Regifting

by admin on December 12, 2011

I wanted to get a nice gift for my nephew’s first Christmas.  My sister is very religious and has strict ideas about what are appropriate gifts for babies, so I decided that I would give my nephew his first Bible.  Looking at my bookshelves, I decided to give my nephew one of my own Bibles–specifically, a little New Testament that had been *my* first Bible nearly three decades earlier.  I assure you it was still in very good condition.

On Christmas Day, presents are opened, and my sister is very pleased with my present to my nephew (my nephew, meanwhile, is more interested in toys, which is to be expected).

Come the next Sunday, a lady asked what I gave my nephew for Christmas, and I replied that I’d given him my first Bible to be his first Bible.  The lady responded that what I’d done was known as “regifting” and was very tacky.
And here I’d been trying to be nice…   0109-11

{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellie December 11, 2011 at 7:20 am

It is my opinion that someone should sit down with this lady and gently explain the difference between passing on a treasured possession to a family member and giving a gift one did not want, to someone else.

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Typo Tat December 11, 2011 at 7:35 am

OP, I think your gift was thoughtful and lovely.

Regifting is unloading an unwanted gift on someone else. Your gift was a personal item with sentimental value, so there’s no “regifting” involved.

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Kitten December 11, 2011 at 8:02 am

That’s not regifting. Regifting is something that someone gave you the year before that you ‘oooed’ over, while wondering if they really knew you, then stuck in a cupboard for six months before you gave it to someone else (who quite possibly will have the same reaction). That will be considered tacky by many people.

What you did was pass on something that you loved in the hope that they would love it too (eventually). It has history, it has meaning and it has forethought. You knew your sister would be picky and you wanted to share a treasured possession, your first Bible, with your nephew and you achieved both. I wouldn’t worry about your ‘friend’, she’s probably having more of a reaction to not making sure that everything we give is brand new as is often dictated by modern marketing.

Real life example – my grandmother gave me a book that I have loved since childhood and will treasure for the rest of my life. I’d much prefer to have this book as a gift than anything new that she could have found for me. To me, that isn’t tacky but instead something given that she knew would be right for me and that I would look after and value.

However, passing on the horrible cooking dvds given to me by a family member (that look like they themselves have been regifted several times in the 8 years since they were released) as a brand new and exciting gift for a friend is regifting and definitely tacky. This is both because I know it is essentially a useless present and because it shows a complete lack of forethought on my part about what my friend would like.

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Wim December 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

What a silly reaction. That would make the whole concept of “family heirlooms” tacky.

Don’t listen to this lady, she most probably hasn’t got a sentimental bone in her body. It’s sweet and endearing when something that has been precious to you for such a long time is handed down for a new generation to treasure it.

I still have a bible that my grandmother bought for my aunt, and that I inherited when my aunt died over 20 years ago. Although I’m not in the least bit religious myself, I still value and treasure that bible.

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Jojo December 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

How can giving a prized possession of great sentimental value you to you and your family be considered ‘tacky’? If anything, it completely embraces the spiritual essence of Christmas- a Christian gift of great personal significance to the giver bestowed on a young child.
By ‘come the next Sunday’ I take it to mean that OP was speaking to a fellow church goer, guess they missed the lesson that Christmas isn’t about brand new shiny plastic toys…Those wise men and their expensive gift giving have a lot to answer for ;-)

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Susan December 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

That is in no way regifting. It’s passing down something meaningful. I’m sure that when your nephew gets old enough to appreciate it you can tell stories about the day that you got the bible, and maybe times when it was a source of comfort. Even if you don’t – it’s still a thoughtful gift given to someone you love, and that’s not regifting.

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kingshearte December 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

Somewhere there’s a distinction between regifting and passing on a treasured item. I don’t know precisely where that line is, but there definitely is one. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received, that I continue to cherish, was a beautiful silver bracelet that my late grandfather (who died well before I was born) had made and given to my grandmother. She gave it to me for Christmas one year, and I now wear it pretty much every day, and the concept of considering that tacky would never even cross my mind.

I think your gift was really sweet. Who cares what that other lady thinks.

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Sarah Peart December 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

That is not regifting! Would you call it re-gifting to be given a family heirloom – okay yours was relatively recent but still I would say it falls into that category more comfortably than re-gifting.

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Jessie December 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

I don’t believe you did any such thing of a tacky nature. You gave something of sentimental value to someone who meant a lot to you (your nephew, of course), in a gesture of pure love and respect for the faith of your family and your sister’s wishes as to appropriate gifts. Although I am not of your faith, I can think of nothing more lovely than to pass along the first teachings that guided you on to guide another young life along their spiritual path.

