Regifting Challenge

by Katy on October 12, 2010 · 19 comments

2010 Regifting Challenge!

I know it’s only October, but the holiday gift giving season is closer than most of us would care to admit. And unless you have an unlimited cornucopia of cash, (c’mon it could happen!) you’re probably looking to keep the budget under control. Yet no one wants to take on the role of the crazy cousin who only gives slipper socks. (Okay, that was me by the end of nursing school, as I was super broke and the socks were $1 apiece at the Albuquerque Wal-Mart.)

We all talk about making gifts, finding second hand gifts, winnowing down our gift recipient list and even braving the Black Friday lines to score deeply discounted Stuff.

What we don’t talk about, (at least in polite company) is Regifting.

Regifting can be as straightforward as passing an unwanted gift along to a new recipient or, (my favorite) finding items in my own house that others might enjoy.

I posed a question to my Facebook friends last week about how they would feel if they knew a gift they gave ended up regifted, and conversely, how they would feel if they knew they were on the receiving end of a regift. (I also asked the Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group, but nobody responded! Tsk, tsk. . . .)

The responses ran the gamut from:

“I love re-gifting. When I have something that I think someone I know will love, it makes me sooooooo happy to give it to them. If I get something re-gifted, I just assume that like me, the giver is gifting me with something that s/he thinks I will love. Happiness, either way.”


“Depends on the gift and the person I guess. If it was a well thought out gift that was picked specifically for that individual and they regifted I may be a wee bit hurt, but not heart broken. If it was a gift from my gift stash intended for anyone I probably would not care at all.”

It should come as no surprise that I am big regifter. I consider all of my belongings to be potential gifts, and regularly shop from my own shelves, drawers and cabinets to find that perfect something special for those on my gift list. I’ve been known to take restaurant gift certificates back to the restaurants to have them reissue new ones, (with the “to” and “from” left blank) and am already eyeing my shelf of blog review books as my own personal Barnes and Noble.

I truly feel that there is nothing wrong with regifting. When I give a gift, I don’t expect the recipient to have to hold onto that item forever, and hope they share the sentiment. I have worked really hard to declutter my home, (actually still a work in progress) and need to be able to move belongings along.

I challenge you to look around your own homes to do your holiday shopping this year. This can be as simple as a beloved book, or as literal as a gift you never found use for. Give these as gifts and make no apologies!

Because I declare 2010 to be the year of the Regift!

And if your family forms an angry mob in response, send them my way. I’ll sort them out.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

April October 12, 2010 at 4:50 am

Yesterday my sister in law called with their Christmas list. One of the things they want is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I bought the movie when it came out last year and its still on the DVD shelf, sealed in the original packaging! Woo Hoo! Easy shopping!


Rebecca October 12, 2010 at 5:20 am

Love it! This year all of my gifts to family (outside of my kids) will be second hand, in fact all I need is a gift for 1 niece and I’m done except for my kids.

As I find stuff throughout the year I wrap and tag it as soon as possible and they are stored in a watertight tote with a master list. I hate wrapping, so this way most of the work is done by November.

I do try to find used gifts for my kids, but 2 are disabled and really need very specific things. Sometimes I find them, sometimes I get them new.


Hiptobeme October 12, 2010 at 6:09 am

I think of thrift shopping as regifting too. Because I do it so much, I have tons of thrifted items ready for regifting. I did a bit last year and my original gifts were well received. It truly is the thought that counts and if you put thought into giving someones an object they truly might like, how can you go wrong?


Maureen October 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

I was just going to finish all the Christmas ornaments that I’ve started in years past and give those as gifts. I have 3 different types of ornaments that were started and never finished, so I was going to finish them up while on vacation in a few weeks (you know needlework kind of ornaments that I can take with me). Then I was going to buy 1 really pretty ornament for each recipient at the store I work at at the beginning of December when the company gives everyone an extra 10% off.


leslie October 12, 2010 at 8:56 am

I start garage sale shopping in about September for Christmas. I have a whole closet organizer full of gifts for friends and family. Most of the stuff is new in the packaging and cost me less than $1. I also get to avoid that panicky last-minute shopping. Win win!


WilliamB October 12, 2010 at 9:41 am

I think regifting is great, as long as you put as much care into selecting the regift as you would a gift you buy (hopefully that’s a lot of care).


Jenny October 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I regift all the of the time. I guess it wouldn’t bother me if someone regifted something I gave them unless it was something I took a long time to make.


Practical Parsimony October 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I regift with care, not just wrapping up anything to make do. Receiving a regift present does not bother me at all unless it is obvious that the gift has nothing to do with me or my needs. I have gotten gifts from a few people who sheepishly handed me a gift. When I opened the gift, I knew why. I accidentally left the gift at the person’s home and never asked for it…lol. Needless to say, I never received a gift again. Okay by me.

