Here's what you should and shouldn't regift for the holidays

regifting guide

Here's what you should and shouldn't regift for the holidays


Here's what you should and shouldn't regift for the holidays


I am here not to bury re-gifting but to praise it, wishing that it would become a Christmas tradition, even if one grudgingly accepted, like the pajamas you get from Aunt Gert, even though no one younger than 70 has worn pajamas since 1991.

Re-gifting gives a second chance at life for those lacking adequate gift-giving skills. Their efforts, as sad as they may be, will not be in vain, for now you have something to bring to the Secret Santa party you couldn’t get out of!

Credit: Giphy

In our divisive world, it’s time to welcome with a smile the cheeseboard that says, “All I know about you is that I felt obligated to give you something.” Because that cheeseboard can be given time and time again, its plastic wrap retaining a sheen that insists it was meant just for you.

 And surprisingly, just as there is someone out there for everyone, one recipient will find there’s something about that cheeseboard that makes it worth keeping, despite the inevitable regret.


Credit: Giphy

There is one re-gifting caveat: Gag gifts don’t rise to the re-gift threshold of sincerity. Feel free to re-gift items that suggest a modicum of “Hey, I tried.” Leave the sex toys and rude mugs and bathroom books for the White Elephant exchange.

Here are 5 presents I’ve received and re-gifted to others

And I do so with pride, foisting them off on others without the slightest whiff of guilt.

Jar of pre-measured cookie ingredients:

A mason jar was layered with flour, oats, chocolate chips and other necessary dry ingredients, topped with a red ribbon. It was the just the right mix of personal touch (“I know you love cookies”) and laziness (“But I’m not going to make them for you”) to achieve re-gifting eligibility.

Word-a-Day calendar:

I’m pretty happy with my word collection, and I really don’t need another 365 each year. Besides, if I said, “She was so mad, she totally absquatulated,” I’d get looks saying, “Well if it isn’t Lord Verbiage swinging his Sword of Useless English.” If you think the dated nature of a calendar makes re-gifting impossible, nay, recipients rarely notice the year.

Chia Pet:

This gift required a level of commitment I was not willing to make. However, had it been a Bob Ross Chia Head, I would have cared for it like a living thing.

Eighteen-inch-tall Victorian Santa:

A holiday monstrosity of red and gold, the carved wooden Santa was decked out in velvet finery, its artistic effort vastly exceeding visual interest. I received this roughly 20 years ago and I’d like to think it continues to roam the various islands of re-gift misfits.

Big Mouth Billy Bass:

The singing robot fish is the ultimate re-gift. It’s goofy enough to convince you to hit the “Play” button, and stupid enough that you’ve had enough after one song. My guess is there are 20 Big Mouth Billy Basses in the re-gifting wild, enough to satisfy demand.

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