The REAL tacky one here appears to be that lady who admonished you for giving a gift out of love and sentimentality. Your sister clearly had nothing against it and was pleased, and that is all that matters. =)

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EditorBree December 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

I think that sounds like a lovely gift! You weren’t “regifting”, you were turning your first bible into a sort of heirloom, which is entirely appropriate.

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Zhoen December 11, 2011 at 10:50 am

“Heirloom” is the word I think you would like to have used back.

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Sally December 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

Well, I disagree with that lady, and don’t think what the OP did was tacky at all. First, ‘regifting’ is passing on a gift you’ve been given and which you don’t want, not giving someone a treasured possession to be treasured by them in turn. The OP’s passing on of their bible is how heirlooms are made. Second, the sister was thrilled, and her opinion should be the one that matters. If the gift pleased the giver and the recipient (or recipient’s proxy, in this case) then it’s a successful gift. Thirdly, if anything I think telling someone that they’re tacky is rude, and the lady should have kept her opinion to herself. What could she achieve apart from making the OP feel bad?

I think regifting *can* be done in a tacky way, if you don’t take care (my MIL gave a gift I’d given her to someone else, while I was there, which was a bit ouch) but I don’t think that passing something to someone who will value it is an inherently bad thing to do. But that’s beside the point, because the OP wasn’t regifting.

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MM December 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

So while normally regifting can be tacky. I think this was sweet, to give up something that can be cherished.

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gramma dishes December 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

That is definitely NOT “regifting”!
That is passing along a treasure.
It was a sweet and touching gesture. I can’t think of a better, more personal, more loving gift.

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Kai December 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

In the case of Bibles, I don’t think “regifting” is the right term here. The Bible I was given as a child belonged to my father when HE was a child, and when I outgrew it, we put it back on the shelf and then gave it on to my oldest nephew, who is now 10. It’s more a tradition than anything else. Many Bibles have historical value in that people will write important dates on the leaves. I’ve seen one particular old family Bible that was hundreds of years old, passed down from family member to family member, and everything was in there. Birth, death, marriages. They’d even added pages to make room. It was a wonderful thing.

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Louise December 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I don’t think that counts as regifting. You gave something very meaningful that the baby will treasure and possibly pass on as well to his children, making it a family heirloom.

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Tabby December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I don’t think this is regifting in the traditional sense. I think OP passed down a piece with sentimental value beyond and in addition to its obvious value as a Bible. Regifting would be like if someone had given you a Bible last year, and you didn’t need it so you re-wrapped it and passed it along. This is more along the lines of, “This was once my first Bible, now I would like you to have it as your first Bible. I hope it serves you the way it served me.” In fact, this could be the start of a very nice tradition.

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c December 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

That lady clearly does not know the tradition of handing down an heirloom. I think it is a beautiful gift that will be cherished longer than a plastic toy or another piece of clothing.

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KBP December 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

No, that woman at your Church was incorrect. That was not “regifting.” Regifting is giving away something you received and did not like. What you passed down to the next generation was something that would be meaningful to your relatives.

I assume the woman in question would have thought receiving heirloom china on your wedding day was “regifting.”

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travestine December 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I think that counts as “one person’s opinion”. This was a case of an aunt giving a beloved nephew a very personal item, one that is commonly passed along in families, as a, hopefully, a treasured heirloom. You did nothing wrong and someday, he will appreciate and treasure your gift in the spirit in which it was given.

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Kaye Dacus December 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

That lady obviously has no idea where family heirlooms come from! Not only do I think this was a wonderful, heartfelt gift, but it’s something I’ve done in the past, giving my niece (especially, though occasionally my nephews) books I enjoyed at a specific age when she’s reached the same age. Not only is it passing on something of ourselves in a way that just going out and buying a throw-away trinket can never do, but it’s also a way to make an emotional connection with the other person.

When I was fifteen, I was the recipient of a book one of my aunts had read when she was a teenager. While she didn’t give it to me directly (it was at my grandmother’s house), her name was written inside the front. And after I read it, I wondered what she’d thought about it when she was my age—which led to a discussion of that book (and other topics) the next time I saw her.

So enjoy the feeling of having given part of yourself to your nephew, and ignore the woman who probably never had someone do something so beautiful for her.

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Tina December 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I don’t think that it was a tacky thing to do. You gave your first bible to your nephew as his first bible. This is like passing a family heirloom down. You may very well have started a new tradition in your family and I think that is very sweet.

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Cat December 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Tell the lady a family heirloom thirty years old is not a “regift”. If it is, she should feel free to “regift” her family’s diamonds, sterling silver flatware, expensive jewelry, etc. to me. I promise not to be offended and I’ll send her a very nice thank -you note.

