Christmas regifting … That’s a topic up for debate, isn’t it? I remember having this exact conversation with a friend, a few years ago. At the time, she told me that she thought regifting was truly awful — a “cheap” way of approaching Christmas. It was definitely something she’d never done, or would ever do.
Another friend, on the other hand, told me that she’d once given her Nan a necklace that a relative from her partner’s side of the family had originally given to her, for Christmas. She didn’t like the necklace personally, but she didn’t want to give it back to the person that gifted it to her, having to tell them that she didn’t like it. (Is there anything worse?!) Her Nan *did* like the necklace, however, and had already pointed out something similar in a jewellery shop during a recent jolly to the high street. What was the problem? SOMEONE had appreciated the Christmas gift, even if it wasn’t the person it was originally intended for.
What are your thoughts on Christmas regifting? Or regifting at any time of the year? Do you regift? Have you ever regifted? Do you know what regifting is?
Let me explain …
🎁 What is Christmas Regifting? 🎁
Right, regifting is when you get a gift that you’re happy and grateful for (obviously), but you know you’ll never use/wear/appreciate in all its glory. You know, like when you tell your Dad you don’t like Lush bath products and he still gets you Lush bath products, year after year, making a big Christmas joke that I’m not even sure he knows that he’s a part of …
(Sorry, Dad. I love you!)
When you get these gifts that you obviously love but probably won’t appreciate, rather than leaving them in the back of a cupboard for ten years, only to find when you move out, or guiltily throwing them in the trash as soon as no one’s looking, regift them instead.
Those gifts are still appreciated by someone … It’s just not you.
Every Christmas gift should be loved and appreciated. Even though someone might have gifted you something that isn’t to your tastes, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t go through hell to try and get it for you. I’ll never forget one time that I lied to my Nan and told her that I “liked” her hand-knitted cardigan (because I was just trying to be nice that day), only for her to make me an identical, miniature one for Christmas, a few months later.
All the work that went into that cardigan … it must have taken her hours to complete. My ten-year-old self didn’t appreciate it at the time, of course, but now, well, I’d give anything to have that hand-knitted cardigan back so that I could put it in my memory box. It would make me laugh and smile every Christmas, I know that much.
Image source: VIKTOR HANACEK / PicJumbo
🎁 Christmas Regifting Etiquette & Rules 🎁
Now, before we go any further, I would like to point out that there is *some* planning involved when you’re talking about regifting. If you were to give someone a gift this year that they’d already given you for Christmas last year, they’ll probably know about it. As much as I’m not saying you should hide your regifting habit, giving a gift back to the same person who gave it to you in the first place is probably not quite the idea you were going for.
There are a few ‘rules’, if you like, when it comes to Christmas regifting, or regifting at any point of the year. I like to call it “Regifting Etiquette”.
1 – Don’t regift a gift back to the person who gave it to you.
If your mum gave you a sweater that you don’t like, you can’t just give it back to her. Well, you could if you wanted to, obviously, but if you’re trying to subtly regift without hurting anyone’s feelings, you’d probably have failed.
You should avoid regifting gifts back to the same social circle of friends or family members as the person who gave it to you. Again, if your mum gave you a sweater for Christmas that you really didn’t like, it’s probably not a good idea to give that same sweater to your aunt for Christmas. Or a friend of your mum’s. Or your sister.
Usually, the point of subtly regifting is to give the gift to someone else without the original gift-giver knowing anything about it. This brings me nicely to my next point actually …
2 – Write a list of ‘regiftable’ gifts.
If you have a list of Christmas gifts that you know you’re never going to use, with a name by the side of the gift so that you know who originally gave it to you, you’re covering your own butt.
🔘 Red sweater with gold star, one size too big — from Mum.
🔘 Lush bath products — from Dad.
🔘 Perfumes that I’ve never heard of and don’t like — from Great Aunt Hilda.
🔘 Half-nude female body design cooking apron — from that workmate who has no idea of social boundaries …
You know how it goes, I’m sure.
If you keep track of everything in this way, even something as simple as having a list hastily tapped out in Notes on your phone, you aren’t running the risk of giving a gift back to someone who gave it to you in the first place.
3 – Box it up.
Do you have a box that you keep all of your Christmas decorations in? One that usually gets shoved up in the attic in January, until October comes and everyone gets prematurely excited for Christmas again?
Why not look at having the same kind of thing for ‘regiftable’ gifts? Each time you receive a gift that you probably won’t use, throw it in the regift box. Then you’ll have a bunch of ready-to-go gifts when a surprise party or birthday celebration gets pushed on you.
Last minute surprise party for that work colleague whose name you don’t remember?
Grab that weird-looking bottle of wine that your next door neighbour gave you as a moving-in present, stick a bow on it, and you’re pretty much good to go.
