Etiquette Daily

Regifting: Reduce, Reuse, Regift

August 3, 2018 1 Comments

Q: Is it OK to regift?

A: Since the writers of Seinfeld coined the term regifting in the 1990’s, it has become part of our everyday language – and a hotly debated topic. Is it okay to pass a gift you have received to someone else? Is it ethical? The answer is a very qualified yes. Regifting can be done, though rarely, and under these very specific circumstances:

  • You’re certain the gift is something the recipient would enjoy.
  • The gift is brand new (no castoffs allowed) and comes with its original box and instructions.
  • The gift isn’t handmade, or one that the original giver took great care to select.
  • Neither your gift giver nor your recipient will be upset.

Simply put, you have to make sure you don’t hurt feelings – neither the original giver’s nor the recipient’s. For instance, if you received a set of wine glasses from your sister-in-law that you didn’t need, do you think that she would mind if you passed them along to a friend who just bought a house? Do the two women know each other? Would it be awkward if they found out? Is there a chance your friend might need to exchange the glasses for something else herself, and if she asked you where you bought them, what would you tell her? When in doubt, do not regift.


1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Kathy Meyer

    August 3, 2018

    Also, make sure you are not regifting to the original giver! My Mom has a bin of gifts that she knows she will regift. Sometimes they are in there for a while and she forgets who gave them to her. Point in case: Two years later she regifted to me a book I had given her a couple of Christmases before. Looking brand new, but with my local bookstore’s sticker still on it! Ha! Caught red handed!