Receiving a gift from an in-law or distant relative that you don’t want, can’t use and can’t return is, for many, as much a holiday tradition as carols, eggnog and mistletoe. And lucky for them, there is a day that caters directly to this least-favorite holiday tradition.
Founded in 2008 by the state of Colorado, National Regifting Day is celebrated on the Thursday before Christmas. That’s when most office parties take place, and office parties are notorious opportunities for regifting, or the origin of many presents that need to be regifted.
In honor of National Regifting Day, Offers.com has put together the ultimate regifting guide: including gifts that are prime for regifting and how to execute a flawless regift, undetected.
Stats on unwanted gifts
According to our survey, clothing is the most-likely-to be-returned item. A lot can go wrong when trying to guess a recipient’s size and tastes. Tech, meanwhile is less likely to be returned.
What gift are you most likely to return?
- Clothing – 46%
- Tech – 10%
- Shoes – 13%
- Recreational items (hoverboard, bike, etc) – 13%
- Houseware – 13%
- Toys – 17%
- Other – 2%
According to the survey, the people in your life most likely to give you unwanted gifts are your in-laws:
Who gives the worst gifts in your family?
- Your in-laws – 24%
- Your siblings – 19%
- Your friends – 14%
- Your grandparents – 14%
- Your significant other – 12%
- Your parents – 12%
- Other – 5%
There’s also a chance your in-laws are likely to regift your gift. Shoppers are most likely to dread shopping for their in-laws and therefore may not select a desirable gift:
Who do you dislike shopping for?
- Your in-laws – 24%
- Your significant other – 17%
- Your parents – 17%
- Your siblings -16%
- Your friends – 14%
- Your grandparents – 7%
- Other – 5%
How to nail the regift: Expert tips
Follow these tips when regifting:
- Put a little extra effort into the presentation: Even if you do have a good candidate for a regift, don’t simply pass it on in its original packaging. Wrinkled tissue paper makes it too obvious that a gift has been sitting in our closet, and you might accidentally pass on an enclosed card that was written to you.
- Make note of who gave you the gift: With so many gifts being exchanged around the holidays, you run the risk of forgetting who gave you something and then regifting it back to them.
- Regift in a different social circle: If you regift within the same social circle that brought the gift to you, the present might get recognized. So label gifts you plan to regift carefully (giver’s name, occasion and date) to help you keep track.
- Consider auctions: If you have a school-aged child or a friend who hosts, say, military functions, that unwanted spa basket could make a great contribution to a fundraising auction. Note, however, that the gift must usually still be packaged in its original cellophane and seals to be considered for charity auctions.
- Mix and match: If you had to open the gifts packaging to realize you don’t want it (maybe the lotion has a too-strong scent, or the scarf is an unflattering color for you), you can combine those unwanted items into a gift basket for someone else. The dollar store is home to dozens of decorative baskets you can use to complete the gift.
- Consider the item: Not all gifts are good regifting candidates. Apparel in general is a risky regift (or gift in general). Our recent survey showed that 46% of Americans say clothing is the item they’re most likely to try to return this holiday season. However, one-size-fits-all items (such as scarves or mittens) may be successfully regifted. Tech items, our survey found, are less likely to be unwanted (only 10% of recipients try to return them, according to our survey). So, if you received a duplicated phone charger, headphones or other useful tech item, it could make a good regifting option for the right person.
- Know when to keep an item: Regifting a family heirloom is a definite no. Instead, pass those pieces down to someone in the family who will appreciate them.
- Time the regift properly: The closer the turn around, the more likely it is that someone will catch on. (taking a gift you received on Christmas Eve and giving it as a host gift on New Year’s Eve, for example).
- Make regifting a tradition: If a gift you received was an obvious prank or inside joke within your social circle, and you don’t want it taking up space in your home, feel free to continue to pass it around. It will get a laugh and can become a tradition.
Other Options Besides Regifting
If you don’t have an ideal recipient for your regift, consider these other options:
1. Return the item
If the item came with a gift receipt, returning it to the store should be a simple process, provided you make your return by the retailer’s deadline (which may be extended for holiday gifts).
If you lost the gift receipt or never received one, you still may be able to get store credit, if you know the store from whence the undesired gift came.
Walmart, for example, may allow you to make a return without a receipt at the customer service desk if you present a photo ID (however your success is at the manager’s discretion). Bed Bath & Beyond accepts returns without a receipt or buyer’s info in exchange for merchandise credit (minus 20% of the item’s selling price). Target also takes returns without receipts, but you’ll get your refund in the form of a merchandise return card, which is valid in store only.
2. Sell the item
If you don’t know which store the item came from, or the return deadline has passed, you may be able to sell it. Options include:
- eBay: Considering all the oddities sold on eBay, you have a good shot at finding someone who wants what you don’t. Get started and create your listing.
- Amazon: You don’t have to be a business to sell on Amazon. If you don’t plan on selling regularly or in large volumes (you just want to get rid of those hideous designer sunglasses you received), you can sign up for an Individual Seller plan. Instead of paying a monthly fee, you’ll pay Amazon 99 cents for each item sold. Learn more here.
- Craigslist: The old standby for selling practically everything, Craigslist can help you find someone who actually wants the toys your children received but are several years too old for.
- Numerous resale sites, networks and apps: Just a few of your options include 5miles, LetGo, Listia and Nextdoor.
3. Give away the item
If you don’t know anyone to regift the item to and nobody wants to buy it, consider giving it away to a second-hand store or charity, rather than letting it collect dust. If you don’t want to drive the item to a Goodwill or charity collection box, the Freecycle Network/mailing list allows you to leave unwanted items on the side of the street (safely packaged and during good weather, preferably) and notify users in your area. The peer-to-peer marketplace 5miles also has a Free & Donations channel where you can announce an item is available for pickup.