Thrift store presents considered “regifting” ?

By Josephine McLaughlin

(First in a series about Christmas 2019.)

Is regifting a “Christmas crime”?

Every year at Christmas time my entire extended family on my Mom’s side does a “white elephant exchange.” At these exchanges, it is a known fact that my Grandmother is extremely guilty of “regifting”. It is to be expected that at least one of the gifts you will receive will be one in which you may have seen a year or two before. A gift given or received by someone else!

According to Lizzie Post, “Nine times out of ten, regifting will come back to bite you in the butt,” says the etiquette expert. This fact may very well be true. The funniest scenarios were the few times that my Grandma had gifted a present to someone that they actually had given her a few years back! My Aunts have also seemed to pick up this habit. It now almost feels like a tradition. But hey, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?

Now, with the trend of thrift shopping once again rising, a question comes to mind. Do people consider presents that are from thrift stores to be in the “regift” category? Or are they just considered regular gifts? If I give someone a present that I happened to get for them at a thrift store, does that make me guilty of being a “regifter”? I think not. Having grown up being an avid thrift and consignment shopper with my Mom, I consider the things I get from second-hand stores to have the same worth or meaning to me as any regular store.

Some people point out that thrift store gifts can be insulting. This is because the receiver may assume that the giver didn’t feel they were worth “spending the full money”. But I disagree here. If it’s the amount of money being spent on a gift that people are concerned about, I want to point out that second-hand stores are not always cheaper. And also throw out there the cliche statement, “its the thought that counts”! Its true!

My favorite Christmas present I ever got was actually from a second-hand store. Yet, I know for a fact that it was not cheap. It was before Christmas, my Mom and I had been shopping around. We went to one of our favorite shops that happened to be a consignment store. While we were there I spotted this incredible quilt. It had all my favorite patterns and colors, it was so me. I wanted it so badly.

The quilt was quite expensive and I pointed it out to my Mom. She brushed it off, as Mom’s often do while shopping close to the holidays of course… Little did I know that she went back and got it for me. When I opened my gifts Christmas morning to find the most beautiful quilt I had ever seen, I was over the moon.

Because of this experience with a thrift store present, I declare thrift store gifts to not be in the same category as gifts that are “regifted”. When you “regift” something, you don’t spend money. You are just giving something that was already given to you. Although things from thrift stores have been owned by someone before you, they were picked out and bought with you in mind. Just the same process as any other gift from a regular store!