Serving Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Conn. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire

Archives for August 2015

The Art of Regifting

It’s your birthday! Once again, you have circled around the sun and earned a day that revolves around you! You’re surrounded by family and friends, balloons blowing in the breeze and a flaming, “Atta Girl {Boy}!” cake.  It’s time for gifts! One by one, you open them to find the following:

    • A book – a clone of the one you just finished reading.
    • A barbeque meat thermometer that is a dead ringer for the one you just opened.
    • A cream-colored scarf—which, seeing as your skin tone is decidedly winter, you couldn’t possibly wear!


This places you in a tight spot. The disappointment is stabbing, but there are the feelings of others to consider. As such, you lead everyone to believe that you are thrilled with this thoughtful gift, saying something like the following:

The book: “I ‘ve heard this is a great read!”

The thermometer: “Perfect!  With the amount of grilling I do I can never have too many of these! “

The scarf: “How pretty! Cream is a universal color! It goes with everything!”

If a duplicate or useless gift is from a close friend, it may be appropriate to speak to him. In the case of the thermometer you might say, “Would you mind if I exchange your thermometer for a grille spatula? I could use a new one!”

Once  everyone leaves, you are free to regift. Again, however, you want to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings! Below are a few tips that will allow you to send an unwanted gift to new home and keep your relationships intact:

  • Only regift an item if you are reasonably certain the receiver will enjoy it. Don’t give your barbeque meat thermometer to a vegetarian.
  • Regift soon after receiving the gift. Items tend to show their age.
  • Do not “try out” the gift you intend to regift.
  • Wrap the gift as if it were new. Don’t reuse a rumpled gift bag.
  • Be sure the person who gave you the gift and the person to who you are regifting travel in different social/business circles. If a colleague at work gave you the scarf, regift it to someone who works for a different organization. Same with family and friends.
  • Check to ensure that the regifted present does not include something that discloses your secret, You do not want your friend receiving  your book to find a card from your Aunt Nan in the bag.

We give gifts to each other in a spirit to generosity and friendliness. The gift may not be your cup of tea, but the relationship is something you probably want to steep for many years to come.