Five Rules: A Guide To Re-Gifting

Perfect the art of re-gifting with these five simple rules

By Lisa Petty
|  Monday, Apr 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:07 AM CDT
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Five Rules: A Guide To Re-Gifting

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A bright, shiny bow can hide a multitude of sins. 

Whether it’s an ancient fruitcake, a book you’ve already read or one of those creepy pairs of socks with rainbow-colored toes, we’ve all re-gifted something, sometime.

Or, if we’re being honest, lots of things, all the time.  Especially to relatives.

So let’s bring this tradition out of the dark, for there’s no shame in re-gifting.  But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.  Follow these five easy rules and you’ll be good to go for the biggest re-giving season of the year.

Five Rules for Re-gifting

1.  Make a Note
Great re-givers know the number one rule of thumb is never, but never, to re-gift anything to the person it came from in the first place.  Might sound elementary, but the unthinkable can happen.  So, when you add that that ceramic bunny-shaped votive holder to your re-gifting stash, be sure and label it carefully (name, date and occasion).

2.  Always Re-wrap
A re-gift can say, “For you, with love.”  Or it can say, “This dusty foil bag’s been sitting in a closet all year.”  ‘Nuff said.

3.  Off-limits
Sometimes the distinction is subtle.  You love the photo, but hate the frame; can you re-gift it?  The answer is yes – but not if the giver be-dazzled the frame herself.   The same rule applies to handmade scarves, gloves and hats, needlepoint pillows and anything involving a monogram.  Personalized and handcrafted gifts are yours to treasure, always.  Even if they’re ugly.

4.  Dead Giveaways
Think long and hard about loose gift cards, popcorn tins, coffee mugs and DVD’s.  Classic red flags, they should be avoided at all costs when it comes to bosses, sisters-in-law and anyone else who might be a frequent re-gifter themselves.  Tread lightly here, friends; the ice is thin.

5.  Escape Clause
Finally, even the best can sometimes get caught.  So what do you do if, despite your best efforts, the big reveal nets a look of confusion or, perhaps even contempt?  Just take a deep breath, repeat the following and hope for the best:  “I loved it so much, I got you one, too!”
 

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