Passing it On: Questions to Ask Yourself before Re-gifting

No matter the occasion, receiving a gift always warms the heart. Most gifts may be something you’ve always wanted to have.

However, despite the good intentions of your loved ones, you may receive a gift that you don’t have much use for. It’s a common mistake on the part of the giver – and you’re probably guilty of that error at one time, too.  A study by the Association for Psychological Science (APS) found that people often buy a present for its surprise factor instead of its practicality. And when you receive that kind of gift, sometimes with a polite smile, you assume it’s rude to re-gift it to someone else who has use for it. 

Is it Okay to Re-gift?

This predicament is something you – and everyone else – might have pondered on at least once during your birthday or the holidays. You’ll be surprised to learn that most givers are fine with seeing their gifts given away to someone else, another APS paper discovered. The paper documented the “re-gifting taboo” through five different studies, which explored the following:

  • Re-gifting gift cards
  • To re-gift or destroy
  • Re-gifting among friends, and
  • How people would react to a “national re-gifting day” event

Ultimately, the experiments found that receivers often overestimate the offensiveness of re-gifting out of guilt. Givers, on the other hand, felt that receivers could do whatever they wanted with their present.

Still, if you know that the giver of your gift is a sensitive person who might take offense in what you’re about to do, consider these before re-gifting to avoid hard feelings.

Is It Handmade or Customized?

Even if you don’t really need the handmade flower pot your aunt gave you for Christmas, you may want to hold off giving it away. Your loved one took time out of their day to create a present that’s specifically for you and you alone. You don’t want their hard work to go to waste. If you’re not a fan of gardening, repurpose it into something else, like a centerpiece for your dinner table or a pen holder.  

The same goes for store-bought items. If your loved ones went out of their way to give you custom jewelry or a personalized phone case, the best way you can show your appreciation is by keeping or using them. Besides, the recipient of your re-gifted item might be suspicious when you give them a locket or bracelet with your initials engraved on the jewelry. 

Is It Brand New?

When you receive a gift that you don’t see yourself using, it’s best to keep it in its packaging. This way, the item will remain in mint condition when you do decide to re-gift it. Imagine what your recipient would feel when you give them an item that looks old and used. You will appear insincere.

Alternatively, you can give the gift away without passing it off as an original present from you. Be honest; ask your recipient if they have any use for the item and tell them you want to pass on something given to you.

Should I Donate It?

Are you planning to re-gift items you don’t want, but are not sure who to give them to? Your nearest donation box is always open. Utah is filled with donation drop-off centers like The Road Home, the Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, and the Salvation Army. It’s a win-win situation. Not only are you freeing up space, but you’re also paying it forward. 

With the season of giving fast approaching, a good re-gifting strategy is just as important as a holiday shopping plan. But, as a rule of thumb, it should always be your last resort. Be entirely certain you have no use for the item before you give it away. By considering the above tips, you’ll avoid the awkward moments that come with re-gifting. 

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