Friday, December 6, 2013

The Regifting Dilemma

It’s the first week of December, and we’re back in another holiday gift-giving season! For a psychologist, this is an especially fun time of year because it seems like people are all trying to get inside each other’s heads. As gift-givers, we do our best to predict what others will like and appreciate the most. Maybe we purchase the latest trends or use our own talents to create a special gift for our loved ones. Sometimes the perfect match is even sitting right in our closet - a gift initially given to us by someone else. If you run into this situation, is it okay to regift?

I’m sure you’ve heard this debate before and what the etiquette experts say: usually a range from a flat-out “no” to “only in rare circumstances.” They claim the original gift-giver would feel disrespected if he or she knew, as effort and money were put into the purchase and the intention was not for the gift to go to another person. Note that this line of reasoning about regifting relies on an assumption about how other people might feel if they were involved in regifting. According to the experts, we shouldn’t regift because the original gift-giver might be hurt. But is this actually the case – are people really offended when someone regifts their gift?