Regifting: Is it poor etiquette in the UK?


regifting christmas presents

With Epiphany now a distant past within the Christian calendar, it’s time to address the topic of regifting Christmas presents and whether it is acceptable to do so in the UK.

So, contrary to what many believe, regifting per se is not poor etiquette in British culture. However, it’s the way it is executed which is essential.

The rules for regifting are as follows:

  • A good memory is vital; the first and most important rule is the gift should never be given back to the original giver. If in doubt, pop a post-it note on the item, so you don’t forget.
  • Any regifting should be done with an honest consideration of the new recipient’s tastes; just because you have an unwanted gift doesn’t mean you can palm it off on someone who would have an equal distaste of the item!
  • Always ensure the gift is sent as far away from the circle of friends that the giver moves in, preferably to someone at the far end of the country.

What if regifting is simply not an option?

But what if the unwelcome gift has been given by someone close to you who may notice it’s lack of appearance in your life? Well, here are a few options available to you:

  • Come clean and tell them. If it’s something of value, then I suggest waiting for the pressure of the gift-giving day to pass (i.e., Christmas Day) and then mentioning it. In my experience, we all want perfection for this one day of the year (which is often elusive anyway), but once it has passed, we don’t mind if a loved one gently asks if they could exchange a present.
  • The second option involves telling a little white lie and works with clothing items; simply say you loved it, but it didn’t fit too well, or perhaps the material irritated your skin, and would they mind if you exchanged it.
  • Bring out the item for cameo appearances; this works well for ornaments. When the gift giver visits, pop the item on display. Sometimes protecting others’ feelings needs to take priority.

I hope you find these tips helpful during what can be a very awkward situation.



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