Is It Ever Ok To Re-Gift Or Return A Gift?

Life & Love | Bené Viera | 12/26/2013 | 05:16 PM EST

Should you re-gift or return a gift someone gave you?

It’s the day after Christmas, and while you’re grateful for the gifts you’ve received, there are a couple that are a doozy. Now you’re left contemplating what to do with gifts you won’t ever use. To re-gift or return, that is the question.

There are a few factors to consider. Who gave you the gift is likely the most important question you’ll need to answer to decide how to move forward with the unwanted present. Let’s say your mother gifted you with a cashmere sweater. You hate it so much you don’t even want to look at it in your closet. Well, is your mother the type whose feelings will be hurt if you never wear the sweater or is your mom more of the “If you don’t like it tell me so I don’t waste my money” type? If it’s the former this is a gift you not only shouldn’t re-gift, but wear it on a day you’re going to see her just so she doesn’t feel bad. If your mother is the latter you’re in the clear to return and get something you like.

Do you have a gift receipt? If the person provided you with a gift receipt that's their way of giving you the ok to return it. Whether it’s because the item doesn’t fit, doesn’t match your home decor or you simply hate it then the gift receipt is your get-out-of-being-a-jerk-free pass. But use discretion when returning a gift. No one wants to hear that the gift they gave someone sucked. If the person asks, “Hey, how did you like the china set I got you?” and you had to return it, let them down gently. A simple “I appreciated it so much, but the colors didn’t work so I got something that matched our furniture better and we love it” will suffice. You didn’t lie and you showed how appreciative you are.

If they didn’t include a gift receipt it’s because they don’t want you to know how much money they spent. Re-gifting the gift they gave to you is your call, but it’s a gamble. If the person asks about it and you gave it away you’ll have to lie. But if you keep it even though you hate it you’ll still have to lie. The only difference between the two lies is that the first lie includes the gift being gone if the giver asks to see it. With the second lie you’ll have the gift buried in your garage somewhere.

There’s no right answer here. Shopping malls and stores are filled with people the day after Christmas because they’re returning gifts. It happens.

It’s important to remember gratitude during the season. After all, someone did take time out of their busy schedule to hand pick you a present. But if it’s something you know you’d never use we don’t see the harm in re-gifting it to someone else under certain circumstances. And returning it is pretty much a given if you have a gift receipt.

Hopefully no one will take it personal if you chose to return their gift. Since they spent their hard-earned money, we’re assuming they’d rather you have something you’ll use or wear opposed to a gift that’s only going to collect dust. Choose carefully and wisely. And remember the reason for the season.

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