Re-Gifting? Avoid These Mistakes

Gift We’ve all gotten a gift we didn’t love. Maybe it’s not your size. Maybe it’s not your style. Maybe you’ve got a gift-giving occasion coming up (are there any of those coming up?) and you’re short a gift, and you’re thinking of paying your gift forward. Literally.

Don’t be shy. A lot of people re-gift—about 1 in 3, according to a Consumer Reports holiday poll. I’ve definitely done it. I once received a really nice wine bottle opener, but I already had one just like it. Ta da—a housewarming gift! Re-gifting isn’t entirely evil, as long as you follow a few basic rules of conduct.

Don’t give:

Anything you can’t find in a store. This applies to that handmade quilt from your great aunt or that decorative plate from a store that went out of business last year.

Anything in its wrapping paper. If you haven’t entirely rewrapped it, there’s no way to know if the gift giver left you a personal note that your recipient will find.

Anything used. Unless you’re in the habit of giving people worn socks or already read books, don’t even consider it.

Anything really, really distinctive. The gift giver probably went to a great deal of trouble to find that one-of-a-kind 15-pronged tea-candle centerpiece. Imagine her consternation when she spies it in the home of a mutual friend.

What’s the best or worst thing you’ve ever re-gifted?