Regifting for Christmas? Expert weighs in on the rules.

Nov 14, 2023, 7:00 PM

A graphic illustration of people holding gift boxes and gift bags. If you're trying to save money, ...



SALT LAKE CITY — Inflation dragging your finances down? Looking to save some money this holiday season? Then you should think about regifting. But, know the rules first.

Heather Kelly, producer and host of KSL NewsRadio’s Money Making Sense podcast, joined Dave and Debbie to talk about regifting rules.

According to Take Charge America, these are some rules for regifting:

  1. Never regift to the original gift giver. For example, if a gift was given to you by a family member, regift it to a friend or coworker, rather than someone else in the family.
  2. Make the regift new. Only regift new items in their original packaging. If the packaging (or the gift itself) is dusty, worn used or damaged, it’s a no-go. Take Charge America also recommends adding new batteries if needed.
  3. Certain things should never, ever be regifted, including partially used gift cards, handmade or custom items, anything monogrammed or personalized and free promotional items (because that’s just plain tacky).

Kelly’s take on the regifting rules

Kelly disagrees slightly on the second rule.

“You cannot have used it at all,” she said. “Now it doesn’t necessarily have to be brand new, still in the box, but you shouldn’t have been playing with it, using it, anything like that to regift.”

She added that used items can be donated to thrift stores. Kelly also said it’s OK to regift food as long as it hasn’t expired and has been kept refrigerated. Regifting smaller items within larger items is also OK, she said.

“Sometimes people will send you the great big packages that have several items in there and maybe some you like and some you don’t, but they’re all individually wrapped inside those packages. So you can take out those individual things and make a separate little gift box for somebody else,” Kelly said.

It’s also fine to regift a gift card. Kelly said she was given a gift card to a steakhouse restaurant, but she couldn’t use it because she’s a vegetarian.

“I had an acquaintance give me a $25 gift card to a steakhouse. I am never going to walk into a steakhouse. But it was a perfectly good card. I had a different friend who was a meat lover. And so guess what she got for her birthday,” she said.

Kelly added some gift cards can lose money. In certain circumstances, and depending on the state, businesses may be allowed to impose a fee for inactivity after a certain period. Find out more here.

What if you are called out for regifting?

The etiquette team at Take Charge America says if the cat is out of the regifting bag, own up to it — gracefully.

Say something like: “This gift made me think of you when I first received it, because I knew it was something you’d enjoy, and I wanted you to have it.”

Kelly has similar advice.

“If somebody calls you on it a regifting, just apologize [and] say, ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize this was offensive to you. I couldn’t use it myself. And it’s brand new, and I thought it was something you might enjoy.’

“Just be gracious about being called out and try not to make the other person feel bad, even though that person may be making you feel bad for regifting,” she said.

The last rule of regifting from Take Charge America is . . .

Be a wrap star

This is not the time to skimp on gift wrap. An impressive presentation will make the gift seem extra special. Go for the beautiful wrapping paper or sparkly gift bag.

Add a gift topper — like an ornament, chocolate bar or scratch-off lottery ticket. Lastly, be sure no trace of the original wrapping remains (check inside the box for cards or outdated gift receipts).

Related: Bountiful food pantry in need of turkeys, other items before the Thanksgiving holiday


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Regifting for Christmas? Expert weighs in on the rules.