I like to add a few more things to my regift box — bows, spare generic birthday and Christmas cards, perhaps a few sheets of all-year-round-suitable wrapping? I have everything I need, should a last-minute gift situation comes up.
Another great tip — when you spot buy-one-get-one-free deals on stuff like wine, chocolates, beauty products, etc., add them to the regift box. You can drink one bottle of wine, saving another for when Christmas comes and you inevitably need a last-minute gift.
4 – Can it wait a year?
If you have somewhere to store your newfound regifting box, there’s no urgency to give away a gift immediately. If the gift is wine, for example, it can usually be left, unopened, for a year without any problems. Unless you drink it first, obviously.
Other items can’t be saved for so long, like food. This means that you would need to regift (or eat) those products fairly quickly. A food hamper won in a Christmas raffle, for example, wouldn’t last until NEXT Christmas. You could throw it in with your Grandparents’ gifts this year though, to bulk things up a bit. Just saying.
5 – Don’t regift beautiful gifts.
If someone has gone out of their way to MAKE you a gift, or to come up with a gift that is clearly very personal, don’t regift it. That’s kinda mean. It would have been really awful of me to regift that cardigan that my nan made me. If your next door neighbour has knitted you a scarf, they have spent a long time making that gift for you — just you.
6 – Use your head when Christmas regifting.
If your younger sister is bubbling over with excitement at the thought of giving you that dolphin necklace, even though you haven’t actually liked dolphins since the nineties, there’s a good chance that she’ll be excited enough to ask you about it. This could be days, weeks, or months down the line. What are you going to do then, if you have already gifted that necklace to someone else?
If someone is *that* excited about giving you a certain gift, whether you like it and appreciate it or not, regifting is probably not the best idea. Use your head. If you know someone will say to you, “How’s the shirt I bought you? I never see you wearing it?”, there’s a good chance you’ll need to proof-wear that shirt at least once before they’ll be satisfied. And, if they’re anything like various members of my family, they won’t stop until they’ve actually seen you wearing it.
I would NEVER get away with regifting stuff the female members of my family have bought me. They ask about it afterwards, every time. Without fail. (I learned the hard way.)
7 – Don’t regift something you’ve actually used.
I really wouldn’t be happy if someone gave me a box of chocolates for Christmas, with one chocolate taken out. Whether you like the chocolate or not, you’ve opened it and eaten one before passing it my way. That’s not giving me a gift. That’s giving me something you don’t want.
The same idea works for other items. I would be very annoyed if I received a lipstick that had very clearly been worn or some perfume with a bit missing from the bottle. You can’t really regift something that you’ve already opened. If you do this, be prepared to have to admit your regift.
But, wait, check out my next tip …
8 – Charity starts at home …
Those items that you do open and don’t like … Well, they don’t need to go to ‘waste’. Let’s say that you’ve been given a shower gel set with a fragrance you don’t much like. Don’t throw them away. Don’t gift them to someone else either. Put all of those toiletries you don’t use or won’t use, into a bag and then donate them somewhere. Give them to the local homeless community (but be safe about it, obviously). Or donate it to a place that’s offering services for the homeless over the cold winter period.
Being homeless at any time of year is horrific. Being homeless during winter is not only fatal in so many cases, but also incredibly sad. Some of these people have nothing, not even a bar of soap to wash with, yet you’re throwing out luxury toiletries because you never use them/don’t like the fragrance?
In fact, this year, I’ll practice what I preach. I’m going to empty all of my toiletries — those shower gels and body lotions that come with expensive perfume gift sets, that always get left unopened and unused — and I’m going to put them in a box. Add an old pair of gloves, a few pairs of new socks, maybe some hand-warmers, a scarf and hat, cup-a-soups, biscuits, etc., and then wrap it up, and you have a gift that you could present to the homeless (or one of the many homeless shoebox charity campaigns). You could make someone’s day with the stuff that you don’t want.
Food for thought.
So, now for a few final words. Christmas regifting isn’t for everyone. I’m on the fence about it, if I’m honest. It would heavily depend on the gift, who was giving it to me, and what good could come from regifting it to someone else. I do know that having that regift box to hand has definitely come in handy a few times, especially for last minute gifts. I don’t drink, so those bottles of wine given to me by accident make their way into the box sharpish. They always look great when thrown into a wine-bag and topped with a bow. They also make for great Secret Santa gifts.
Just remember, as much as regifting is saving you money, someone else did spend that money on you. (Although, they might have regifted it to you in the first place.) Think hard about handing it over to someone else before you actually do it. Once you’ve wrapped it up and given it away to someone else, you can’t exactly get it back. That makes things super awkward when that relative asks you if you’re going to wear your new earrings for the up-and-coming family event …
What are YOUR thoughts on Christmas regifting? Would you? Wouldn’t you? Do you think I’ve missed out on an important tip or etiquette rule? Let me know. Leave your comments below! 👇