The Rules for Regifting and Returning

To regift or to return. That is the question a lot of folks face the day after Christmas. As with Black Friday, the day after Christmas is a huge day for retailers. On some level, it might be considered sad at how fast people rush out to return gifts they just got 24 hours earlier. However, if you’re the recipient of one of those horrible gifts, then clearly you have empathy for the shoppers. Regifting and returning really works with any present given at any time of the year. Which should you choose?

Regifting 101

The first rule of regifting is you don’t say it’s a regift. The second rule of regifting is to make sure you’re in the clear. In other words, you don’t want to regift an ugly sweater to the actual person who gave it to you in the first place. This is why it is always dangerous to regift within the family. It is best to stay outside that circle.

Regifting also works when you have to come up with a fast gift. Suppose you open up all your presents on Christmas morning and you’ve got a couple of clunkers sent from out of town relatives. Now, you’re heading out to a neighbor’s open house and you don’t have a hostess gift. That regift will come in handy, no?

Regifting is also great for the office Christmas party. Then there is the white lie regift. Suppose you run into a friend who presents you with a gift. If your first thought is, “I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts,” then you’ll need that backup regift the next time you see them. All you have to say is, “And I got you something from Amazon but I’m waiting for it to be delivered. You know how crazy the mail is this time of year!” You’re golden.


It’s too small. It’s too big. It’s too ugly. Whatever your reason for returning a gift, you’re well within your rights to do so. After all, it’s your present. The only time it gets tricky is if the gift is from a relative that you have to show it off to at the next family function. Cue the pink bunny suit.

Even if you don’t have a receipt, you might still be able to return the gift. It will help to know the store where it was bought. When you take it back, don’t expect to get cash in your hand. Instead, you’ll probably get a store credit. That’s just as good because now you can buy what you really want.

If you’re looking for cold hard cash, you might consider cashing in the gift cards. Many Coinstar kiosks now take gift cards. This means you can cash out your jar of coins and the gift card from the place. Perfect but just keep in mind that there is a fee for the gift card pay out with Coinstar. There are also some websites that are set up for gift card exchanges.

Let’s all embrace the notion that it’s the thought that counts. If that “thought” compels you to make a return or a regift, then go for it!