The question is simple. Is it okay to regift Christmas presents? The answer is delicate and requires a certain amount of honesty and finesse.

You are working hard at sizing down your life and collecting less “stuff.” You’re trying to save money and pay down debt both. In the fury of Christmas shopping you see an unopened wine corkscrew set. Is it okay to dust off the box, wrap it in your favorite “fish wrap”, and give it away to someone else? ABSOLUTELY! However, before you go rewrapping the set and potentially giving it to your girlfriends sister who was sitting in the Christmas circle when your girlfriend’s mom gave it to you last year, be sure to pay attention to these following rules of engagement for Christmas Re-Gifting!

Nashville regifting thumb

1. The gift should make sense.

There is no doubt that Re-Gifting is a great way to save money and reduce personal clutter. However, don’t just Re-Gift something for the sake of Re-Gifting it. You would no more give a Washington Redskins jersey to a Dallas Cowboys fan than you would a small, plug in chainsaw to your brother who lives in a 4th story walk-up in lower Manhattan.

2. Take off the nametag.

No one likes to be mistaken for someone else. Why should Christmas be any different? Remember to take off the gifttag on Re-Gifts. The last thing you want is to give a 007 DVD gift box to your best buddy only to have him read a tag that says: “To: Drew. From: Your loving wife!”


3. Don’t regift meaningful gifts.

If your momma gives you a hand carved biscuit bowl that belonged to her grandmother then you should not, under any circumstances, Re-Gift that bowl. You may not make biscuits. You may not know anyone that does and you may prefer BoJangles biscuits anyway. But don’t Re-Gift the item unless you want your grandmother – in her work dress and apron – to rise up like Lazarus and whip you! If you truly don’t want it find a better way to pass it on.

4. Beware of the regift that keeps on regiving.

A ‘Billy Bass’ was never and will never be a good Christmas gift. It was a novelty at best and no one really wants it hanging anywhere in there house. Assume that ‘ol Billy has been Re-Gifted to you in the first place. That means you shouldn’t Re-Gift it. As advanced math would have it you are always only one Re-Gift away from Re-Gifting the gift back to the original giver. Got that? Give back this Christmas, yes. But not in that way!

5. Give in a timely fashion.

Fruitcake does expire. You know this, right? So do girl scout cookies and Pepperidge Farm beef sticks, etc. But even if you aren’t Re-Gifting an edible gift there is an expiration date on relevancy. Styles change. Versions change. Don’t be caught wondering why your sister is looking puzzled when she opens the Re-Gift of a Motley Crue cassette tape still in the cellophane wrapping.

BONUS. Be honest.

So what if you get caught. It may be a tad embarrassing at first. But ultimately if you tell the truth most folks will understand. When you get that Mr. Coffee frother and you Re-Gift it there is a chance someone remembers you talking about it. Just fess up. Let the person you just Re-Gifted to know that while you really don’t have a use for it you thought they would really appreciate it and there was no sense in wasting a perfectly good frother. Chances are they’ll be really siked to be on their way to being an amateur barista that they’ll hardly care!

Do you Re-Gift? Why or why not? What the worst present you ever received that you knew just HAD to be a Re-Gift?


Editor’s Note: This blog post is inspired by the Dave Ramsey blog.