My elderly neighbor was pouting over a useless gift she received–slipper socks with the grips on the bottom. She was diabetic, had balance problems, and could not use them. I received a cinnamon scented hot pad that requires a hot dish to release the aroma. Those fake scents bother me and my allergies. I suggested trading. We were both happy and smiling over thoughtless gifts swapped for appropriate ones. We regifted ourselves…maybe that is what it would be called.

Regifting with care is as good as gifting with new, bought items.


Molly On Money October 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Re-gifting for me is TOTAL about having recieved the ‘wrong’ gift and making it all right by passing it to the person it should have gone to in the first place.
My Mother trained me well….my sister is 3″ taller then me, 2 sizes different (smaller) from me and has different skin tone from me (If you’ve read “The Color of Style” you know what a difference even a slight skin color difference can make!). Every Christmas she would gift me clothes that would fit my sister. I use to resent her but I gave up and just passed them over to my sister! Luckily she’s a great re-gifter too, recently, she passed a Sharif bag to me!


Mary October 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm

One advantage older parents have is starting the downsizing process by giving gifts of things that were the childrens’ grandparent’s or other beloved childhood person. Having copies of special photos or the actual photos passed on. They get two gifts, the item and not having to deal with it later. A start from a tree or plant that was always “there” might be another idea. When we moved our daughter gave us a dogwood tree because she couldn’t imagine her parent’s house without one.


Trish [ modern thrifter ] October 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm

My mom and my mother-in-law have similar taste and live in separate states. Often the gifts they give me are something that fits their style more than mine, so they have unknowingly been giving each other gifts for a while via my re-gifting.


Raffaella October 13, 2010 at 2:23 am

I have regifted. And also gifted something I had bought for myself by mistake – ex. books I started reading but gave up on, which were perfect for someone else.


fairydust October 13, 2010 at 8:16 am

I think regifting is wonderful, at least in some/most circumstances. I received a blouse once that was truly just wild for me – feathers and leopard patterns and really wild. Well, I regifted it to my wild-n-crazy younger sister, and she loved it. So yes, regifting is a great way of getting a gift to the right recipient eventually 🙂


Wanda October 13, 2010 at 10:50 am

I fall on the side of not re-gifting. I don’t believe in it,I find it lazy and at times…..well down right tacky. What I did in order to cut down on the numbers of gifts I was buying was simple. I stopped buying for everyone. I currently only buy for my mom,my pets and my grandmother. My mom gives me a list by the beginning of Oct. and usually if she asks for things like nightgowns or a purse,I take her out and ask her to give me two or three choices to pick from. No stress.
The pets don’t care because its usually new bowls,food,toys,etc.
My grandmother insists on donating the money I would spend on gifts for her to the charity of her choice. She is 97 and per her own admission she doesn’t want me to have to deal with a lot of crap when she dies.

When it comes to being on the receiving end I am very clear with my friends that I want any gifts in the form of a donation to my favorite charities. I will not accept a gift from them. Because like my grandmother I don’t need all that crap. My mom gets my list and I point out 2 or 3 items I like(particularly nightgowns).

There rarely is a surprise gift. However when there is its usually from my mom and its usually something I said I wanted but failed to pick up for myself.

This way of working the holidays,birthday’s,etc saves so much hassle and stress and we all get what we want.


Kate October 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

I don’t regift because I hardly get any gifts anymore – I’ve made it as clear as possible to my family that I don’t want more *stuff*! (Although my mother will never listen. Sigh.) I DO, however, give things that I’ve gotten for free – samples we get at work, a scarf I got free at a warehouse sale – not my color, but perfect for my sister! I’ve had friends get the dreaded regifted wedding present – with the card still inside the box – whoops! Be careful out there, regifters! 🙂


Bailey October 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Love this topic. I do re-gift and I know I have received as well. I dread the holidays as I have a large in-law family (3 brothers, one sister, all married and five nieces and nephews, plus parents) and they all exchange gifts for everyone!! It’s nuts. I think they should draw names or buy for a needy family but I’m new so who am I too judge. I keep it small and re-gift from my side where I can. I also make stuff and keep it simple. I’m very careful keeping track to not give anything to someone that they gave to me. I also have “inadvertently” left a gift somewhere and wasn’t gifted again. I like practical gifts
Thanks for raising the topic.


nigel October 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Regifting is absolutely fine. Try and keep the gifts to locally made work and yu might find that you have more requests than you could bargan for. Live Green.


Elizabeth November 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Hi All,
It is interesting to hear you all discuss re-gifting as I am currently doing my Masters Research project at the University of Canterbury on the topic. If any of you have re-gifted before and would be interested in taking part in the survey, just click the link below.
It is only short and everything is confidential.
If you wish, you will be entered into a draw to win one of three gift certificates worth $50 USD.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: