“Regifting” is the act of taking an unwanted present and giving it to somebody else; usually in the guise of a new gift that you purchased yourself. The advantages of regifting are numerous — it saves money, requires zero thought or effort and your house gets cleared of clutter in the process. If you get caught though, the consequences can be pretty dire. Here are five tips to help you avoid detection.
Ensure it’s in decent nick
Maintain at least six degrees of separation
The above Seinfeld clip ably demonstrates how easily a regifter can become tangled in their own web of lies. It’s imperative that the original gift-giver has minimal contact with your intended recipient. This means you can’t regift something to a mutual friend or family member. The risk of discovery simply isn’t worth it.
Beware of expiry dates
If you’re regifting food or drink, pay particular attention to the expiry date. It’s not good enough to simply be “in date” — it needs to have a good few months left, otherwise the short lifespan will seem suspicious. The same goes for (re)gift cards.
Research wine before you regift it
If you’ve received an unwanted bottle of wine from a friend or work client, do some research before you palm it off to somebody else. The more you can convincingly crap on about the palate and tasting notes, the more it will appear like a gift that you purchased yourself. (Plus, there’s a chance it could be cheap rubbish, in which case you probably don’t want to regift it.)
Carefully check books for inscriptions/annotations
This one tripped me up a couple of years ago. On Christmas morning, I realised I was one present short for a particular family member. On the spur of the moment, I decided to regift a coffee table book that I’d received at a media event a few weeks earlier. This turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
The inside cover contained a huge handwritten message wishing me a merry Christmas. The bemused recipient discovered this in front of my entire family as he appreciatively flicked through the pages. He pretended not to notice, which made me feel even worse. The moral of the story is that you should ALWAYS check books for inscriptions and annotations before regifting.
Or, y’know, don’t regift in the first place.