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Is Re-gifting Tacky?

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by Lynne Cargill (subscribe)
I'm a grandmother, a retired teacher, an avid reader who loves historical re-enactment, English Country Dance, writing and Op Shopping. My business is designed to help children experience history through school incursions.
Published August 21st 2013
Is Re-gifting Tacky?

Two questions actually:
1. Do you re-gift?
2. Would you be offended if you received a recycled gift?

According to wikipedia, re-gifting "is the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, sometimes in the guise of a new gift."

I admit to doing it regularly. As a teacher I receive a lot of gifts that are lovely but I won't use them. One year I seemed to get lots of bath products. I didn't have a bath and my sensitive skin is very fussy about soap products. My family is always happy to take any excess, especially the chocolates ... whether I plan to pass them or or not !.

This was a large pack with lots of goodies. I kept some and re-gifted others.

Often I've re-gifted unopened items without admitting their origin - a pack of coffee cups, candle holders, wine, chocolates, hankies.

Good as new, so why not regift?

One very financially difficult year when I was moving house, I unashamedly gave a lot of second hand gifts. I did however choose very carefully. One person got a beautiful hat she'd borrowed previously and loved. A daughter was delighted with her late grandma's old penknife. A friend with a recent verandah addition got a very cute (and originally quite expensive) pottery possum.

Would you accept this as a gift if you knew it was second hand?

What is your opinion?

Dangers of Re-gifting

Be very sure the item is in perfect condition.

Unless it is antique or a family treasure it MUST not be damaged. It may have been fine when you shoved it in the back of the cupboard but check it carefully.

Be sure you know who gave you the gift and don't give it in the same circles - or worse still, to the person who gave it to you. Mind you, my grandmother used to think this was a good idea - her reasoning being If you liked enough to buy it, you should enjoy receiving it! Label anything you think you may re-gift with the name of the giver and the occasion. (Who else was there?)

Make sure there are no price tags, gift cards, personal messages to you attached or included.

Do not give something unless it is something you would consider buying new for the recipient.

Use new wrapping.

Presents you just can't re-gift can go to an Op Shop or be sold on eBay. It's even worth trying to return it. Some stores while not giving a refund without a receipt, will offer a store credit. Or be creative. A vase or ornament you don't want in your house, might be okay on a balcony or in a garden. A weird container might make a bird bath, a peg bag or a plant pot.

Be creative.

plants, upcycling
USe those unwanted containers for plants. Photo from
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would like to know if anyone has heard about a scheme where you can donate your unwanted toiletries that you have given to you in hotel rooms to charity? I did hear on TV a couple of years a go two business men where looking at the idea, especially because they travelled a lot and could by the end of the year have a lot of soap, shampoo, sometimes toothpaste and tooth brushes. May be some charity like the Red Cross would be intrested.
by CathyKirkby (score: 1|12) 2247 days ago
I love the possum pottery! Regifted several times incl an unused 21st gift as engagement gift some 30 yrs later (to someone unliked). Hitch was the initial giver was there too. Don’t know if it was noticed.
by fluffynut (score: 2|910) 712 days ago
Homeless shelters will take them.
by Lynne Cargill (score: 2|756) 2247 days ago

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