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Regifting Etiquette: Arguments For and Against Regifting

It is very common for people to receive gifts that they do not want or need. Although we enjoy receiving gifts, people don’t always know what we want or like. What are you going to do with all those extra kitchen appliances, towels, and white elephants? They are new. It would be so easy to re-wrap them and give them to her niece who is leaving for college this fall. Before you gift, here are a few things to consider.

*Arguments against the return

1. It’s hard

There’s no way to avoid it. If someone gave you a gift but didn’t give you express permission to return or re-gift it, you’re not supposed to. Although many people wouldn’t mind, some consider it bad etiquette.

2. They could be useful

Appliances, towels, and other household items don’t last forever. Before gifting again, ask yourself if you will need the item in the future.

3. It could hurt feelings

How would your giver feel if they knew you gave away what they gave you? What about the person you give it to? Would they be offended by having a second-hand gift? If the answers to these are yes, you may not want to gift again.

*Arguments in favor of giving away

1. The gift is terrible

Maybe you received the same gift ten times. Maybe your aunt gave you her collection of garden gnomes and it hurts your eyes to look at it. Maybe they got a beef jerky machine and they’re vegetarians. There are some freebies you just won’t keep, period. It may be better to give it away than return it or throw it away.

2. Recycling is good

Re-gifting, repurposing, and gifting things you already own are great ways to live lightly on the earth. Often less packaging is used, less carbon is used to transport the gift, and something useful is being saved out of landfills.

3. Simplicity is good

You are in charge of your life and the decisions you make. You know if the benefits of keeping an unnecessary gift outweigh the detriment or not. Often, there won’t be enough space in your home or life to accommodate things you can’t use or like. Don’t hold on to something that makes you uncomfortable just out of guilt.

4. Is it win/win?

Often the gift you can’t use may just be the widget your best friend is dying to have. Giving them the gift means your life is less messy and they receive the gift they had on their hearts. Another positive aspect is that it will also save you money and time searching for a gift.

You will have to weigh the pros and cons of regifting yourself. The main factors to consider are whether the giver will find out and also your own personal feelings about gift giving. If you feel like, if they ever found out that you’ve given their gift away again, your gift would be crushed, you might want to keep it for a while just in case.

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