Regift: Smart move or cheap trick?


Woody Wood of Federal Way isn’t quite sure what to do with the telescopic fishing pole that’s been gathering dust in his garage the past few years.

He received the pole a few years back from his buddy, who received the pole as a gift from his girlfriend.

“Don’t tell her I gave it to you,’” the friend told Wood.

So Wood made sure to never use the pole in front of the girlfriend. In fact, he never used the pole at all.

“I still have it and I haven’t used it and I’ll probably give it away this Christmas,” Wood said.

Wood’s is a classic case of regifting.

According to Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary of English, to “regift” is to give an unwanted gift to someone else. The term became popular about 10 years ago when it was featured on an episode of Seinfeld.

It’s not the first time Wood has regifted. There was also that champagne ice bucket he and his wife received as a wedding gift. They already had one, and therefore the bucket was regifted to the next newly married couple.

Wood and his friend Bill Barker of Federal Way agreed last week that the practice of regifting is perfectly acceptable.

“I’ve probably done that many times,” Barker said. “Somebody’s given me something and I wasn’t going to use it, so I packed it up and gave it to somebody else — probably my sister.”

There’s no shame in regifting or receiving a regifted gift, Barker said.

“It would not offend me. I’m just not that sensitive,” he said. “I wouldn’t be offended because I’ve done it before... A gift is a gift.”

According to a 2005 survey by Money Management International, a nonprofit community service organization that provides financial guidance, more than half of adults find regifting acceptable.

In fact, MMI recommends regifting as a way to keep holiday expenses down. They created a Web site,, in tribute to the practice complete with stories and tips.

There are a few golden rules of regifting, according to MMI. Handmade, one-of-a-kind, monogrammed and used items are off-limits, as are free promotional items. Partially used gift cards are also off-limits.

It is advised to be sure the gift does not return to the original giver, nor does the original giver find out about the regifting.

Good items to regift include bottles of wine, new household items and inexpensive jewelry. And remember, the Web site cautions, to rewrap any regifted items and remove any old tags or cards.

For more tips and tales on regifting, visit

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

For more tips and tales about regifting, visit

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