How to regift


Is re-gifting ever okay? And more important, how can you do it without getting caught? Melissa Kirsch, author of The Girl's Guide To Absolutely Everything has the answers.

How to regift The less personal a gift is the more likely it is to be regifted. Some gifts are more prone to regifting such as:
  • Scarves
  • Accessories
  • Liquor
  • Fruit cake (the one everyone in the world passes around)


Melissa has a few rules for regifting to help us avoid common pitfalls:

  • Know your audience; don’t regift a bottle of liquor to an alcoholic friend. If you get something that is not your taste, don’t give it to a friend who has similar taste to yours.
  • Make it new -- a new package, new card, new wrapping. Take out any signs or hints that it was a gift from someone else and wrap it.
  • Keep impeccable records. Don’t regift to the person who gave it it you. Don’t regift too close to home, i.e., you don’t want your sister to go to your mother’s house and see the sweater she gave you last Christmas.
  • Never regift anything personalized, handmade, anything opened or partially used.
  • Never tell anyone that a gift is regifted. If someone asks you for a receipt, say you got it on vacation somewhere, or you got it online. If they bug you too much you have to ask yourself why you’re giving them a gift in the first place.
  • Don’t feel guilty about regifting. It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

KATRINA: Hi I’m Katrina Szish for Let’s face it, we’ve all been tempted to regift. And it is okay, but you have to follow certain rules. Here to give us the breakdown of those rules is Melissa Kirsch, the author of The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything. Hi, Melissa. Thanks for joining us.

MELISSA: Thanks for having me.

KATRINA: What are the most commonly re-gifted items?

MELISSA: The less personal the gift is, the more likely it is to be re-gifted. So scarves, accessories, liquor is big. There’s that old saw that there’s one fruitcake in the world and we all just keep giving it to each other over and over again each year. Really the less personal things are the most likely to be re-gifted.

KATRINA: I understand you have several rules for re-gifting. Share those with us.

MELISSA: Number one, know your audience. If you get a bottle of whiskey that you want to re-gift, you’re not going to give it to the alcoholic. Not every gift is appropriate for everybody. If you get something that is totally not your taste, then you’re not going to want to give it to your best friend or somebody whose taste is similar to yours.

Number two: make it new. You know, don’t give it in the half-opened package or with the card still in the book, from your grandmother or whatever. New package, new card, new wrapping. Just like it came from the store.

And number three is keep impeccable records. You never want to re-gift to somebody who actually gave the gift to you ten years ago. You never want to re-gift too close to home so that, you know, your sister goes over to your mom’s house and sees the sweater that she gave you last Christmas.

KATRINA: Very good. Should you ever tell the person that’s receiving the gift that it’s a re-gift?

MELISSA: Absolutely not, there’s no reason. You are giving the gift as if it were new. Remember. Make it new. You know your audience; you know it’s perfect for them. You never mention it.

KATRINA: What if that person asks you for a receipt because they want to return it or exchange it for something else?

MELISSA: You can say I got it on vacation or I got it online and I don’t have a receipt. Basically, if somebody is really going to push and give you the third degree, you might need to ask yourself why you’re even giving them a gift to begin with.

KATRINA: What are the no-no’s of re-gifting?

MELISSA: Never re-gift anything personalized, anything handmade, anything half-used or open or anything that is partially used in any way.

KATRINA: Any final words of wisdom on the re-gifting concept?

MELISSA: Don’t feel guilty, it really is true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

KATRINA: Melissa Kirsch, thank you so much for the excellent advice.

meet theexpert
  • Melissa Kirsch

    Melissa Kirsch Author, The Girl's Guide To Absolutely Everything Melissa Kirsch is the author of The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything (Workman, 2007). She has been writing professionally for and about young women since 1998, when she was an editor at one of the first sites for girls on the Web. more about this expert »