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Recycling Gifts

After holidays or a life celebration (like a birthday or wedding), we’re often confronted by an etiquette question: is it OK to recycle gifts? So here are a few points to consider when tempted to return or re-gift something.

By
Adam Lowe,
January 21, 2008

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After holidays or a life celebration (like a birthday or wedding), we’re often confronted by an etiquette question: is it OK to recycle gifts? So here are a few points to consider when tempted to return or re-gift something.

What Can You Re-Gift?

If the person giving you a gift is very sensitive, has made a big deal about what they have chosen for you, and is likely to come by and check on it, you may need to keep it around.

If it is something someone made for you themselves, you may have to face the fact that you’re stuck with Aunt Bertha’s needlepoint Elvis.

If someone has given you something so horrible you really can’t stand it, you probably should not re-gift it to someone else, unless you know for certain that it is something that person would absolutely love.

If you’ve received a generally useful gift, like some nice olive oil or chocolates, it is OK to re-gift it providing it is not old or spoiled in some way. It’s important to check expiration dates if present, as sometimes gifts may be stuck in cycles of re-gifting.

Tips for Re-Gifting

If you are going to re-gift, make sure to re-wrap the package if necessary (and always unwrap to check on the contents before re-gifting).

When re-gifting, make sure that it is a more appropriate gift for the recipient than it was for you. If you don’t think it’s a great match, then don’t re-gift.

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