Many people seek advice on regifting etiquette, especially when the Christmas shopping season arrives. The simple question is, is it appropriate to re-wrap an unwanted gift and present it to a friend or relative as if it were "new?" The answer is not so simple but generally, it is okay if done properly.
It is of utmost importance to consider the feelings of the recipient and your reason for the regift or "recycle". Of course, two major benefits of regifting is saving money and getting rid of an item you do not wish to utilize. However, re-gifting solely for those reasons is tacky. You need to bear in mind the benefits of the recipient as well as your own motives.
The Right Fit
The gift should be a good match. It's very inconsiderate to pass off an undesirable gift on to someone who you know will not appreciate it. Some regifts are obvious, others can be pulled off with ease. If you're only looking to unload something, you'll appear cheap and it may come back to haunt you. The idea of gift-giving is generosity, so be sure the "giftee" will be happy with gift.
Regifting should not become habit or your secret will most likely be discovered. If you continuously pass on inappropriate gifts to the same recipient, resentment may follow and you may suffer embarrassment down the road when you're given a ten-year-old fruitcake in return.
Some gifts are personal and should not be regifted. Handmade or custom items are thoughtful gifts, but only for those intended. Those receiving a used, second-hand item for Christmas or their birthday will appreciate it just as much as you would. Before you repackage, empathize. Likewise, be sure to remove any previous note cards and never re-give a gift back to the source.
Out With the Old
Other gifts need to be retired. Forever. Instead of re-giving the scented candle that has long lost it's scent, burn it and be done with it. The stale fruitcake can go right into the garbage or be utilized as a paperweight or door stop. The dreaded, itchy, ugly sweater should go to your local Goodwill instead of a box and bow, retiring the tackiness once and for all.
Finally, to avoid being the victim of a bad re-gift, make a Christmas list and when asked what you want for the holidays, give out your ideas freely. This reduces the chance of receiving a secondhand present that was rejected time and time again.
Keep in mind that some people are going to regift to you, without thought as to whether or not you'll be pleased. If that's the case, be gracious when you receive your gift and reciprocate accordingly. Perhaps that is the only way to get your message across to cheapskates who deserve the same treatment.