Your Regifting Stories

by Katy on January 15, 2010 · 8 comments

Congratulations to Namastemama, whose regifting story won her my copy of Regifting Revival: A Guide to Regifting Gifts Graciously. Although the winner was chosen using a random number generator, her story was still terrific, as we all receive gifts that are either not our style or don’t fit into the organization of our homes:

“I am a Sunday school teacher and get lots of gifts at Christmas. I can never use them all so just this week I took one of them and gave it as a hostess gift at a party. My hubby said that even if they didn’t like the contents they would love the thought.”

Here are but a few of the wonderful stories and ideas that you, the readers shared. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter this giveaway!

From NMPatricia:

Not sure this if this qualifies, but through the holidays, in the articles about regifting, I ran across a certificate to be included with presents with the permission to regift. I apologize for not knowing exactly what site I got it from so I can give credit where credit is due. The basket for the present came from Goodwill for $0.99. The gift I made. When the recipient called to thank me, she said she definitely would not regift, Yet! It was as if the certificate made the notion OK for someone who would never think it was OK to either do it or even talk about it. But it also seem to give her “permission” or opened the door to saying I could have the basket back if I wanted. Which I am thrilled so I can use it again. My first step into the world of regifting!

From Shannon:

This doesn’t exactly sound frugal but.. . My sister years ago go many pieces of Waterford Crystal on trips to Ireland. She re-gifted a beautiful small bowl to me years ago and it sits on my bookcase full of those souvenir smashed pennies. Years ago I decided I’d had enough of mugs with Virginia Beach printed on the side or those cedar boxes with Gatlinburg burned in the top. So, I told everybody who regularly brought me souvenirs that I only wanted those smashed pennies. They’re cheap, they’re fun to collect, and they take up very little space…especially when housed in a re-gifted Waterford Bowl. :)

Note from Katy: I ♥ smashed pennies, and feel they are the perfect souvenir. They’re cheap, require no manufacturing or packaging; and usually don’t even need any electricity to make, as the hand crank supplies all the necessary energy.

From AlwaysLearning:

I’ve had a dedicated regifting drawer full of things my 5 children, husband and myself either received and didn’t want, couldn’t use, or believe it or not, something my kids just wanted to put in the drawer for future regifting. We always had something to pull together (even last minute sometimes) and never had to purchase a gift for any of their friends. Try to imagine how many birthday parties your kids get invited to; or friends/teachers at school having a birthday. My drawer has shrunk a little since 4 of my children are grown adults now, but they learned from a young age to regift and now have regifting drawers of their own.

From Chase Nolan:

My family used to play a regifting game that lasted several Christmases. We would regift this very large, flat, and colorful lollypop as a gag gift to each other.

I must have taught my kids well, because none of us ever wanted to eat this giant sugar-on-a-stick. That is, until my youngest could no longer resist.

And lastly, one of my proudest regifting moments:

My childhood best friend (and ex-next door neighbor) was getting married and I was hosting a bridal shower for her. I wasn’t sure what to get her but did come up with a great idea. Her mother had put up a “Peace to all Who Enter Here” brass knocker on the door of her childhood home in the 1970’s, and I knew this was a special family artifact for her. Unfortunately, they had sold the house when we were in high school. I went and asked the new owners if I could have the knocker to give to my friend and they were happy to oblige. When this gift was opened my friend and her siblings, (who were also at the shower) were stunned and very moved by this gift.

Best gift I ever gave.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Note: This book was my personal property, and I received no compensation in payment for this column.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily January 16, 2010 at 6:14 am

I’ve been wanting to thank you for “permission” to let my children collect smashed pennies. I always resisted, thinking they were a waste of money. But after reading your comments about them I relented and my two girls are now proud smashed penny collectors. They even got them at the Magic Kingdom – passing by all the plastic made in China stuff that would clutter up their rooms! My husband brought some home from a business trip to San Diego and the girls were thrilled at the “fancy presents”. Thank you, Katy, for a great idea!


Katy January 16, 2010 at 11:15 am


I’m really happy to hear you’ve caught the squished penny bug. I really do think they’re a lot of fun. And at 51 cents, they’re a bargain!

My faves are from the science fiction museum in Seattle, the Tillamook cheese factory (it’s a block of cheese!) and from Cape Foul Weather at the Oregon coast.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Bekcky Kellogg January 16, 2010 at 7:21 am


I work for The Weather Channel and I’d like to talk with you about your no heat challenge. It’s a perfect story for us to cover. Can you drop me a line at please?


Karen January 16, 2010 at 9:02 am

I love re-gifting! However, I’ve seen some re-gifting mistakes too. At 2 events I attended, I noticed that some gifts made their way back from the previous years. I think that’s ok if it’s a joke type gift – like everyone avoids the weird figurine each year – that actually is fun. But, when I saw a basket full of cute holiday kitchen towels, bakeware, coffee mug etc. re-appear, the person obviously forgot where they got it from. I make sure to put the super sticky post it labels on the gifts in my re-gifting pile & note who I got it from to save such embarrassment 🙂


Rebecca January 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

When we got married ten years ago we received over a dozen pieces of crystal, vases, bowls, etc. I am not a crystal person and didn’t register for any of those items. We returned what we could, but had at least six we didn’t have gift receipts for. We did have quite a few weddings of friends to attend coming up, so I made sure the item we gave as a gift didn’t come from the new couple, and I didn’t buy a single wedding or shower present for over a year.

I worked for years at a large department store that received many promotional gifts from the vendors whose items we sold. The store would take these promos and give them out to the staff as rewards for top sales, great cust. service, etc. As a full time employee, I wound up with tons of sterling silver bracelets, Coach keyrings and picture frames, gym bags, cosmetic pouches and other items I would never use. So they all became gifts for birthdays and christmas.


Jay January 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Oh my gosh, I just found your blog and I LOVE it. Seriously love. My family all think I’m crazy for living like you do, and it’s great to see that there is someone else out there who actually prefers to get everything used.

I’ve seen a few other blogs by people who are avid thrifters, but you’re the first who isn’t all preachy about it – this is just how you live. I love your attitude about it. And your line about getting the ‘hippie ethic without the hippie aesthetic’ has made my day.


Christine January 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Another idea for this might be called a “mathom.” A mathom is a word used by J.R.R. Tolkien in the Hobbit. He derived it from Old English, and here is what he said about the word: ““Anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort”.

I have a lot of these things and I always wait for just the right person who will enjoy them. I love giving mathoms and people love receiving them. Christine


oldboyscout2 January 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm

What a GREAT idea:
“permission to regift” slip
Should be included with most every gift !


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: