from an expert in the field:
from an expert in the field:
THE TOPIC OF regifting
almost always ends in
spirited discussion, opinion and debate, perhaps
because many of us have
been the recipient of a
thoughtless regift, or because a lingering stigma
is attached to the act.
But honestly, who hasn’t received a gift that
doesn’t suit, doesn’t fit or is a duplicate of something you already have? And if that gift is absolutely perfect for someone else you know,
chances are you’ve taken the opportunity to
regift. I suspect very few of us haven’t taken
advantage of the opportunity.
Clearly, guidelines are required. First and
foremost, never, ever regift back to the original
gifter. This rule seems obvious, but it happens
to the best of us once time has passed. If you
have a tight circle of friends, and it is likely that
others may know the original gifter, as well as
the new gift recipient, best to avoid.
Always label any gift you plan to regift
at some point with the name of the person
who gave it to you. I also firmly believe that
you do not tell the receiver of your regift
that it was originally given to you. It’s not nec-
essary to confess, and doing so will likely have
Be thoughtful when regifting. Consider the
person you are giving the gift to, and treat this
as you would any other gift decision. Do your
best to ensure the person receiving the gift will
appreciate and value the item.
I have a “gift closet” at home. In it is a designated shelf for stashing items I’ve bought or
have received and will regift so that I am always
ready on short notice to come up with a hostess gift, birthday gift or thank-you gift. It’s a
great place to keep extra gifts while you decide
who best deserves them. If something is still in
the closet a year later, it’s time for another
approach. Consider donating the gift rather
than regifting it. A women’s shelter, a toy drive,
the Salvation Army, Goodwill or a local charity
are all excellent choices.
What about selling the gift on eBay or
Kijiji? A local consignment shop is another consideration. Turning your gift into someone else’s
treasure puts money into your pocket and
means someone else has likely gotten a bargain.
I love giving and receiving gifts, and enjoy both
the shopping and the anticipation. Whether an
item is a regift or a brand-new gift, it is really
about the relationship with the gift giver or
receiver, and not about the gift. C
I AM A fan of the three
Rs: reduce, recycle and
reuse. But I am not in
favour of a fourth R—
often it amounts to a fifth
Unfortunately, many people who regift are
not doing so out of concern for the environment. They are thoughtlessly unloading something they don’t want onto someone who
doesn’t want or need the item either. As a result,
the feelings of both the original giver and the
regiftee are irreparably hurt. Here are some
regifting practices at their worst.
Not considering whether the original
giver and the regiftee know each other. With
so much show and tell going on these days
through social media and other online communication, unless these two people live on different planets you run the risk of discovery.
Regifting unusual items. The risk of dis-
covery is higher with unusual items, which are
easily identifiable—especially handmade
items. Never regift items that someone made
just for you. These things are very heartfelt
and should always be kept. In such instances
the hurt feelings of the maker far surpass the
value of the gift if you were to regift the item
and it was discovered.
Passing off anything you dislike to someone else. Unless the item is something you
would actually buy for the recipient, you
shouldn’t give it. Remember that what you give
is a reflection of you and your taste.
Regifting in business. This is fraught with
peril, as a manager in a sales department discovered. She regifted to one of her clients an
item given to her by one of her suppliers, but
didn’t notice a discreet but visible logo on the
front of the item. Unbeknownst to the sales
manager, her client was also a client of the supplier who had first given the gift. This one
thoughtless act of regifting tarnished the sales
manager’s professional reputation and destroyed
two business relationships.
When is it totally proper to regift and
announce it? When the act of regifting adds
value to the gift. Regifting a cherished family
quilt to your daughter-in-law communicates
love and inclusiveness. Passing along other
family heirlooms, within the family, promotes
Only you can decide whether to regift something you have received. Think through the circumstances and, when in doubt, don’t regift. C
Opinions expressed are those of
the individuals or organizations
represented and are presented
to foster discussion. Costco and
The Costco Connection take no
position on any Debate topic.
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Cathie Mostowyk is the founder of Shoestring Shopping ( www.shoe
stringshopping.com). For more than 20 years she has written a weekly column in the Toronto Star highlighting warehouse sales, deals and bargains.
Louise Fox is the owner of Etiquette Ladies Worldwide