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Done With Aplomb, There Is No Shame in Regifting

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At one time or another, we’ve all received a gift that we neither wanted or needed. After you say thank you and show your gratitude, it’s up to you to decide whether to keep it or give it away.

Contrary to what some of the historic etiquette books advise, there’s no stigma in regifting a perfectly good item that doesn’t particularly suit you.

To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation, here are some tips to properly regift without the guilt.

Note who gave you the gift.

Label the gift with the name of the person who gave it to you and for what occasion. This will help you avoid regifting the item back to the giver.

Store items designated for regifting separately.

Designate an area to hold items you plan to pass along. Make sure they are kept in pristine condition, away from sunlight or dusty conditions. You’ll want your gift to still look new when it is opened (again).

Related: Stumped on Office Gifts for the Holidays? Here Are Some Handy Ideas.

Is it regift worthy?

Some items just aren’t popular or useful enough to warrant giving again. Or if the item is worn, damaged or obsolete, don’t regift it. In these cases, dump it or donate the item to a charitable organization for resale. Also, don’t regift swag items that feature a corporate logo or slogan.

Don't regift personalized items.

If the gift is personalized to you, with an initial, name or other identifying mark, it’s not wise to regift it or donate it within your circle of friends. This also goes for handmade items. You don’t want to take the chance that your well-intended giver will be offended if they spot their hand-stitched pillow at somebody else’s home.

Check for identifying evidence.

Be sure to check the gift, inside and out, for evidence that identifies the original gifter. Check inside the pockets of clothing or in the crevasses of a purse for a card or a personalized note. Once you’ve given the item the all-clear, it’s on to the next step.

Related: 5 Ways to Navigate Clients' Gift Restrictions

Rewrap the gift.

If you haven’t done so already, destroy all previous wrapping and give the gift a fresh new gift wrap that makes it look brand new.

Avoid your gift circle.

If you’re going to regift an item, look for a different circle of people into which to give, preferably within circles that don’t touch the other, like the office and remote family. This reduces the chances that your gift will be identified and you will be called out (however humorously).

Receive a regifted item with grace.

If you receive an item you know has been regifted, act graciously. Don’t make comments or point out what you know. This will only embarrass the giver or cause tension. Likewise, if the item you regifted has been identified, laugh it off. Sometimes humor is the best way to diffuse an awkward situation.

The point of gift giving is to offer and receive tokens of our love, affection or appreciation. Don’t feel guilty about regifting. What one person casts aside, another might cherish.

Related: Avoid These 4 Business Gift-Giving Faux Pas

Jacqueline Whitmore

Written By

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).