Is Re-gifting Gauche?



I’m sure all of us have received the ‘wrong’ gift at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s the wrong size, the wrong color, or the wrong style. Sometimes it’s something we already have. Most of the time it’s something we just don’t want cluttering our closets.

If you can’t return the item, the best thing you can do is donate it or re-gift it to someone who would appreciate it more.

Although there’s nothing wrong with re-gifting, I think there are guidelines to observe.


• Always know who originally gave you the gift. There’s nothing more embarrassing than giving the same gift to the original giver.

• Never give the gift in lieu of the gift you originally planned for someone. In other words, wait until after the holidays (or birthday) to give this gift. If you’re pressed for time, you can give it as the primary gift, but deep down you’ll always know you ‘cheated’.

• Consider being honest. Many times during the course of conversations, a friend will mention they wanted such and such. If you luck into this conversation, this is the perfect time to tell him that you have that item in storage and would love to give it to him.

• If it’s truly a hideous gift, recycle it or toss it. I hate throwing anything away, but I’ve actually received items that were so bad I couldn’t even give them to a charity. Sometimes it’s best just to end the misery and recycle it if it’s at all possible.


What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received? Do you re-gift? Has anyone ever given you a secondhand gift?

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  1. Second-hand gifts don’t bother me so much if it’s something I want, or if I know the person is short on cash. That they thought of me at all is nice enough.

    Can’t rightly say it’s the worst gift I ever got, but my mother keeps buying me gadgets for the kitchen (I could have sworn she knows I hate to cook). I gave one of these gadgets to my cooking friend (after asking her if she wanted it). Found out the thing didn’t even work like it was supposed to. Glad I didn’t try it. I can only imagine the frustration I would have felt.

    • Stacy: That’s like someone giving me sewing/cross stitch kits. I’ll probably never use it.

      I’ll admit I gave it an honest effort when my elderly neighbor taught me to crochet and cross stitch a few years back, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I kept going to her for lessons and tips until Alzheimer’s got the better of her. Then I would just sit with her and tell her stories about the dogs. She loved that.

  2. I’m trying to think of the worst Christmas gift I ever received. I remember one year when I was pregnant, my husband bought me a boatload of maternity clothing. Really nice stuff. I returned it all. I was a PE teacher, I had no need for pretty maternity dresses. He was trying to be thoughtful, but I was too practical to waste the money on something I might wear once.

    • Susan: Aw, but that was nice of him anyway.

      Your story reminds me of a friend of mine. For years she wanted a baby girl that she could fuss and dress up. When she finally got one, the frilly dresses quickly went by the wayside. Apparently, her baby girl could never stay clean. 😀

  3. I’m like so many people. Gifts that really, really don’t work for me go to the charity store – or get hidden away somewhere – which reminds me! I think I have an ipad connector thingie hiding in the car. I prefer listening to the radio while driving 🙂

  4. I don’t re-gift things; I usually pass them along to a family member, an animal shelter or donate them to Goodwill. My guy is not a fan of Ham or smoked turkey, so those and the sausage and cheese catalogue gifts we receive go directly to a local group foster home.

    Sometimes odd gifts sit in the storage closet until I can find a use for them. I use a lot of gift clothes that are too small or large as fabric sources for sewing projects.

    I don’t consider any holiday gift horrible — it’s the thought that counts with me — but one year I received a huge, expensive tower of gourmet chocolate from an editor. The weird thing is she knew I can’t have chocolate or sugar, so I assume an assistant must have picked it out. Or that editor wanted to torture me outside work hours. I didn’t say anything but just thanked her and gave it to the kids.

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