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6 rules for regifting Christmas presents

Gifts are great - but sometimes it's a bit of a gamble as to what you might find when you open them. Rather than hurt the gift-giver's feelings, more and more of us are choosing to 'regift' those presents that we know we'll never use. So, what exactly is the etiquette for this? We've scoured the forums to find out what gransnetters do when it comes to the presents whose presence is not, um, required - and picked up some nifty tips along the way.

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1. Don't regift something that nobody wants

There's something about regifting that feels like paying it forward somehow - as long as the gift is a decent one. If it's something no one in their right mind would want to receive (we've all had those), then it's probably best to take it on a one-way trip to the charity shop in the new year. However, if it's a nice present that's simply not to your taste, or suitable for you to use, then regift it.

"In the hampers I made for adult children this year were bottles of balsamic vinegar, and my son told me the one in his hamper was 'regifted' to make up an extra gift from him for his fiancée's mum (he's quite broke). I rather like the idea of regifting rather than exchanging."  

"Frankly, we all get presents that we don't want, even from our nearest and dearest." 


2. Regifting aside, it's still a gift

Again, if you're regifting something worth receiving, treat it as such and wrap it, put it in a gift bag or festoon it with Christmas ribbons - just as you would (and did) do to the presents you yourself gave at Christmas.

"My dad's birthday was 27 December, and he used to say he didn't mind people giving him their unwanted Christmas presents, as long as they made the effort to re-wrap them. His sister never did." 


3. Don't be too hasty

Think about the item and who gave it to you, the thought that went into choosing it for you. If it's something that the giver put a lot of effort into (something handmade and hideous, for example), you might just want to make sure you wear it at least once or twice in front of them as to not hurt feelings. Sometimes, economical as regifting may be, it's just not worth it if you risk causing offence. Or if you must get rid of things given by close family and friends, keep some token of it, like this gransnetter:

"Many of the presents I received will either be regifted or go to a charity shop, but what I'll keep and treasure are the gift tags saying 'To dear Annie' or 'Dearest Nana'." 


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4. Choose your recipient wisely

There are those unfortunates who will always, by virtue of having a birthday after Christmas, receive one or two regifted things. If you receive something that you know they'll love, and can regift it without them knowing, then go ahead, but don't be the Scrooge that passes on unwanted presents every single year...

"My birthday is in January, in the post-Christmas/New Year gloomy period, so people either forget or give unwanted presents or sales goods." 


5. Regifters, take note

Quite literally, take note of who gave you what, and when you received it - because if a thing's worth doing, then it's worth doing properly.

"My grandmother had it down to a fine art. She was a minimalist by nature and had little spare cash. Most presents were received with gracious thanks, then stowed away in a cupboard dated with the name of the sender. They could then be 'regifted' and few people ever caught on." 


6. Don't get caught out

For the sake of peace, please, please only regift outside your family circle (or close friends). These things have a habit of coming back to bite us in the proverbial, and watching someone's face fall when they realise they've just received the carefully selected present they gave two years back is not our idea of fun.

"My mother-in-law has just given me a basket of bath toiletries for Christmas. It's the exact same one I gave her two years ago! I hunted high and low for this for her and I hate the fragrance. I know it's the one I bought because I put a sticker over the spot where the price tag was! Choice a) into the bin, or choice b) regift it back next year." 

"Moral: only buy presents you would like to receive yourself - you probably will!" 

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