7 Secrets to ‘Regifting’ Without Getting Caught

What's Hot

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

Trump Scraps FHA Rate Cut — What Does It Mean for You?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

8 Tuition-Free U.S. CollegesCollege

10 Overlooked Expenses That Ruin Your BudgetFamily

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

Done right, the practice is budget-boosting, clutter-busting and eco-friendly. Done poorly, it can ruin the holiday. Here's how to regift with care.

Thinking of regifting this holiday season? You’re probably not alone.

A few years ago, 92 percent of those surveyed by the yard sale aggregator site Bookoo.com said that recycling gifts was OK, and almost as many were pretty sure they had received regifted items.

Done poorly, the practice can be downright insulting. Some of those surveyed reported receiving “gifts” such as 2-year-old fruitcake, monogrammed items (with someone else’s initials), fingernail clippers and a used toilet seat.

Then why regift? Several reasons:

  • It’s a budget booster. Having a couple of great things you can give means two gifts you won’t have to buy.
  • It’s eco-friendly. Instead of buying more stuff, you are recycling unused items.
  • It busts clutter. It helps clear your house of items collecting dust.

These regifting guidelines can help you from crashing and burning on Christmas Day:

1. Make sure it looks new

Original packaging is best, folks. Something that’s been sitting unprotected on a shelf has likely picked up grime and might have faded where the sun hit it. If it’s been in the basement, it might smell musty.

If you have to blow dust off it, pass.

2. Remove any sign that the item is recycled

Flip through books to see if your dad underlined a certain passage and wrote, “This sounds like you!” in the margin.

Check to see that your mom didn’t paint your name and “Christmas 2013” on the underside of that hand-decorated ceramic snowman.

In other words, make sure there’s nothing to indicate to the new recipient that this wasn’t purchased just for him or her.

3. Keep track of who gave what

I once read about a woman who gave a cookbook with a $100 bill tucked inside as a wedding gift. A couple of years later, the happy couple regifted that cookbook to her for Christmas.

How did she know? Because the $100 bill was still where she’d placed it. (See “flip through books,” above.)

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson suggests labeling items you receive with the date and the giver’s name, so you don’t goof up.

He also advises keeping a running list of regiftable items to which you can refer when it’s time to give a present. That’s much easier than rummaging around in closets or dresser drawers, searching in vain for that journal or picture frame.

4. Don’t give garbage

Your practical-joker brother gave you a T-shirt with an offensive joke on the front. If you’d never wear it, why would you inflict it on someone else?

Ditto items such as musical snow globes, self-published books of poetry, or bath products with overly strong fragrances. Maybe a secondhand store would take such things.

If not, don’t feel guilty about throwing them away.

5. Don’t regift handmade items

Your great-aunt put in a lot of time crocheting that pink-and-purple afghan. You don’t have to keep it, but you shouldn’t give it to someone else. That is, unless that person thinks you know how to crochet.

Before throwing such things away, however, see if a thrift store will accept them. Or try to keep in mind that it was made with love and that an extra afghan can come in handy on chilly winter evenings.

Either that, or sell it to a hipster who’s decorating his living room in neo-kitsch.

6. Don’t regift ‘gently used’ items

Don’t wrap up something you’ve already worn, listened to, read or watched.

A book you’ve read a dozen times probably looks a bit dog-eared and might even bear a coffee drip on page 127. That cashmere scarf may look brand-new to you, but your sister might remember your having worn it last winter.

And while some people love getting gift cards for the holidays, don’t give a partially used one. Nothing says, “You’re so special to me!” like being handed a Subway card with an $11.47 balance.

7. Make sure it’s a good fit

If your teenage niece is a die-hard video gamer, giving her a scented candle is not the way to go. The relative who loves barbecue will likely fail to appreciate a book about vegan cooking.

Imagine the tables being turned — people who supposedly love you looking at Christmas as a chance to get rid of unwanted items, whether or not the gift suits you. Doesn’t feel so good, does it?

Got any tips on regifting, or any “regifting gone wrong” stories to share? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 10 Simple Money Moves to Make Before the New Year

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,836 more deals!