First, Say Thank You
Even if the original gift-giver missed his mark, it's still the thought that counts. Be gracious, send a thank you note, and keep in mind that even those with the best intentions occasionally resort to unimaginative or what-was-she-thinking gifts. If you know you'd like to exchange the gift, you can casually ask where it was purchased. (Many stores will accept returns without a receipt; check their policy first). If you receive a gift card to a store you never visit, log onto a site like Card Pool to get a percentage of its face value.
Stay Organized With Sticky Notes
Mark each present you plan to regift with a sticky note stating who gave it to you and for what occasion. When it comes time to find a new recipient for your castaway, choose someone outside of the original gifter's social circle. That way, there's a smaller chance of them stumbling upon their gift to you in someone else's home.
Don't Give Away Meaningful Gifts
Family heirlooms, handmade gifts, and anything else a relative or best friend might ask you to wear or show off in the future (an expensive piece of jewelry from grandma, or a scarf your friend might ask to borrow), are all off limits for regifting. Before making a decision, consider how you would feel about a particular gift if you found out it had been given away.
Ask If the Gift Makes Sense to Give
Never regift presents just to get rid of them. Only use an item that is in great condition and worth owning, but just wasn't for you. Think: clothing that isn't your style, but would look terrific on a friend, or a kitchen appliance you already have, but know your aunt has been hoping for.
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Make It Unique
Creatively re-package your regift to make it more special. For example, if you're gifting a coffee-table cookbook, include a nice piece of kitchenware to go with it. Or if you've got one too many crystal picture frames lying around after your wedding, add a photo of your best friend to one, and wrap it with a thoughtful note. Always unwrap the gift completely (stopping short of the store's packaging), and re-wrap it in a way that aligns with the new occasion.
Scour It for Signs of Previous Ownership
Check and double-check your regift for anything that might give it away. Your gift should be in pristine condition and look as though it's come straight from the store. Make sure there are no hidden notes, engravings, monograms, or pieces of wrapping paper attached. Also check for tags, receipts, or anything else that might be hidden inside its packaging.
Throw a Regifting Party!
Take the stigma away from recycling presents with a regifting party. According to Regiftable.com, this idea is similar to a White Elephant Gift Exchange or Yankee Swap. Here are the rules:
- Each guest brings one wrapped gift (it's important that they're all regifts. No first-time gifts allowed!)
- Guests draw a number.
- The guest with the lowest number chooses a regift and opens it in front of everyone.
- The person with the next lowest number can either take the opened gift or choose a different wrapped gift. If they select a new gift, they too open it for all to see.
- This goes on until each person has either unwrapped a new gift, or taken any of the regifts already opened.
- If a gift is taken from someone, that person immediately chooses a new gift to open, or they can take someone else's already opened gift.
- When all the regifts have been opened, the person with the lowest number gets to trade with anyone or keep the rejected regift they ended up with.
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