Skip to main content

How to Re-Gift without Getting Caught

Being busted for re-gifting is like getting nabbed by the IRS—you’re not sorry you did it, you’re just sorry you got caught. Don’t let that happen.


  • Step 1: Keep track Keep careful track of who gave you what—otherwise you might end up re-gifting to the person who gave you the present in the first place. Also note everyone who saw you receive the gift and scratch them off the potential recipient list.
  • Step 2: Be discerning Decide what past gifts can be recycled. If a store-brand item is very old, the person might try to return it and discover it hasn’t been stocked for years.
  • TIP: There’s a difference between a recycled gift and a hand-me-down. Sorry, but even if you’ve only used it or worn it once, it’s not suitable for re-gifting.
  • Step 3: Beware gift cards Carefully examine each item for a gift card. Needless to say, if the person opens his present and finds a note addressed to you, the jig is up.
  • Step 4: Consider appropriateness Consider carefully whether the re-gift is appropriate. If it's clearly out of whack with the re-giftee's style and interests, they're apt to guess it was not originally chosen with them in mind.
  • TIP: Some gifts might be so inappropriate or atrocious that they’d work as gag gifts. Pass them along, have a laugh, and let the new recipient figure out what to do with them.
  • Step 5: Keep distance between source and re-giftee Make sure there are several degrees of separation between the person who gave you the gift and the new recipient. You don't want the gift turning up in a place the re-giftee frequents.
  • Step 6: Re-gift again! If you sense the person doesn’t like the gift, offer to return it before they can begin asking about receipts and return policies. Then go back to your re-gift closet for another treasure.
  • FACT: In one survey, 77% of respondents admitted to re-gifting because the item was better suited for someone else, while 7% confessed they re-gifted because they did not like the recipient of the re-gift!

You Will Need

  • Presents to re-gift
  • A notebook to record gifts you've received

Popular Categories