How to: Successfully Re-Gift

There’s no word like “re-gift” to make people cringe on the outside and nod on the inside.  However, I’m a firm believer that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – and if we really didn’t believe that clothes, shoes, and anything gift-able wasn’t intended to have more than one life, then we wouldn’t have thrift stores or play white elephant. But we do, and so the question is not whether or why– it’s how.  How do you successfully re-gift?

How to Regift


1. The number one rule of the re-gift is to first and always consider the “catch.”  That is, it won’t matter how cool the re-gift is if either person (the recipient or the originator) find out.  So, when you are picking the item and recipient, always brainstorm possible ways that you could get caught (do these people know each other? Have friends in common?)

2. The possibility of getting caught diminishes with the life-span of the gift.  If it’s food, drink, or something that will disappear, then the ability to become a re-gift is high.  Even more so if it’s a generic item or brand, anything that is easy to come by and the opposite of unique has high potential for being a successful re-gift.

3. It’s all in the presentation.  Nothing is more distracting and masking than a gift in a festive bag dressed in ribbon, a crisply wrapped holiday box, or even more fun – a present in a basket nestled between a bag of biscotti, chocolate, or some other cupboard treat.

Most things can assume a second life as a re-gift.  The key is to make sure it’s enjoyable (can we please stop passing around that lotion-soap set??) and that it’s not markably from last year (nothing says re-gift like last year’s desk calendar).

Be smart, be thrifty, and good luck!

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