Is re-gifting rude?

We know we do it, or have contemplated it, but is it wrong?

When is re-gifting okay? How do you avoid unintentionally hurting a friend or family member with thoughtlessness? There are guidelines to follow, as re-gifting should only be done on rare occasions when certain criteria are met. Here are our tips for doing it right:

1. The item must be brand-new. Not last year’s brand-new, this year’s brand-new. It should be unopened, never played with, never worn, washed or tried out. It should be in its original undamaged packaging. All the bits and pieces must be intact, including the guarantee, if there is one. If the recipient or the re-giftee returns it to the store, he should not be told, “We haven’t carried that model in years.”

2. Be sure the person who gave you the gift doesn’t know (or know of ) the person receiving the gift.  If it is an unusual item that could easily be identified, you shouldn’t re-gift it unless the receiver is on another planet. The more unusual the item, the greater distance there should be between the giver and the re-giftee.

3. Never re-gift something you’ve had in your closet for a few years or lying in the basement unused.  If you’ve had an item for some time and you know it happens to be something your friend really wants or needs, give it to them. But don’t wrap it up and pass it off as a gift you just purchased for them.

4. The re-gift should not be something horrible you’re re-gifting just to get rid of it, or to avoid spending money on the receiver. Unless the item is something you would actually buy the recipient, you shouldn’t give it to them. Remember, what you give is a reflection of you and your taste.

5. Never re-gift items someone has hand-made for you. Those items are heartfelt and should be always be kept. In such instances the hurt feelings of the maker far surpass the value of the gift if you were to re-gift the item and it was discovered.
6. Take the time to re-wrap the gift and attach new bows or ribbons.

Always be sure you have removed any original gift tags or cards.

7. Can you re-gift, and announce it as a re-gift? Yes, when re-gifting adds value.

For example, re-gifting a family quilt to your daughter-in-law, a family heirloom to another family member, your wedding dress to your granddaughter, your mother’s engagement ring to your fiancée, and similar situations.

Only you can decide whether to re-gift something you have received. The basis of good manners is respect,  care and consideration for others. Think through the circumstances and if in doubt, don’t do it.

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