The art of (re)gifting

Anne Shaffer
Assistant Features Editor

The holidays have wrapped up, the decorations are put away, and the relatives have all (finally) gone back to their own houses. Now there are piles of presents sitting on the floor, waiting to be shown to their new homes. There is the hat from Aunt Jane and the sweater from Grandma Sue.
Unfortunately, those sweaters and hats are either the wrong size or are not even mildly attractive.
Now what?
In past decades, there were very few options for these unwanted gifts.
“If you got that hat from Aunt Jane, you better wear it at least two times when you saw her,” said Millersville senior Bri Richard.
However, now there is an option for these gifts: regifting. Take the sweater from Grandma Sue, rewrap it, and foist it on a friend or distant relation.
Regifting has always been a rather heated topic of conversation. Some are of the opinion that it is a tacky practice while others believe that it is perfectly acceptable.

Regifting Robin,’s mascot.
Regifting Robin,’s mascot.

“My family is all about regifting,” said Danielle Kreider, a Millersville senior. “My dad regifted to me a guitar I bought for him three years ago.”
In recent years, the idea of regifting has become much more acceptable. is an entire website devoted to the concept of the regift, created by Money Management International (MMI) in 2006 to “get through the [holiday] season with your budget and your sanity intact,” according to the website. even has a page for regifting parties, in which each guest brings one rewrapped gift for an exchange which takes place by drawn lots. The person who draws the lowest number chooses a gift to unwrap. The next lowest number can either take that gift or choose a new one. Each person after can choose to take an already opened gift or open a new one.
This is similar to the white elephant party, which, according to the Gifting Resource Center, is another type of party created for the purpose of exchanging “impractical” gifts, most of which are also regifted. The white elephant party, however, does not have the element of taking gifts which someone has already opened.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 79 percent of people who responded to a survey by American Express said that it was acceptable to regift during the holiday season. Also, in a study conducted by, women are 50 percent more likely to regift than men.
A number of people fear regifting an item because of the possibility that the original giver might be upset. The Wall Street Journal says that it could be because regifters believe that the original gift givers’ opinions on how their gifts are used should be taken into account.
However, a recent study by the journal Psychological Science states that the person who gave the gift is “less likely to be offended than the regifter expects,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Regifting, has become more and more acceptable over the last few years. If done right, it can be heartfelt.
Regifting, has become more and more acceptable over the last few years. If done right, it can be heartfelt.

Despite the findings of that study, others believe that there are situations when it is inappropriate to regift. In the opinion of the Gifting Resource Center, one of the most important rules of regifting is that the feelings of the original giver must not be offended. For example, the original giver should not be at a white elephant party and witness his or her gift being given away as a white elephant.
Matt Brownell of Daily Finance says that if the giver of the gift and the recipient of the regift move in the same social circle, it is a bad idea to regift. He calls it a “‘Seinfeld’ scenario.”
But the Gifting Resource Center states that regifting can be considered acceptable at any time depending on the feelings of the giver. If you are going to regift, says that you should never give away handmade items, signed books, or monogrammed items, and Brownell insists that the item should be unopened and rewrapped for the new recipient.
“It all depends on your motivations,” said Erin Peddicord, a senior at York College. “I truly feel regifting is only appropriate if you know it would be appreciated more by the friend or relative you intend to give it to.”
Items which are regifted should be appropriate to their new owner. That is the most important rule of regifting, according to the Gifting Resource Center. Regifting is not just about getting rid of things that you find undesirable. says, “Don’t just give a gift to give a gift.”