As the holiday season wraps up, we must take inventory of everything we unwrapped. Not everyone sticks to the list of pre-approved items when shopping for family and friends. Some folks get it in their heads that a surprise present means so much more because it’s “from the heart.” More often than not, these are the gifts that don’t serve an obvious purpose in our lives. When we don’t have an immediate use, desire, or space for these kinds of presents we are left with only one option: regifting.

On the one hand of this moral conundrum, there is no reason to deny the gift to someone else in your life. On the other hand, this gift was selected for by someone who wanted you to enjoy it and they might expect to see you with the gift at some point. The fact of the matter is that this gift is unwanted and donating it to another recipient will save time, money, stress, and free up some space that can be used for gifts we do want to keep. However, it takes a certain finesse to regift without getting caught. There are key precautions one must take in order to avoid the shame and embarrassment that accompanies getting caught in the act of regifting.


Lead Your Witnesses

Take inventory of those present when the gift is given to you originally. If they know the person who gave you the gift or the person you are giving the gift to, and especially if they are present when the gift is being given to the new owner, you have to have an excuse on hand explaining why you aren’t keeping it. You can say it didn’t fit, you own something so similar already it felt silly to own both, or whatever makes sense for that specific item. Be sure to offer this excuse BEFORE the public opening; if your witnesses react in any way, or god forbid they ask if they have seen it before, the game is over.



It is tempting to get rid of unwanted presents as soon as possible, but restrain yourself. First of all, people are far less likely to suspect sketchy holiday regifting in July, so substitute the unwanted Christmas gift for a summer birthday present. Second of all, your guilt about not liking the present will fade over time and you will be less likely to show signs of anxiety while they open and react to the gift.



Choose Wisely

The item you are regifting did not make sense in your life, so there is a very good chance it will be just as unappreciated by your friends. A great way to get caught regifting is to give this thing that you hated to someone who knows your taste, has similar taste, and can tell that this present is nothing more than you relieving yourself of a burden. Take the time to assess the person you are considering unloading the gift onto; if the gift is not appropriate for that specific person, no one is going to buy it. For instance, it makes zero sense to give your great uncle a pair of unwanted women’s clogs.


Don’t Use Original Packaging

The first thing people do before opening a present is check who gave it to them. If you leave the unwanted item in its original gift bag, there is a good chance that the tag on the bag still says “To (insert your name), From (insert highly insulted gift-giver’s name.)” There is no way to recover from this mistake; put the present in a new gift bag or wrap it in fresh, never before seen wrapping paper.



No Free Samples

You cannot take the gift for a test drive before you give it to someone else. If you receive a sweater that you are unsure about, it is not OK to wear it a few times so you can make up your mind. Even if you wash clothing afterwards, it could suffer irreversible stains, thread pulls, or stretch marks. Leaving the tags on can’t save you after damage is detected to an article of clothing; it’s clear you tried it out and decided it was unworthy of closet space.


Do Your Research

Ensure that the person who gave you the present is not regifting themselves. Ask questions about where they got the present, why they picked it out for you specifically, and note if they struggle to come up with answers. Find out if they went shopping with someone else and talk to that person as well to see if they can provide the origin of the gift. If their stories don’t match up, you are the recipient of a regifted present. This means that regifting the present to someone within your close group of family and friends is too high a risk; you could end up giving the gift back to the person who originally bought it-exposing all of you as regifters. If you can’t definitively determine that the gift is authentic, the only way that you can regift it is to give it to someone who is involved in one specific area of your life, like a co-worker, who doesn’t interact with anyone else in your life.