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What's the proper regifting etiquette when you've received a splendid gift but it's simply not your taste? No matter the occasion — from the holidays to year-round events like birthdays or baby showers — there are a few guidelines you can follow to make sure you're regifting with tact and kindness.

Make Sure It's Brand New

There's nothing quite like unwrapping a gift only to find that it's been used. Not only is giving a used item as a gift tacky, but it also breaks the leading rule of etiquette — it's not polite. If you're going to regift an item, only do so with items that are brand new, in their original packaging and unopened. Wedding gifts and baby showers are two occasions where you can find you've received duplicates of a single item thanks to well-meaning friends and family members. If you find that the duplicate isn't returnable, consider a party who would appreciate receiving the gift.

Regift Beyond Your Bubble

Speaking of parties who would appreciate your duplicate gift, make sure you're regifting beyond the community where the gift originated. Perhaps a gift from a family Christmas can find its way to a parents' meetup group, birthday celebration or office party. Always consider the gift's origins and look beyond that bubble for a recipient.

Don't Wait for a Special Occasion

To help remove some of the taboo of regifting, don't wait for a special occasion like a holiday or birthday. That duplicate vacuum? Post a notice at your office or on your social media sites. You never know whose vacuum just quit working and would be grateful for your generous offer. Giving without an occasion is a fantastic way to make the most of a gift that's not a good fit for you, but just might be for someone else.

Skip Regifting Personal or Handmade Items

What do you do when someone has lovingly made an item just for you, but it's simply not right for you? In these cases, it's best to hang on to the item instead of regifting. There are too many opportunities for hurt feelings and your relationship with a friend, colleague or loved one is more important than saving a few dollars by regifting something that someone might guess wasn't made for them.

Consider Donating to Charity

For gifts like handmade items of clothing or items that you simply can't find another home for in good taste, consider donating the gift to a local nonprofit. Clothing items will always be appreciated at homeless and women's shelters. Nonprofits with local retail stores can transform your imperfect gift into the perfect charitable donation write-off for you and dollars for their cause. Consult your tax advisor about the potential to deduct donated items on your income tax return. You just might find that an imperfect gift becomes a savvy financial decision come year-end.

Now you have a reliable regifting etiquette guide to help you through the holiday season and beyond. Never doubt that there's a perfect home for a gift that may not necessarily be a fit for you. But keep in mind the kindness and heart that the giver put into choosing or making the gift just for you. You can both come out winners, whether you regift or not.


This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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