Monday, December 29

Regifting: Are you for or against it?

I know a lot of frugal blogs cover regifting. But I'm curious to hear your point of view. Maybe I'm oversimplifying a rather diverse group, but I tend to think that most frugal folks would be pro-regifting.

The subject came to mind several times in the past month. My mom was worried my feelings might be hurt, but she wanted to give a hoodie to a homeless shelter that was desperately in need of warm clothing. She just wasn't using it much, and she knew the shelter's clients would.

For the record, I say that, once a gift is given, it is out of my hands -- literally and figuratively.

For Tim's birthday, I got him two shirts and a hat from Ecko (hooray for outlet stores!) which he loved. But one of the shirts was the wrong size. When we went to return it, Tim decided he preferred another shirt. He was worried my feelings would be hurt. I told him I'd rather he get the shirt he wants.

And, on Christmas morning, we thanked my mom for her thoughtful gifts. After she finished opening her gifts from us (because, weirdo that she is, she hadn't torn open presents the moment she woke up!), Tim cleared his throat. He told her that, while he very much appreciated the gifts -- especially the thought she put into them -- he could not use one of the shirts. Instead, he wondered if she would mind him giving it to someone else. She really didn't mind.

So I guess I wonder what all the fuss is about. I know some people think it's callous. The argument, I suppose, being that a lot of thought gets put into a present.

I put a lot of thought into gifts, which helps assure that the recipient will want and use the item. But there are times when you simply misread a situation. Perhaps it's a gift card to an expensive, preppy store and you're a Hot Topic gal. Or a set of lotions and soaps that, while lovely, officially fill your cupboards with bath products.

Isn't it better that the person get some use from the item, rather than pretend to love it and then throw it away?

I kept receiving Eddie Bauer gift cards from one aunt. They were generous amounts, so I appreciated the thought. And the cards did allow me to replace my old, ratty backpack. Another time, I got a nice watch. When I had nothing else I needed, I used the card to buy a few small gifts for people on my list: a pedometer, a survival kit for Mom to keep in her car, etc.
In the end, the card did help me, if not quite in the way my aunt had envisioned.

I guess I don't see what the big deal is. Does anyone else?

If there are some ardent anti-regift folks out there, I would love to hear from you, too. I would love to hear from you. Since I really just have my own opinion, I want to know what your guidelines are:

  • Can you not regift/throw out any gifts, or just from people close to you?
  • How long do you have to keep something before discreetly disposing of it?
  • Are some presents okay to give away -- like last-minute, no-thought-in-them gifts -- while others you have to keep forever?
  • Have you had some experience wherein someone truly hurt your feelings with a regift?
  • Has anyone ever tried to regift a present to the original giver?

Labels: ,


Blogger Shtinkykat said...

Uh-oh. Your Photobucket-Pro ads and your post are overlapping and I can't read the left half of your post. I wonder if I should read with a different browser?

December 29, 2008 at 9:40 PM

Blogger Jordan'z Mommie! said...

Well, obviously never regift to the original giver! Or to someone closeby them who they see often, or lives with them, etc. Like if an Aunt gives you a sculpture or knick knack or blanket or pillow-something that would otherwise be kept out in the open-don't regift to your cousin. If I ever regift (which isn't often) I try to make sure it's to someone who doesn't even know the other person! Like my step-grandparents just gave my son a fisher price little people set for x.mas--one that he got in october for his birthday. I have 4 babies in my family who will be 1 in a few months-so one of them will be the lucky re-gift recipient! My son has enough toys (seriously, I feel like I live in a toy store..) so I'd rather gift it to someone else than return it for another danged toy!

December 29, 2008 at 9:53 PM

Blogger Abby said...


Sorry about that. My photobucket account was a tad overloaded. Weird, since I haven't added any pics in a couple of months. But I cleaned it up, and that seems to have helped.

December 30, 2008 at 12:12 AM

Blogger Momma said...

I think that re-gifting is completely acceptable. All of my friends and family are fully aware of my frugal stance. I'd much rather give a good home to something I don't need than throw it away. You're on the right track.

December 30, 2008 at 4:37 AM

Blogger Shtinkykat said...

