Regifting: Not Just for Cheapskates Anymore


Editor’s note: Many of us have great regifting stories, usually involving a friend or relative who’s really cheap, or just procrastinated. But, as Henry Owen points out in this excerpt from his ebook How to Have a Green Christmas (affiliate link), regifting doesn’t have to involve thoughtlessness or desperation: when done with consideration and love, it can be a preferable alternative to buying something.

Got a great regifting story? Or have you adopted this practice in a mindful manner? Share your thoughts with us.


Do it. It’s okay. As long as you are thoughtful about it, there is no reason that a regift or recycled gift can’t be a wonderful, meaningful gift. Regifting is great for the environment because you are taking a gift that wasn’t a good fit for you and passing it along to someone who will get great use out of it. You are taking a poor gift situation and turning it into a positive one without asking Mother Earth to make another product (or asking Mother Wallet to pay for it!).

Be sure to practice all the regular principles of good gift giving and a regift will be a great gift. Is it thoughtful? Did you put thought and energy into deciding who to give this gift to or did you use a gift giving dart board to decide who receives what? Is the gift a good fit for the receiver? If you put thought into it, it should be. Avoid giving your grandmother your old rollerblades simply because they are available. One more tip: do your best to avoid regifting a gift back to the person that gave it to you in the first place. They may not appreciate how hard you are working to save the environment.

Help your kids practice the magic of regifting. Teach them how to regift toys and clothes that they no longer need or use. Encouraging them to donate toys to charity is great, but regifting can also happen at home. Little siblings always want the toys of their older brothers and sisters. Why not encourage the big bro or big sis in your house to wrap up one of their old favorites that they know their “Mini Me” will love?

Regift heirlooms

Another great way to practice meaningful regifting is to give family heirlooms. Instead of waiting until you move into assisted living or die before passing down treasured family heirlooms, start giving them one at a time to family members that you know love that particular treasure.

Image credit: donXfive via photopin cc

  1. Jacquie Ottman

    Love the idea of re-gifting, Jeff. I wrote about this on our own blog a little while ago. I shared a new tradition: hosting a little regift party for friends at New Year’s . The perfect way to get gifts I really can’t use back into circulation where they will be loved — and used — by someone who really wants it. http://www.wehatetowaste.com/regift/

    When it’s done openly, it adds to the fun because everyone is in the same boat. I’ll bet that many reading this are familiar with Patagonia’s new WornWear label. Should we create a label that says something like 100%Certified Regift? Hey, let’s make this legit!

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