9 Clever Tips for Regifting (Without Getting Caught)

Yes, it's risky to recycle your unused gifts as presents for others—but our regifting guidelines can help you pull it off with no hurt feelings.

Regifting is a great way to reuse and recycle a gift that's not quite to your taste, but someone else might love. Even the etiquette experts do it! Elaine Swann of the Swann School of Protocol has a 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, here's how to make sure you do it right.

01 of 09

Inspect it thoroughly.

Make sure 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 original gift giver.

02 of 09

Make sure the gift suits the new recipient.

That scented candle isn't an appropriate gift for your aunt if she's hyper-sensitive to scents, so make sure the regifted present is something they'll truly 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.

When you receive a gift destined for regifting, tag it with a sticky note identifying 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 else who may have seen you open it. (Just don't forget to remove that sticky note before rewrapping!)

04 of 09

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.

05 of 09

Repackage unused gift cards.

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

06 of 09

Don't rush it.

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

07 of 09

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, or a journal) as part of a personalized gift basket.

08 of 09

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." If you prefer to 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."

09 of 09

Keep your relationships in mind.

Especially with gifts from 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're not your taste. It may be worth skipping the regifting to keep the peace.

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