9 Clever Tips for Regifting (Without Getting Caught)

Got some holiday gifts you're never going to use? Yes, it's risky to recycle them as presents for others—but these regifting guidelines can help you pull it off without hurting anyone's feelings.

Regifting can be a great way to reuse and recycle a gift that's not quite to your taste, but you think someone else might love. And in fact, even the etiquette experts do it—Elaine Swann of Swann School of Protocol has a whole closet full of gifts ready for sharing with someone else. "I only include things that are very nice, brand new, and very useful for someone else," she says.

If you're thinking of regifting a gift you received, here's how to make sure you do it right.

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Inspect it thoroughly

Make sure that the packaging is in good shape, and the gift is intact. And double check that your gift giver didn't put something special inside the box—you don't want to end up giving away a purse or jewelry box with a sentimental note inside from the gift giver.

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Make sure the gift suits the new recipient

That scented candle isn't going to be a great gift for your aunt if she's allergic to scents. So make sure that the regifted present will truly be something that they'll enjoy. "Gift from their perspective," Swann says. "Think about their life, their interests, what's meaningful for them, and what they might enjoy."

03 of 09

Label the gift you want to unload

Tag the gift with a sticky note that has the name of the person who gave it to you. If you opened the package in front of others (say, at a holiday party), include the names of everyone else at that event too. This way, you'll avoid regifting the item to the gift giver or anyone who may have seen you open it. (Just don't forget to remove the sticky note before rewrapping!)

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Gift in a different social circle

For added insurance, avoid regifting to anyone who knows the original gift giver. It's the best way to stay in the clear.

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Repackage unused gift cards

If the "To/From" portion on the cardboard packaging is filled out, remove the gift card and use glue dots to adhere it to the inside of a new card.

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Don't rush it

As long as the gift doesn't have any sort of expiration date, it's best to hold on to it for at least six months or so before regifting. That way, even if you do trip up, the recipient may not notice.

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Disguise it in a gift basket

It's easy to pass off smaller items as fresh gifts when they're grouped together with a few other trinkets (like a candle, teas, a journal) as part of a personalized gift basket.

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Prepare for a regifting fail, just in case

If you get caught in the act, you can escape awkwardness with a crafty line like, "I loved this product so much that it's become my go-to gift to give." Prefer to take the honest route? Try a straightforward response: "Someone gave this to me, but I thought it would work better for you. If it's not right, I'm happy to take it back and get you something else."

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Keep your relationships in mind, too

Especially with gifts very close relatives, you may be expected to keep (and use) them—your mom may expect to see the kids dressed in the outfits she gave them, even if they aren't your taste. It may be worth skipping the regifting to keep the peace.

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