Regifting 101: Getting Rid of Unwanted Gifts Without Looking Cheap

By Jackie Beck   Updated 05/10/2021 at 7:31 am

It’s that time of year again — time to undeck the halls and get your house back into some semblance of its pre-Christmas order.

Too much clutter wears on a person, so this is an excellent time to take preventative measures for next year.

In addition to trashing or recycling any decor that may have gotten broken, deal with any gifts you may have received that aren’t quite your style or that don’t fit in your home.

How to handle misfit gifts graciously

First, for the love of God, don’t pretend that you’re absolutely thrilled with a gift and that it’s the Best. Gift. Ever! if you secretly can’t stand the gift. Do that, and you’re likely to get a similar gift next year with only yourself to blame. Fake enthusiasm does no one any favors.

Of course, don’t be an ungrateful jerk about it either. Write a real thank you note and feel grateful the giver was kind enough to get you something. Then let go of the need to display or use the gift in front of the giver or to gush over it excessively. Find a suitable home for the not-your-style present instead.

What to do with unwanted gifts

You have several choices when it comes to finding a new home for an unwanted gift. You can:

  1. Return it (if you can figure out where it probably came from or if a receipt was included)
  2. Donate it (because someone can use and love it)
  3. Sell it (if you can do so without the giver finding out)
  4. Trade it (especially good for gift cards)
  5. Regift it (appropriately!)

It’s that last bit I want to talk about here.

Regifting, the right way

Regifting should not be about finding a way to save money, or strictly about getting rid of something you don’t like.

IF you do it, regifting should be about matching up a perfectly good, brand new gift with someone who will truly love it. And that someone should absolutely not be the person who gave it to you (or someone the person who gave it to you comes into contact with.)

This means doing a few important things before putting the present away for another occasion. Stick a “who not to give this to” note on the gift itself with the names of the giver and their close friends and relatives. Search the item and remove all traces that it was ever given to anyone else. (Gift tags and personal notes tucked inside the box, and tiny scraps of wrapping paper still sticking to the outside are dead giveaways.)

Think about the recipient

Be honest with yourself about how likely someone else would be to truly want the gift. You know that the giver liked it, but does anyone else you know have similar tastes to them? Or has someone else you know been talking about wanting that very thing?

If not, it’s better to choose from options one through four instead of storing it away in a closet somewhere in hopes of finding the perfect recipient sometime in the distant future. Your space is valuable, and there’s no reason to needlessly fill it.

If you do regift…

If you do regift, consider doing so right away for no reason, instead of hanging on to the item for the future. A simple “hey, I got this for Christmas but I think you might love it more, do you want it?” works.

If you do hang onto the item for months or even a year before regifting, you’d better be sure the new recipient will love it. That’s because the chances of them being able to quietly return it drop to slim to none. (Or worse, they may return it and receive a measly amount as a courtesy credit, which doesn’t scream good taste.)

The bottom line? Regifting can be a great way to spend less on the holidays, but regift with care.

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Regifting done the right way: undeck the halls and rehome the gifts.

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