Regift without regret

Dec 072010
Authors: Aliese Willard

‘Tis the season for gift-giving. But as college students, we don’t have it easy. On top of holiday festivities, jobs, and, oh yeah, school, there’s very little time to hand-pick the perfect present for everyone in our lives. Add to that the shortage of cash that afflicts most of the collegiate population, and we have a problem.

So why not regift? Coined by comedian Jerry Seinfeld in the sixth season of his TV show, the term “regift” has found its niche in holiday culture and even has its own Wikipedia definition. According to Wikipedia, it is simply “the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, sometimes in the guise of a new gift.”

All right, be honest. You may have done this before. But don’t feel too guilty; a 2007 survey by Money Management International found that 60 percent of Americans think regifting is more acceptable than in the past. And with the damaging effects of the recession, it’s likely that more Americans than ever recognize the benefits of regifting. It is frugal, saves time and is even a method of recycling.

So how do you regift without offending anyone? College Avenue asked students’ opinions, and also compiled some tips from the regifting website

  • Handmade and personalized items are a no-no. If someone made it for you, don’t give it away. Johanna Serrano, an undeclared sophomor, agrees. “Regifting something personalized that has nothing to do with you is pretty tacky,” she said. Her tip for regifting: “give the (regifted) present along with something else, just so it doesn’t seem obvious.”
  • Give good quality. Don’t wrap up something you have to dust off or that you have used, and don’t give something that people can see when they are at your place –– an observant friend may remember it. also forbids the regifting of partially used gift cards. Junior fashion merchandising major Jared Blumentritt says he has regifted “lots of things,” and says he “wouldn’t regift underwear or something you’ve used.” Blumentritt has regifted bottles of perfume and cologne, as well as a picture he drew.
  • Use your head. stresses that givers keep track of who gave them presents, so they don’t commit the greatest gift faux-pas of all and regift a present to the original giver. Emma Martens, sophomore English major, advises students to consider who they’re giving to. “It’s OK, if someone else would appreciate it more, [and]
    as long as the gift is thoughtful. (But) don’t just be lazy by regifting.”
  • Make it pretty. Appearance is everything. Wrap the gift in attractive paper, and add bows, ribbons, glitter, tags or whatever you think will make it look appealing. Blumentritt recommends to “shine it up really nice, (and) don’t be a cheapskate.”
  • Donate. If even the worst person on your list doesn’t deserve the strange gift you’re saddled with, it may be time to donate it to a local charity. After all, one person’s trash … uh, gift, can be another person’s treasure.

College Avenue magazine Features Editor Aliese Willard can be reached at

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