of those earning less than $50,000 admit to recycling a gift. Cosmopolitan knows that regifting (aka giving a present you’ve received to someone else) is slightly risky, but you can pull it off if done it right. After all, why should you be expected to keep perfectly good presents that don’t work for you but might for someone else?

  • Regift Rule 1 — Never regift a present you’ve already used even once, it’s just tacky.
  • Regift Rule 2 — Inspect before you wrap. Look for things like fingerprints on a bottle of wine, old sell-by dates on food, or missing warranty cards from appliances or electronics.
  • Regift Rule 3 — Rewrap the present in a decorative gift bag or a plain while box with tissue paper. If your regift has a few items, opt for a cellophane-wrapped basket, tied with colorful ribbon.
  • Regift Rule 4 – Do not go back to the store you know it’s from and try to get a bag. Should your giftee go to return it, they’ll be in a for an unpleasant surprise when she finds out that product hasn’t been in stock for the past two years.

The Emily Post Institute offers the final word on regifting: It should be done only rarely, and under specific criteria:

  • You are certain the gift is something the recipient would enjoy.
  • The gift is brand new and comes wit its original box and instructions.
  • The gift isn’t handmade, or one that the original giver took great care to select.