Smart Guide to Regifting

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Smart Guide to Regifting

Holidays such as Christmas have a tendency to keep you on your toes, don’t they? Technically you know when they are going to happen because they happen at the same time every single year. Technically, then, you should be prepared and anxiety-free because you know what to do. You’ve done it many times before.

Smart guide to regifting

Smart guide to regifting

And yet, when you start seeing Christmassy billboards and listening to Christmas commercials on your way to work, you’re startled and shocked that it all happened so fast. You feel like you haven’t even digested Thanksgiving turkey nor burned those excess calories pumpkin pie has left on you, and now the craziness is happening all over again. Not only will you overeat again, not only will you need to deal with your family again but you are also expected to contribute to that glittering pile of boxes underneath the Christmas tree.

If you and your family have an unwritten rule that you buy presents for children only, we got you covered. Check out our 8 Best Money-Related Presents For Children for ideas on entertaining but meaningful gifts. If you, however, tend to buy gifts for adults too and you are already stretched for money with all your other expenses, check out our Smart Guide to Regifting below and who knows, you might get inspired and spend less!

Regifting describes the idea of giving away unopened or unused items that you already own. Most of those items would have come to you as “white elephants” but some could have been impulse buys that you never got a chance to return. Point is, if you think you might have items like that lying around somewhere, you are on the right track to regifting.

Step 1. SEARCH

Find an hour in your schedule and go through the drawers you rarely open, top shelves you completely forgot about, your pantry, attic, garage and basement. Try to focus on your search for items that have a potential to become Christmas gifts. Don’t start the cleaning process “while you are down there anyway” and don’t go all sentimental because you’ve found your high school photos or your baby’s first tooth. Unless of course you have way more time than an hour.

Step 2. GATHER

This one’s simple. Just try and gather all the buried treasures you have just found in one place. Dust if you must.


Now, that’s the tricky part. Do you remember how you acquired all the items you have just laid out in front of you? No? Not a clue? Forget about regifting this year. You really don’t want to give your auntie the same tablecloth she gave you for your birthday. Search the Internet instead for best gift ideas, go to the shopping mall or DIY your gifts using our ideas.

Or maybe you do remember now how these items came into your possession. That’s great, let’s get the ball rolling.


Obviously you can’t (of course you can but you really shouldn’t) give away something to the same person you received it from. You also should exclude their immediate relatives since the chances are they will remember the gift too. Even the people you might consider distracted or forgetful can prove to have an unexpectedly sharp memory when it comes to presents so don’t try to be smart. Better safe than sorry (not that you should feel sorry when you regift but let’s face it – it might cause an awkward silence at times).

You can’t give away items that have your name or initials on them either (unless you’re lucky to know a bunch of people with the same name) nor the items that have expired (those gingerbread cookies you brought back from Europe also had a best before date). Other than that, you’re good to go. All the funny rules about items that are too personal or not relevant anymore might or might not be applicable depending on your personal circumstances. For example, let’s say you got a pair of earrings from someone that’s not in your life anymore and you have never even tried them on. Jewelry sounds too personal, right? But you might still give it to your close friend or a sister if you tend to give yourselves personal presents anyway. Or let’s say that you have a pile of old VHS movies. Well maybe your granddad or your auntie still own a player?


Generally the rule is to regift items that are still in their original packaging and have not been used. There are few exceptions to that rule that might save you a lot of time and money.

Items that have been opened and you don’t have the original packaging anymore can be regifted too, and more importantly you can even openly admit you are regifting them. For example you got a household item like a kettle, frying pan, toaster, fondue set or wine glasses. You have opened them because you wanted to see what they look like, compare them to the similar items you already own and it turned out that they are of poorer quality or that they are way too complex for you to handle. Or maybe they were just fine and you even had an intention to use them but you simply forgot and left them abandoned in your kitchen cabinet. Regardless of why, you realize you are not going to use them. So - regift them. You can, and in fact it would be nice to write a note to the recipient – something simple and funny, admitting your forgetfulness, lack of skills or pointing out why you think this present would suit someone else better. For example:

Dear Mary,
I got this kettle last Christmas and I love it! But after getting married few weeks after and upon receiving other kettles, I realized that I love another one a teeny tiny bit more so I have decided to regift this one to you! I hope you like it and that you’ll get a long life out of it despite of the number of teas I am consuming every time I am popping in “just for a second”

What do you think? Perhaps you will be able to de-clutter your house after all!

Items that have been used can get a second life at someone else’s place if you can find meaning to them. This is mostly applicable to books, DVDs, CDs and games. If you read a book or watched a movie that meant something special to you, share it! Tell the receiver why you’re giving it away and more specifically why you are giving it to them. This may be a very moving experience for both of you. You might also know that someone is just a fan of horror movies, popular science books, strategy board games or jigsaw puzzles – not so much meaning to it but if you know that you can fuel someone else’s interests for free – why wouldn’t you?

Now, stop reading and check if you still have an hour. If so, please proceed to step 1.