To Re-gift or Not to Re-gift



I don’t know about you but I’ve gotten some pretty hideous gifts over the years. And from perfectly normal people. In fact, some of these gifts were so astounding that I actually saw colored spots dancing before my eyes when I opened them.

I have a bunch of chums who’ve been pals for many years – and every year they travel to Big Bear for skiing and Christmas cheer. One year, one member of this group got a horrible black and gold bowling shirt for Christmas from his mom. He promptly re-boxed it, crossed his name out on the gift tag and wrote in a friend’s name in its place. This got such a big and funny reaction they’ve been doing it every since. Now the game is to guess who is getting ‘the shirt’ this year. It’s like the magic McGuffin now. Just an example of how a bad gift can make for good cheer.

My worst gift came from…well I can’t tell you that but my gawd was it terrible. Imagine lime green and navy together with matching earrings. The idea of re-gifting never entered my mind so I wore it (with the earrings) and thanked the giver profusely. After a couple of wearings though I stuck it in a drawer and now have no idea what its ultimate fate was.

Then there are other gifts. The ones you get from co-workers or new friends or not-so-close friends or distant relatives who either don’t know you, are just trying to be nice or had something had in their closet which they thrust at you when you unexpectedly appeared about their holiday party. These are the nice but useless gifts, candles,  potpourri, Christmas mugs you can’t actually drink out of, food boxes from place like Hickory Farms, gift certificates for places you don’t shop at, hand-made Christmas ornaments or other crafty things like oranges plugged with cloves and tied with bows. The things you put in a drawer or the closet when you come home and forget about until you have a gift emergency and have to pull something from your stash.

But I have to wonder – do these items ever find a place to land? Are they destined to just cycle and recycle from one holiday season to the next? Do they ever find any real lasting love? Somebody paid money for them – somebody sold them – surely someone in the world likes these things? Surely somebody in the world would want to have them. Right?

We can only hope that these unloved gifts do finally connect with the family who will love and use them. Even that nasty fruit cake that Aunt Phoebe sent.

What about you? Do you re-gift or just pitch it?

I gotta go, I think this year is the year I get ‘the shirt.’ And I need to practice my surprised but delighted look. 😉


13 thoughts on “To Re-gift or Not to Re-gift

  1. i have recieved my share of bad/unusable gifts. it really depends on the gift though if it should be re-gifted or not. would i re-gift a chia pet? NO! LOL
    i have gotten like nice makeup bags and purses that just aren’t my style, designer ones, and i have re-gifted those. other stuff like clothes or candles, i will say to a friend, “hey i got this and will never use it but i know you would. would you like to have it?” at least then i’m honest about it, and if someone will get good use out of it then it has served it’s purpose!
    have a good one! 🙂

    Now re-gifting a chia pet could be interesting. There’s a guy named Rodney at work…that’s right up his alley. LOL.

    But yeah, I’m like you I pass things onto friends that I think they might like and have a use for as well.


  2. I have actually re-gifted out of need more than anything else. When the kids were little and money was tight….sometimes even re-gifted something I really liked and would have preferred to have kept for myself! I think that makes up for the times it was something less desirable! LOL Fortunately these days, its a re-gift if its something that is totally out of the question……like the remote control cars that the mother in law KEEPS insisting on buying my grown sons! they haven’t played with a remote control car since they were 10! We told them, just put it away and when your brother has kids, you can give them to his kids! LOL…The gift of teaching our children the art of re-gifting!

    LOL! I had to laugh about the gifts from Grandma – it’s funny how Grandma’s seem to do things like that. Maybe they just prefer to keep the grandkids young?


  3. I have re-gifted, but it was among friends and we already knew that each other were re-gifting some items for the others. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with re-gifting as long as it hasn’t been used or hideous. But a candle or a gift certificate that you have when your money is tight and you can pass it on, than why not…

    On the flip side…I have a BEEF…people are always making faces about “home-made” gifts…I think when a person takes “time” to make you an ornament or “whatever” I treasure those gifts, because they took time during a stressful and busy holiday to make me something and i see nothing wrong with it, people sort of forget the meaning of X-Mas sometimes and feel that the only Good Gifts are the expensive ones…..that’s all I wanted to say.

    Peace & Merry X-Mas

    Yeah, that would upset me too. I’ve seen your stuff and it’s awesome. Especially your scrap booking. You should open your own shop.


  4. Actually FC…I resent the fact that with working and life in general, I don’t have the time to do the homemade goodies like I use to when the boys were little! I LOVED pouring my heart into making things…whether it be a craft project or a fruit basket/gift basket or a tray of homemade cookies & candies. It was so much fun and I could generally get the kids involved in it too!

    Yeah, I wish I had more time to do crafty things – especially this time of year. It’s fun!


