Holiday regifting: 5 do's and don'ts

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jachamp

What's your policy on regifting? I admit to occasionally regifting bottles of wine or champagne, but that's pretty much where I draw the line. But not everyone agrees. In fact, a majority say regifting is something they'd consider doing, regardless of the item, as long as the recipient would appreciate the present.

A survey by Plum District, a daily deals site that caters to moms, found that 57 percent believe it's OK to regift. As for the regifting culprits? A separate survey by HomeGoods website found that regifting is widely suspected in gift exchanges and swaps among friends and co-workers. 

So what is the etiquette, exactly, of regifting? I spoke with Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of The 18th Edition of Emily Post's Etiquette for some modern-day advice.

1. Do regift "meaningful" items 

Post defines "meaningful" as something cool you would want to buy for someone, but just happen to already own. For example, if you have two new copies of the same hardcover book, it's fine to regift. "But here's the catch -- make sure the recipient likes the genre," says Post. "It needs to be a gift that matches what the receiver would like."

Another example of a meaningful regift is a family heirloom. "For my 30th birthday, my grandmother gave me a beautiful necklace that had been given to me by her mother whom I'm named for," says Post. "It was the perfect way to pass something along."

Bad service: What a white lie really costDeals and bargains: Best things to buy in November

2. Do regift potent potables 

Regifting wine, champagne and other adult beverages is totally allowed. Just make sure that the person you give it to won't be terribly upset if they find out. Also, "don't regift it in front of the same crowd of friends," says Post, just in case the person who initially gave you the bottle is there.

3. Do regift for charity

This time of year you may find that your local church or non-profit is inviting community members to "regift for charity." Gifts may go to the less fortunate or be used in fund-raising events. Just make sure all donations are unused and in their original boxes.

4. Don't regift gift cards 

"There are too many ways this can go wrong...too many stages of trouble," says Post. For one, an old gift card -- even though you haven't used it -- may no longer be worth its face value due to inactivity or dormancy fees. How awkward if your friend goes to redeem the card and it has a strange $22.75 balance.  

5. Don't regift the obvious 

Besides fruitcake, the proverbial blender is probably one of the most regifted items, says Post. Other obvious regifts include things that appear battered or used. Some things you should never regift because it's just too transparent. Anything you received that was handmade, homemade, unique or personalized (other than heirlooms, as discussed above) should never be regifted. Additionally, the regift "needs to be new and in the box as it came from store," says Post.

  • Farnoosh Torabi On Twitter»

    >> View all articles

    Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance journalist and commentator. She is the author of the new book Psych Yourself Rich, Get the Mindset and Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life. Follow her at www.farnoosh.tv and on Twitter at @farnoosh.

Comments

Market Data

Market News

Stock Watchlist