Dana Holmes, editor in chief of the website Gifts.com, offers these tips for gracious regifting:
If a person permeates all social circles in your life, don’t regift anything that he or she gives you. Chances are the original giver may spot that carefully chosen Nate Berkus bowl or Royal Doulton figurine sitting on someone else’s mantel and end up with hurt feelings.
To avoid regifting within the same circle of people, keep track. Before you store an unwanted item for future regifting, attach a sticky note about who gave it to you and for what occasion.
If you receive a gag gift, it’s OK to give it back or pass on the joke to another victim.
If the gift comes to you from — or is going to — someone you’re very close to, it’s best to come clean. Tell them diplomatically that you’re regifting and why.
Never regift just to get rid of something. Make sure the gift is in pristine shape and carefully match it to the recipient’s interests. Regifting is a success only if you are sincere.
Always give the item new life with fresh wrapping paper and a thoughtful card. Be sure to closely examine the package for any old cards, tags, hand-written inscriptions or remnants of old wrapping paper and tape that would indicate you’re recycling something that was given to you.
Have your children decide on a charity to give the unwanted gift to (as long as it meets the criteria above: pristine condition and something the organization is able to use). This rule is great for several reasons: You’re able to pass on something you can’t use to a recipient who can, while teaching your children a lesson in sharing.