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Is it okay to give away unwanted presents? The dos and don’ts of regifting to avoid embarrassing yourself

Regifting can be a great way to recycle or find better use for gifts that may not have hit the mark but how you do it makes all the difference. Here are some guidelines to regift in a manner that’s tasteful and considerate.

With rising inflation and talk of a bleak economic forecast, many of us are looking at ways to tighten our purse-strings. Gift-giving can often be an expensive affair but a good way to practise prudence while putting a smile on someone’s face is simply to regift. In fact, considerate regifting can be a practical way to reduce waste by ensuring you find a good home for items that may otherwise be neglected or thrown away.  

While there’s nothing wrong with a little regifting, it’s important to remember that there is etiquette to observe when navigating the art of recycling gifts. Here are some guidelines to ensure that you avoid committing a social faux-pas while staying on budget.  

How to regift a present in style? (Photo: iStock)

1. Regift with intention

Think carefully about the item and the person who will be receiving it to ensure that the gift is appropriate and suitable before regifting.

2. Present it well

Just because the item came gift-wrapped doesn’t mean that you should give it away in the same wrapper that you’ve already opened. Make the extra effort to re-wrap it so it looks presentable, and not shabby.

3. Combine regifted items with new pieces

If you feel that the item isn’t quite sufficient on its own, top it off with something else. For example, couple a beauty product that you’re regifting with a small pouch. This is a nice way to enhance a gift while also staying frugal.  

4. Keep the tags on

Keep the brand tags on and the packaging of the item intact. Whenever you receive a gift that may not be up your alley, pause for a minute before snipping off the price tag, it may make a great gift for someone who will appreciate it more.

5. Regift if you have the same item

It’s fine to regift if you already possess the exact same thing but just be sure that the item hasn’t been personalised.

6. Be tasteful

You don’t need to tell the recipient that they’re receiving a regift. But if you have a close relationship with the person and prefer full disclosure, by all means, let them know that you’re regifting it to them because it suits them better. And if you think you’ve received a regifted present, be gracious and don’t make a big deal out of it.


(Photo: iStock)

1. Don’t regift in the same social circle

It’s a no-no to regift an item to someone in the same friend group or family as the person who gave the gift to you as it can potentially create an awkward situation if the truth comes out. Keep it classy and drama-free.

2. Don’t regift things that are obviously used

This may be common sense, but a reminder is always helpful. Used items should never be presented as brand new. If you’ve used it and don’t need or want it anymore, simply give it away (not as a gift), making clear to the receiver that it’s been used.

3. Don’t regift sentimental items

Don’t try regifting items of sentimental value, such as a family heirloom or precious jewellery, as these gifts are valuable and irreplaceable. If the giver finds out you’ve given it to someone else, they will likely be upset and offended.

4. Don’t regift swag bag goodies

Freebies from company events or corporate branded giveaways are not appropriate to regift. Anything that’s been branded with a corporate logo that isn’t the item’s brand shouldn’t be presented as a gift as it’s blatantly free.

5. Don’t regift anything with a shelf life

Baked goods and perishables aren’t suitable regifts especially if they have a short shelf life. Share them with your family, friends and colleagues instead. 

6. Don’t overdo it

As with most things in life, moderation is key. Be selective about what and how you go about regifting or you may earn yourself the reputation of being miserly.


Ideal Christmas gifts. (Photo: iStock)

1. Kitchenware

If you’ve been gifted with a new kitchen gadget, such as a wine bottle opener or coffee maker, that you simply don’t need or want, give it to someone who could actually use it. Just be sure that they’re brand new and in good working order.  

2. Alcohol

An unopened bottle of wine or champagne can make a great regift, as long as it is presented well. Be sure to check that there isn’t a personal gift tag or sticker that may give your regift away.

3. Homeware

Simple home decor items and bath products are good for regifting, as long as they are practical. This includes, candles, ornaments, photo frames, vases and unopened bottles of lotions and bath products.

4. Books and games

Unused books and games are fantastic regifts if they are suitable and appropriate for the people who are receiving them. 

Source: CNA/yy