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The ultimate guide to flawless regifting

The ultimate guide to flawless regifting

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Mary Hunt

The act of regifting — passing on as new a gift someone else gave you — is controversial but only because of those who do a noticeably bad job of it. If every act of regifting were carried out flawlessly, no one would have the occasion to find it distasteful.

The secret to flawless regifting is to know and adhere to the Unbending Rules of Regifting.

No. 1: Never admit regifting. If your friends know you’re a regifter, you’ll find yourself in the unpleasant situation of explaining why regifting is different from not caring. Worse, friends and family will be suspicious of the gifts you give them. It’s best to keep regifting completely to yourself.

No. 2: Designate a location. Keep regifts in a convenient, albeit secret, place in a special box or cupboard with extra wrapping paper and ribbon. Some people shop for gifts in department stores or online. Never underestimate the utility of a gift stash that allows you to shop at home.

No. 3: Have a heart. Any gift made especially for you or given to you by a parent, child or close relative cannot be regifted. Even if it’s not ideal, consider its sentimental value. Don’t even think of regifting. It just wouldn’t be right.

No. 4: Label all regifts. Do this as soon as you determine you’ve received a regift to avoid the heartbreak of backgifting — giving someone a gift they gave you. Simply make a detailed note of who and where this item originated on a sticky note or similar so you will not have to guess later.

No. 5: Check again. You cannot be too careful. Let’s say the gift is a book. Take a peek to make sure it has not been inscribed to you. If it’s a boxed gift, make sure the gift tag has not dropped inside the box. These are the careless acts that give regifting a bad name.

No. 6: Absolutely no telltale signs. A regift must look brand-new. If the box is damaged or shows any signs that it has been opened, forget it. That item does not qualify as a regift.

No. 7: Not remotely acquainted. Your regiftee must not in any way be acquainted with anyone in the circle of friends or relatives of the person who gave this to you. Refer to rule No. 4 above.

No. 8: New gift wrap, no exceptions. If there’s a time you want to use new wrapping paper and ribbon, it’s on a regift. Anything else is a dead giveaway. And for absolute certain, do not attempt to reuse the original gift wrap.

No matter how you feel about it, the practice of regifting is here to stay. If you choose to participate, do it flawlessly.

Want to make sure your gifts don’t land in someone’s regift box? Put a little thought and effort into it to make sure it is something your gift will truly enjoy, not just something that lets you mark another name off your list!

Mary Hunt writes this column for Creators Syndicate. She is the founder of, a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living.” Submit comments or tips or address questions on her website. She will answer questions of general interest via this column, but letters cannot be answered individually.


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