  5. I’m not into regifting, but I have learned the world’s worst Christmas gifts make for wonderful white elephant gifts. I save the very worst thing I’m given during the holidays (one year, it was a very ugly, cheep, plastic dancing hula doll that played tinny sounding Hawaiin music) and then I already have a white elephant gift for next year.

    It works great, because I’m able to get the weird thing off my hands, it provides a good laugh, and then someone else has to deal with it. 😀

    Oooh, great idea. i usually just take mine to the thrift store.


  6. I hate to say it but my dad is usually the worst. One year it was a fake aquarium light with floating moving fish. Although I do have to say he has got it right on occassion! Suitcase, some beach chairs, even an esky! Heres hoping it’s a good year this year!
    I don’t regift, and no-one would ever know if they gave me what I considered a dodgy gift…..
    LMAO at the magic mcguffin! We going to see pics if it’s your turn this year?

    LOL – I bet that fake aquarium floaty/moving fish thing went over great! In fact, I know somebody who might really like it. hehe

    Pics? ah…er….well I’m kind of camera shy – but I guess we’ll see.



  7. Unless I know someone else would like the gift that I don’t like, I would never consider recycling a gift I didn’t like. As of the moment though, I’ve never re-gift-ed anything.

    As a general rule, when buying gifts, I give it a lot of thought. I make sure that the gift I give is either useful or something the person I’m giving it to would like. If I can’t find the perfect gift, then I’d settle with a gift check. It’s a selfish act, really, because I love looking at people’s faces when they open up the “perfect” gift. 🙂

    I have the same lust for the perfect gift to give too. I think I get much more joy out of that than getting anything – although it’s nice to get a gift or two. Aside from the silly shirt and a couple of gag gifts, I’m not much of a re-gifter either.


  8. or something to hold up for comparison….ya know, for those times when you think, well at least I know SOMEONE whos MY age!

    just joking….cause you know I ‘miss’ you terribly…feeling alittle melancholy 😦

    Oh, I’ll send you a pic (secretly – shhh, don’t tell anyone) if you really want one. I miss you too honey. I’m just having the week from hell – that’s all. But as they say, ‘this too shall pass.’ Keep your fingers crossed for me.


  9. I’ll think of your while I’m having a miserable week this week too!…And I’ll also be quietly hoping that my oldest DOES take that job in LA……yeah, I’m a selfish Mom!

    we need to IM sometime this week. email me, kay?


  10. Thinking about all those poor, unwanted gifts floating around with no place to land reminds me of The Island of Misfit Toys on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Maybe those unused, unloved fake aquariums end up on a snowy island ruled by a flying lion waited on by a polka-dotted stuffed elephant footman. 😉 I don’t know if I’ve regifted or not … I usually do what Kelsey does … save the hideous gifts for a white elephant exchange in the future. Although a few months ago I was at a local thrift store and they had actual white elephant figurines for sale (I bought a bunch of them so now I have a REAL white elephant gift for those future gift exchanges).


    Debi, I love that whole image of the island of misfit toys. I may have to use that somewhere. Great find on all the actual white elephants, I love it when stuff like that happens. Must be the lustful bargain hunter in me.


  11. I’m thinking the ‘Island of misfit toys’ for bad clothing.
    I’ve gotten a few stinkers as well but this one topped the proverbial fruitcake. Ready?
    I got a small woman’s sweater. This thing would just about fit a small dog. It was all sparkly and fuzzy.
    It was something Liberace would wear.
    My wife was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. I just looked, in awe, and said, ‘Niiiiice.’
    And yeah, there’s a story that goes along with it. But that’s for another time…

    ROTFLMAO!!!! You better be telling me that story soon! What a good good belly laugh you gave me this morning!


  12. I once received a bargain basket christmas gift. It included one of those contraptions that make bloomin’ onions and a coin sorter. I wish I would have regifted them but since I am such a sweet guy, I just left them in junk drawers around the house.

    I’ll raise you that and add a salad spinner, chia pet, and animal slippers. 😉


  13. Aw, man! What’s with the dissing of chia pets??! I love chia pets! All the kids in my family got them from us last year. Then again, they all understand my sense of humor 😉 Non stop giggles with my girls spreading the seeds so the heads would grow nose hair and ear hair.

    I might be able to top the salad spinner and the coin sorter though. How about a gift that still had the garage sale tag attached? I don’t mind if you found it at a garage sale but, at least, take the tag off!

    I don’t have one that tops the fancy sweater yet Michael. I think that needs to start making the rounds like WC’s shirt!

    KToo, what a great idea for michael’s sweater…wonder if he still has it? I’d better behave though cuz it could end up under my tree lol. Never thought of Chia’s as good gag gifts for kids – what a positively brilliant idea!

    Oh yeah, nothing like a ‘vintage gift’ that still has the garage sale tag on it. That definitely belongs on that island debi was talking about.


Comments are closed.