Free pass to return or re-gift presents

Gift giving is an art. Some people have an amazing talent at picking out the perfect something. I, however, am not blessed with such a skill. Every now and again I’ll hit one out of the park, but those occasions are rare. I think that it’s my disdain for crowded shopping centers that fuels my ineptitude.

Regardless of the reason, my gifts are often received with a strange facial expression and the question, “What is it?” I’ll never forget the gift I got for my sister-in-law that drew the response, “This is such an interesting … uh … watering can?” It was a purse.

When I give a gift, I want the gift to be exactly what the recipient wants. I want it to be loved. I also want the gift to not end up as clutter or to cause stress. To avoid giving the imperfect gift or to cause stress, I’ve decided to follow David Seah’s suggestion in his post “Print Your Own ‘Re-Gift Receipts’” and create my own re-gift receipts to accompany my future gifts.

I’m not going to write mine up exactly like he has, but the principle is the same: a guilt-free return policy. It seems to be such a nice way to let people know that you will in no way be offended if they decide to return your gift.

Be sure to check out Seah’s template at the bottom of the post to save yourself time creating your re-gift receipts.


This post has been updated since its publication in 2008.

14 Comments for “Free pass to return or re-gift presents”

  1. posted by Sandy on

    This is a really cute idea. And, you could really put this on the outside of an envelope for a gift receipt. I must be better about including gift receipts with gifts!

  2. posted by Kris on

    I try to keep notes on things people have mentioned in passing that they like or need. When the holidays roll around, I have a list all set to go. Some things are always good, at least in my family, like Ebay gift certificates and spa certificates. Can’t go wrong there.

    I love the ‘regift’ coupon.

  3. posted by Carmen on

    I like to also add a “No Thank You Card Required” pass. Especially on baby gifts! What new mom has time for Thank You cards on baby gifts?

  4. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Carmen — I love that idea, especially for baby gifts!

  5. posted by Andrew Conard on

    Erin – Thanks for drawing my attention to this post. This is an amazing idea and really recognizes regifting and makes it acceptable for both sides. Nice!

  6. posted by Jude on

    My kids and I each have an Amazon wish list. I provided the wish lists to my mother so she could select something for each of us that we really wanted. Instead, she bought each of us something that we didn’t want. Sure, I needed a new digital camera, but I didn’t need the one she bought me. It won’t even take closeups, which I do a lot. I don’t want any presents, but since she insists on giving me something, it would be so much better if it were something I wanted.

  7. posted by spark on

    I love this idea! I never want someone to keep a gift I’ve given if they don’t like it, or it was wrong, or something else. That just guilts them into a cluttered house! I always tell people they are welcome to exchange or “dispose” of anything I give them if they choose to, but this is a much better way of getting that message across.

  8. posted by Vanessa on

    I like this idea! I sometimes miss the mark with gifts.

  9. posted by Simon Jones on

    You know, regifting is something I have only ever encountered in the United States, and I have to say that I think it’s a great idea! Though I still feel a little guilty. 🙂

  10. posted by Jeff on

    Wow Jude that’s pretty selfish.

  11. posted by Marilyn on

    I thing regifting done the right way is great for our own financial budgets and going green. Thank you for the idea “no thank you card required”. I like this idea for baby gifts and wedding gifts. (Postage is so expensive).

  12. posted by laura ann on

    I am regifting three items: a larger candy/catch-all bowl, a large angel statue that I will place on the recepient’s piano. Also regifting some kitchen knives also never used still in package to another couple with foster kids. I normally give out food baskets for the holidays.

  13. posted by angela on

    @laura ann – make sure to take a penny from the couple you are gifting the knives. No sharp object should be gifted, it should be purchased.
    On the topic of re-gifting, I am slowly moving toward edible/gift card gifts or I am asking what exactly is wished for. For my kids, I buy them all nessessary items and they only get gifts that they wish for on two ocassions: birthdays and New Year. My other family members usually get what they can use as a gift (money, specific item they need to buy, usually an expencive purchase they will not be willing to make themselves). Friends usually get expensive alcogol/chocolate.

  14. posted by Juliette | For the Sake of Good Taste on

    This is such a neat idea! I never want gift recipients to feel bad about decluttering, even if my gift is included (I can’t help but think of Marie Kondo’s thoughts on it). I try to make gifts something they wouldn’t need to regift or declutter, but I want them to be happy more than anything else! This is a great way to get that across without having an awkward conversation.

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