The art of regifting: how to do it gracefully and responsibly

the art of regifting FI

Finally, the holidays have ended, leaving us with wonderful memories. The carols, food, chilly weather, and gifts make it a time we eagerly anticipate. As we come down from the season’s excitement, we start to use the gifts we’ve received. But what about those gifts we don’t really want? What should we do with them?

Gift-giving is a thoughtful and joyous tradition, but let’s face it – we’ve all received a gift at some point that doesn’t quite align with our tastes or needs. While the intention behind the gift is appreciated, the question arises: What do you do with a present that doesn’t quite resonate with you?

We’re entering the controversial territory of regifting—passing along an unwanted gift to someone else. When done with consideration and tact, regifting can be eco-friendly and practical. This article will explore the delicate art of regifting and how to do it gracefully and responsibly.

Understanding the stigma

Regifting has, in the past, carried a certain stigma, with some viewing it as a thoughtless or impersonal act. Many argue that you should accept a gift simply because thought and effort were put into getting it and gifting it to you. While this argument is valid, it might only be true for some.

Instead of having a gift you may never use and might throw out, finding someone who would value it and use it to its fullest capacity is best. While these reservations and opinions are valid, times are changing, and many now recognise it as a practical and sustainable approach to dealing with unwanted items.

Understanding that regifting can be acceptable is essential. Additionally, it’s important to realise that it can even be a well-appreciated gesture when done thoughtfully and considerately.

How can you regift gracefully?

Regifting can feel like a drag, but don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are the perfect steps to take before you decide to regift.

Choose the Time Wisely

The key to successful regifting lies in selecting the right time to pass the item on. Avoid regifting too soon after receiving the item; assess the recipient’s emotional state and the context of the event. Optimal timing enhances the grace and thoughtfulness of the regifting experience.

Assess Your Intentions

Before considering regifting, reflect on your intentions. Ensure that your decision stems from a desire to find the gift a more suitable home rather than a lack of appreciation. Be mindful of the original giver’s feelings and the potential impact of regifting on your relationship.

Avoid regifting items with sentimental value or personalised touches

If it’s something handmade or given with much thought, you most likely should keep it, if only for the sentimental value.

Focus on regifting generic or versatile gifts that one would appreciate. Unopened and unused items in their original packaging are ideal options for regifting.

Keep Track of Origins

To avoid potentially awkward situations, always keep track of the origin of the gift. Make a note of who gave you the item, when, and for what occasion. This prevents the risk of regifting an item to the original giver or within the same social circle, potentially causing discomfort or embarrassment.

Maintain Quality and Presentation

Before regifting, ensure that the item is in pristine condition. Check for any damage, missing pieces, or signs of wear. Additionally, take the time to repackage the gift thoughtfully, using new wrapping paper, a new box, and a fresh card. This demonstrates care and consideration for the recipient.

Ozgurdonmaz via iStock

Choose the Right Recipient

Consider the tastes and preferences of the person you plan to regift to. The goal is to find a new owner who genuinely appreciates and uses the item. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and refrain from regifting.

Be Honest if Necessary

Sometimes, you have to come clean and be honest. If you have a close relationship with the original giver or the potential recipient, consider expressing gratitude for the gift and explaining that it wasn’t the perfect fit for you. You can also be honest with the recipient, saying that the gift is something you received but thought they would appreciate more.

Donate or Repurpose

If regifting isn’t an option, consider donating the unwanted item to a local charity or repurposing it creatively. This ensures the gift doesn’t go to waste and may benefit someone in need.

Eleganza via iStock

When done gracefully and responsibly, regifting can be a practical and considerate solution to the common dilemma of receiving unwanted gifts. You can navigate the art of regifting with finesse by selecting the right items, maintaining quality and presentation, and being mindful of the recipient. Ultimately, the goal is to show appreciation for the gesture while ensuring the gift finds a home where it will be genuinely valued.


  • Grace Hans-Bello

    In love with all things artsy and beautiful. That, of course, includes the women I write about.

  • Omotola Saba

    Hi, Omotola here, the human form of the 100 Emoji and the fashion and beauty writer at Marie Claire Nigeria. She started writing for fun and merged it with her love for fashion, and beauty. She's mostly at home, picking up yet another new hobby, scrolling through pinterest, laughing with her family or at dad jokes, or sleeping.

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