Re-gifting (with integrity) | The Salvation Army

You are here

Re-gifting (with integrity)

Re-gifting is passing on unwanted items as if they were new.
gift box
Posted January 25, 2012

Make it about others, not you: if you’re wanting to get rid of an item you think is tacky, the new recipient will probably think it’s tacky too. Only re-gift if you genuinely think the person will love it.

Be honest: most advice on re-gifting is about how to disguise the gift as ‘new’. This is a not-entirely-honest tactic, and can backfire if the person finds out. But if you say to them: ‘Hey, this piano-key necktie just isn’t me, but it made me think of you’ (following point number one), they will feel genuinely valued—which makes it a great gift.

Be sensitive to the giver: if you sense the original giver will be hurt by your re-gifting (for example, if the gift is hand-crafted or given with lots of care) then don’t do it. At the right time, you may be able to pass it on. The test is whether you’re willing to be honest about the gift’s fate, if asked.

Make it fun: In the US, where regifting even has a national day (18 December), some people have adopted a ‘white elephant’ game. This is just like Secret Santa, but you give away items you already own but no longer want—a great idea to stow away for this year’s Christmas party.

Done badly, re-gifting can be tainted by a selfish attitude. But done well, it’s a great way of sharing what you have. Be honest about where the gift came from, and let them know you thought they would enjoy it. The chances are that those you re-gift to will feel blessed, and so will you.

By Ingrid Barratt (abridged from War Cry, 28 January 2012, p9)