To Re-Gift or Not To Re-Gift?

If I were to rank my “holiday anxieties” in order from least to most, I’d need at least twelve days and more spiked eggnog than I’m allowed. I love Christmas — but at some point, travel, my massive family, the pressure of picking the perfect gift and helping cook a huge meal put me to sleep faster than any turkey tryptophan ever could. But the hands-down, #1, ultimate thing to make my tummy wobble? The idea of re-gifting. 

It’s hard to explain without feeling like a jerk, but it’s happened to all of us. Presents are being passed around — paper crinkles, bows untie, spirits are soaring, you look inside that box or bag and your heart just…drops? Whatever inside just isn’t…right. It’s not the right size or doesn’t fit with your life or style or interests. Immediately, I feel guilty — I was given a gift! How generous! And how rude of me to feel so ungrateful.

It’s possible to feel grateful for a gift and still know that whatever it is isn’t going to work for you. But what do you do with a gift you can’t use? Bare those teeth, pull it close, insist “I love it” and then let it disappear into the depths of the garage? Besides, you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, and for a brief moment, you have an idea.


Aaaagh! How horrible! you think. NO! I respond. Regifting doesn’t have to be any different than regular gifting — the key, of course, is the thought behind it.

Don’t just throw any old thing anyone’s way. But if your unusable gift is just the right fit for someone else, why not? You also don’t have to give it away immediately, for this holiday. Save it for a birthday or next Christmas. Have a stash of gifts in your pantry for any random white elephant or Secret Santa exchange.

The important question to ask is — do you actually believe the gift would be better suited for someone other than yourself? If your answer’s yes, go for it!

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