Re-gifting is one concept that remains stuck in a morally gray area. Taking the time to scour malls and specialty shops is, admittedly, a difficult task. After all, if you have a perfectly fine gift sitting around untouched, why not pass it on to someone who'll have a better use for it?
According to etiquette expert Myka Meier, it depends on the gift and on your intention. "If re-gifting is ever discovered it could cause the person who gave it to you to be offended and hurt, and therefore I would not recommend it," she says. "If you do decide to re-gift an item because for instance you received a duplicate gift and you know someone who would love it, make sure it’s in its original packaging and is not personalized in any way."
Before you do recycle that gift, be sure you read these re-gifting blunders we've collated from anonymous people—so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
"I was delighted to be given a figurine for my wedding. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was engraved with a different couple's name and wedding date."
"A friend of mine was surprised to receive the same generic scrapbook gift (on the cover of which she had printed her logo) she had given out to all her friends."
"Someone I know received an oil-and-vinegar set as a wedding gift. It came in a dilapidated old box on top of which was scribbled an encircled number (as if it were marked for a raffle), and the cap for the oil bottle was missing."
"My friend once recounted how she received a 'free gift item with purchase' from her aunt. She knew because she bought a perfume set with the exact same gift item... two years ago."
"A friend was regifted a massage certificate by her mother-in-law. It had her MIL's name written and was about to expire."
"My dad received a frame as a gift. He later had it engraved with a quote and gave it away, not realizing he had sent it to the same person who gave it to him."
"My brother and I used to go to our uncle's house during the holidays. One time, we saw a pile of new clothes (gifts people gave him) on the bed. My brother later received the same clothes for his Christmas gift."
"I once received a gift I didn't like
"I once gave a friend a statement shirt. Afterward, he told me he had regifted a shirt to another friend, describing the shirt in detail, without realizing that it was the gift I had given him. I confronted him and said, 'That's the shirt I gave you.' He replied, 'Oh.'"
"One Christmas I received a handbag from my aunt. It was too bright for my taste so I gave it to my sister without telling her who it was from. Months later, at a family function, my sister brought the handbag and my aunt noticed it. She commented, 'I like your bag,' and my sister replied, 'Thanks, it was from my sister (me).' My aunt never said anything after but I knew that she knew."
"I had an extra bottle of an expensive serum which I gave to my mom as a random gift. She later told me that the bottle was empty. It turns out that bottle was 'for photo shoot purposes' and really came without content."
"My husband wanted us to give his sister a wallet for Christmas. I remembered I had a never-used Chanel wallet from an ex in my closet. I saw there was a one-thousand-peso bill in it for luck, so I left it in the wallet, and gave it to my sister-in-law. Later she mentioned there had been a love note written on the paper bill. ‘Did you want it back?’ she asked."
For more tips, check out our modern guide to gift giving etiquette here.