Reduce, Reuse...Re-gift?

December 10th, 2010 by Andrea Bennett

Weigh in on whether passing along unwanted gifts is in good form or bad.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

The oft-maligned tradition of re-gifting is being re-packaged in some circles as a practice that’s less lazy and cheap than it is responsible.

As the holidays approach and the economy and unemployment numbers still look less than stellar, finding ways of giving without breaking the bank is a pursuit that some are taking seriously. In fact, a National Re-gifting Day has been declared by the creators of a website,, devoted to passing along your unused treasures. They suggest the third Thursday of December as the new national “holiday” since it’s a common day for holiday office parties. According to their research, four in 10 re-gifters target coworkers as recipients.

“In case you are hesitant to break tradition,” the site insists, “you can rest assured that the majority (60%) of people think that re-gifting is becoming more accepted.” In fact, while 25 percent believe it is more accepted as a way to save money, 14 percent even regard it as a method of recycling. And you might remember our post-holiday report from last year, which included the surprising statistic that 68% of Americans had either already done or were considering re-gifting.

More recently, a new poll conducted by Ketchum Global Research for Liberty Mutual and the Responsibility Project revealed similar numbers: 61 percent of respondents said re-gifting is socially acceptable. And surprisingly enough, higher income households were more likely to say they had re-gifted than lower income households. The “2010 Responsible Gift Giving Survey” also found that more than one in five adults who said that re-gifting is not socially acceptable had actually done it anyway.

As the holidays approach, should you still cringe at the idea of giving away those adorable two-sizes-too-small slippers that Aunt Em gave you last Christmas, consider this article, which assures readers that re-gifting has even been sanctioned by etiquette expert Peggy Post, though “…the gift must be brand new and it can’t be something the original giver took great pains to select.” And if you’re still unclear on the subtleties of the re-gift, the folks at Regiftable have even composed a primer on the subject.

Have a good re-gifting story or technique? Share it here. More importantly, is it responsible…or in bad taste?