Re-Gifting: Great Idea or Horrible Torture?


September 3, 2013

The Frowl- photo courtesy of Chris Frede (@HR_Buoy)

Well, we’re full on in the gift giving season and I’m wondering about re-gifting.  I don’t do it BUT, I have received several presents over the years that still sit in the closet, unopened.  Maybe I should give them to someone else.

Let’s see, I have:

  • Several strange ornaments
  • Some nice binoculars.  These are cool, but I really haven’t found anything I need to see that close up.
  • A puzzle of New York City.  I like to travel to NYC, not make puzzles of the skyline.
  • A bible.  Ok, I already have a bible.  Don’t know why someone thought I’d need a new one.  The old one does ok and quite honestly, the only one I read is the Children’s version anymore.
  • Movies like The Money Pit, Major League, and Batman Dark Knight. I’m fairly certain those should be given away.

So, you see, I could really give some great gifts to my family and friends and not have to brave the stores.  At my last job, we all re-gifted one hideous gift.  It was called the Frowl.  It was a pottery piece that looked like a cross between a frog and an owl.  It was either some odd candle holder or a toothbrush holder.  We figured that out because it had holes in the belly.  Each person who received it couldn’t wait to pass it on to someone else at the next holiday or milestone.

What do you think about re-gifting?  Do you do it?  What’s the WORST gift you’ve ever re-gifted or received that you think was re-gifted to you?  Share in the comments!


  • Fun issue to discuss. I avoid re-gifting, but wonder if I should donate usable items v. holding on to them? I think this year I need to step up and pass items along that others could benefit from.

  • My brother, three sisters and I would re-gift the same old Smucker’s Ice Cream Social set for about ten years. My brother didn’t even bother to remove the “re-gift mark” I had left on it!!!! My brother got it back from me three times!!! I got it back four times. I bet that caramel sauce is petrified by now!!!!

    I think the cycle finally died when the gift was about ten years old…

  • From my perspective: If you’ve decided on a gift for someone, AND you happen to have that item (a gift that someone else gave you), then it’s okay to re-gift.

    However, I’ve never seen those 2 streets cross. I donate to a charitable organization. That way, I enjoy the “gift” of the donation, and someone else gets something that would just take up space in my basement.

    • @April and Jay- You’re right. I should be giving these to charity. Instead I just hoarde them in my closet. Thanks for the idea!

  • Trish,
    Now you know how we all love the Frowl…..
    We shared him for a period of time! I am all for re-gifting if it serves the receiver well.


  • I re-gift gift cards if for some reason I can’t use them, i.e. the store isn’t available in this area or I don’t shop there. I do verify the amount on them before doing it. I typically donate stuff I don’t want/like…although I do have a collection of DVDs that sit unopened from one relative who doesn’t get me.

    The worst regift I ever received was this terrible smelling perfume (and I’m allergic to most perfume in the first place) and they had left the original to/from tag tucked on the inside so you know it was re-gifted.

    Have a great Holiday Trish!

  • I received some amazing gifts for my daughter that were duplicates. Ryleigh loves the one she already has so we have re-gifted several of them to friends. There’s nothing wrong with that in my mind. It’s financially responsible, and I don’t want to upset the person who gave us the gift.

    Some of my favorite holiday parties are the ones where everyone re-gifts things and we draw numbers to see what everyone gifts but for the life of me I can’t remember what the gift exchange is actually called. I actually got some cool stuff that way. Plus, I got rid of some crap I didn’t want without spending a cent.



  • I’m getting the drift here that re-gifting is great when it’s overt and fun. My brother-in-law and I gave each other the same pumpkin for about five years. We’d let it rot a little each year and then freeze it. We never talked about it, but each year one of us would get to say, “Oh, wow! A pumpkin. Just what I always wanted!” One year, it vanished and the re-gifted pumpkin faded into lore. (I’m pretty sure my bro-in-law put it in his mom’s freezer, and I think it was the first thing she ever threw out in her life.)

    This year, I’m giving my brother a certificate from GM that I got for free with my first car purchase. It’s a post card trip planner. You write down your trip itinerary and mail it to GM. In less than two weeks (guaranteed!) they’ll send you driving directions for you entire trip. I’m billing it as “A Vintage GPS.”

    So, dig through that closet, get creative and have fun. I’ll watch for the Frowl in the mail. I really need it to get a jump start on 2011 Christmas shopping for my brother.

Comments are closed.

The Frowl- photo courtesy of Chris Frede (@HR_Buoy)
The Frowl- photo courtesy of Chris Frede (@HR_Buoy)
Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 17.20.39

About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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