Thanks! Much better. Ahem... I completely agree that it's much better that someone get something they want, than for them to keep something that they don't want/need out of obligation. So, IMHO, the recipient should be free to do whatever he wants with the gift without any hurt feelings. That being said, the only exception are handmade items - it's tacky and crass to give-away or donate these since these are truly gifts from the heart. I'm relieved that I've never re-gifted to the original giver since I always put a post-it note with the giver's name on items I intend to re-gift! (Jordanz Mom makes a good point about not re-gifting within the same circil of friends or within family members.)

December 30, 2008 at 6:00 AM

Blogger Ms. MoneyChat said...

Although I do not regift often, I definitely believe in the concept. I would have no problem or hesitation regifting, selling the item at a garage sale, donating it, etc.

My Introduction to Regifting:
I remember several years ago when I graduated from college and was moving into my own apt. One of my favorite aunts really wanted to help me out by getting me dishes, towels, and other odds and ends. Since I'd lived with her for 2 months I knew that she had a closet full of unopened dishes in the spare bedroom closet. Not wanting her to spend any money unnecessarily I suggested that she just give me a set that she had not opened(they were everyday dishes and glasses from your local Kmart, Walmart type store...and there were several unopened boxes). She said and I quote, "Oh no, I can't do that. Those dishes were given to me as wedding gifts."

(just so you know, I did not know where she'd gotten those dishes. I would never ask for anyone's wedding gifts ... okay, back to the story).

Okay, some of you can probably understand her hestistation but I was in total shock. 1. At the time of this conversation, she'd been married 5 years and moved 3 times already (so basically she just keeps them packed up).
2. She had sooo many sets. She got married in our small hometown so there was not such thing as a wedding registry. It's almost as if everyone gave them dishes and towels.
3. There is no way she can ever use all of those dishes. She is in a family of 3 people, herself, her husband, and their son.

It's been 9 years since that happened and she still has all of those dishes in the closet of the spare bedroom! So yes, I definitely think it's okay to regift. I personally think it's pretty selfish for someone to give you a gift and with stipulations or with expectations as to what you should or should not do with it. If the gift comes with any of that, is it really a gift? When I receive gifts, I take full ownership of them and I'm pleased to do whatever I want to with them. I wonder how long my aunt is going to hold onto those dishes.

And for those who are against regifting, is there a statue of limitations when it's appropriate to do away with (by whatever method the receiver chooses) the gift?

December 30, 2008 at 6:04 AM

Blogger The J said...

Well, since it's highly evident that no one really gets what it's like to be me - how the heck would I expect them to *know* what I'd want? Especially if they haven't installed spyware and know what sites I keep clicking on wistfully ;). Acknowledging that comes with a flip side - I know I have no clue about other people either. Sure, my mom and I share a knitting passion - but her tastes are different than mine, her day to day is different, and her abilities are different, meaning the yarn, the patterns, the tools she drools over are different than the ones I do.

Regifting, returning, exchanging, I'm all for it. While I might notice something I got for someone if I see it in use, I'm not likely to remember it if it's not there, so I can't even be offended ;).

My problem is in offending other people. I don't know their sentiments. So I usually hang onto something for at least a year before quietly doing away with it - I hate return counters anyway. After that point, I somehow feel that "their" opinion has treaded over into "my" life, and I'm not going to trip over something useless for the rest of my days not to offend someone. How I settled on a year, I don't know!

December 30, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Blogger Maryea said...

I am all for regifting providing the gift is still in "like new" condition and you feel it is something the new recipient can use or enjoy. This year I bought something for myself, realized I'd never use it and gave it to my gd as I am sure she will enjoy it. It was brand new, never out of it's box. To me it's the same as with regifting a gift someone else gives me which I have done at least once.

December 30, 2008 at 9:14 AM

Blogger Abby said...

Wow, thank you all for responding! I'm glad to know I'm not in a minority here.

Excellent idea about only regifting to someone who doesn't know the original giver.

And it's completely true that it's tacky to regift homemade items.

I think my big problem in this is rather like The J's. I have trouble delicately donating/regifting things that I am afraid might be noticed. I'm always afraid of offending people. I don't have a set time limit, though. I just keep it until I can talk myself down from the anxiety that I will somehow be crushing someone's joie de vive by donating an unwanted tin or random item. It's ridiculous, but there it is.

December 30, 2008 at 9:50 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home