re gift – verb
“Scandalously repackaging and claiming to have purchased on your own, a previously received hideous piece of crapola and giving it to someone else as if you had actually been thinking about what they would enjoy.” – Source: Urban Dictionary
Ok, I have done this once in my life and I felt pretty bad about it (for about 5 seconds). If someone gives me a bad gift that I hate, I see nothing wrong with re-wrapping it and giving it to your buddy, wife, or co-worker. Hey, it’s saves a little money and time and at holiday time, both are tight.
If you agree with me and tend to be as cheap as me, you’ll want to know how to get away with re-gifting. So here are a handful of rules that you can abide by.
- Do update the wrapping. The next most common regifting faux pas, after leaving the previous gift card attached, is to regift in the original, now crinkled and possibly torn (hello!?) wrapping paper or box. If the phrase “Hey, it looks almost new” crosses your desperate holiday brain, remember that it’s the “almost” that’s a dead giveaway to the new giftee.
- Don’t give hand-me-downs as regifts. Novice regifters (and those who are terminally tacky) often get these two categories confused. Don’t. A hand-me-down is an item you’ve already used that you’d like to pass along to someone who will enjoy it and use it more than you will. For example, a sweater you’ve removed the tags from and worn twice. You could wrap it up and give it as a “gift” only as long as another real gift is provided. A regift should be just that: a gift you’ve never used that you’re giving away as though it were a . . . real gift!
- Do keep track of who gave it to you first. In her useful article on this topic, Joyce Moseley Pierce recommends creating a stash of regifting items you can always use in a pinch. I say, OK, but keep a small notebook of who gave you what. I had a harrowing experience that involved regifting a pair of earrings to a cousin — who had given them to me two years before. I forgot. She remembered. And she let me know about it.
- Do have the courtesy to clean your regifts. I once got a rice cooker . . . with a couple of kernels of rice still clinging to it.
- Don’t give partially used gift cards. As technology pushes the envelope of regifting possibilities, the chance of looking like a ninny only grows. Don’t give a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble that only has $14.56 left on it.
- Don’t give something you’ve owned for a while. Not only is this in violation of the hand-me-down rule above, the giftee can and will recognize that picture frame from your living room shelf.
To go a little further, there is actually someone doing surveys on regifting! Here are some 2005 stats from Regiftable.com:
- More than half (54%) of surveyed consumers do not find regifting rude
- Nearly 4 in 10 (37%) people have practiced regifting
- Women are more likely to regift than men (41% vs. 33%)
- Women 35-54 years old are most likely to regift
- Regifting is more practiced among those who are college educated
- Nearly 3 in 10 people have not yet regifted, but are considering it
- A third (33%) of consumers have neither regifted nor considered it
- More than half (53%) of surveyed regifters state that they regift because they know the recipients will like the item given
- One third (33%) of regifters do so to save money
How about you? Do you wrap old stuff lying around your house and give it as a gift? What are your limits on this?