The Art of Re-Gifting


According to Money Management International’s top five list of re-gifts, the Statue of Liberty was actually designed by a French sculptor to stand at the entrance of the Suez Canal in Egypt.   However, when funding fell through, the French later passed Lady Liberty on to America … and thus, she was a re-gift!

Although the idea of re-gifting may seem cheap or even taboo to some, most people have come to accept the practice.   The key to successful re-gifting is to keep the following guidelines in mind:

1.  The item should be in excellent, if not new, condition.   This is not your opportunity to clean out your closet, cupboards or garage of miscellaneous items that you’ve used and no longer want!

2.  The gift should be a good match to the individual you are presenting it to.   Is it something you might otherwise have purchased for him or an item she might have bought for herself?  Ask yourself if the recipient will enjoy, appreciate and use the gift; if no, then choose something else.

3.  Remove the evidence!   Completely rewrap the present in fresh tissue, paper and ribbon, checking to make sure that the card from the original giver did not slip down inside the box. 

4.  Be mindful of where the item originally came from and re-gift it in a different social circle.  If necessary, make note of any gifts you know you will not be keeping — what is the item, when you received it, and who gave it to you.   You do not want to have to explain to a dear aunt why the lovely platter she gave you with three howling wolves on it ended up at your young cousin’s home one year later.

5.  Instead of re-gifting items that you know you will never use, like that bottle of cologne, a stale fruitcake, or itchy sweater, give the gift to charity (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!) or make use of the waste basket.   Sometimes things do have a way of coming back to haunt you!

There are certain times it is appropriate to tell the recipient that the item is a re-gift.   Passing along a grandmother’s heirloom china, an uncle’s treasured watch, or a mentor’s favorite pen are examples of items that have meaning to both the giver and the receiver.   Sharing the history of the present will make it mean that much more.



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