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Jessyy December 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I thought it was a sweet gesture – you gave it so he’d enjoy it, not to “regift” it.

And, lets be honest, after 30 years of use you can hardly call it regifting.

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Saskia December 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I think that there is a decade-clause to the idea of regifting: If it is older than 10 years and given in the spirit of an heirloom (to be passed along from generation to generation and in a generous spirit) then you are exempt from the “regift” curse.
The gift was touching and appropriate. The lady who told you it was “regifting” was, quite frankly, crude.

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Kimberly December 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

There is regifting, and there is passing down family heirlooms. Passing down your bible to your nephew is more along the lines of passing down a family heirloom.

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Rica December 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

If that’s tacky, then I guess we should throw out all those family heirlooms… and antique stores are really just thrift stores right?

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CookieChica December 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Personally, I don’t find certain types of regifting tacky. Sentimental “heirlooms” (hey, an heirloom has to start somewhere!) are not tacky or really regifting.

I regift some things that I got at my baby shower. I purposely saved them because they were good basics we received too many of. I suppose I could have taken them back to the store, gotten my money back, and gone to the store to repurchase the items a week later but that seemed silly.

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BW December 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

So heirlooms are considered “re-gifting”? Don’t tell my grandma. She’s “re-gifted” me china, furniture, books, art … It was a lovely gift and a great idea. I plan on “re-gifting” a dollhouse to my goddaughter soon.

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Spike December 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I suppose it’s “technically” re-gifting, but in the real world, it’s something very different. I feel sorry for that lady that she couldn’t grasp the concept of passing on something to the next generation that could essentially become a family heirloom.

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Green123 December 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Just ignore the lady, OP – your gift was so thoughtful and completely appropriate. I hardly think presenting a family member with something you and your family cherish is tacky! Who knows, your nephew might pass it on to HIS children or nieces or nephews in another 30 years – how lovely would that be?

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Elizabeth December 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm

oh goodness…thats the kinda regifting that is the best kind. The kind where an item has the potential to become a family heirloom that continues to get passed on through the generations.
Ignore the crazy lady and take pleasure in the gift. Your nephew won’t care now, but he will appreciate it in years to come.

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Virg December 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The lady was wrong. Regifting is giving away a gift because you don’t want it. What you did was pass on an heirloom.

Virg

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Eccentric Lady December 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

She called that regifting, really? If that’s the case all heirlooms are regifts? *sighs* Last I knew such keepsakes are usually valuable – both to the giver and the receiver; it’s not something unwanted given to someone else!

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Luna December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

There is a diffence between re-gifting something you received and never liked, and passing down a treasured book that is now a family heirloom. If my sister-in-law gave my future children such a sentimental gift, I would be honored and thrilled.

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Enna December 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I think it depends what is regifted. You are passing on the Bible that was your first Bible, personally I think there is nothing wrong with what you did: I call that a sentimental gift. You were trying to find something appriopate and heartfelt, respecting your sister’s wishes. Maybe you start up a new family tradition?

It would be different if you were effectively returning something your sister had brought you.

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David December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I see nothing wrong with gifting a family heirloom to your nephew. The only tacky one here was the woman who decided to insult your gift giving.

I do not see regifting as tacky, so long as the item is either new in box, or as in the OP’s case a treasured item. Tacky is a used potato peeler, a rusted out electric ice cream freezer or giving the gift back to the original giver.

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Erin December 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm

You put thought into the gift and gave your nephew a Bible with sentimental value. There’s nothing tacky about that.

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KB December 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

What you’ve done is not ‘regifting’ but ‘starting a new family tradition’. Regifting, at least to me, requires that the original present be unwanted, and also that the fact that regifting occurs is kept a secret. I’m afraid I see the other lady as very impertinent for what she said, and if your sister doesn’t mind, why should anyone else?

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RigaToni December 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

This is not in any way regifting. Regifting is only tacky if it’s meant in that spirit.

If someone gives you a car, and you don’t need it, so you give it to someone else… is that tacky? No. Regifting stinks if you’re passing on crap you got that from someone that you wouldn’t dream of using because it’s ugly, or the fragrance is awful, or whatever.

Regifting something good that you have two of, or whatever, is just fine in my humble opinion.

The case of giving a treasured family bible though, sounds thoughtful and is more in the way of passing down an heirloom than “regifting”. The lady was tacky herself and projected that sentiment on you. Unkind.

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Serenity S. December 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I don’t think it was tacky, because it was a meaningful family heirloom that you passed on, basically. I think it is only tacky if it was something you didn’t like that someone else gave you as a gift, and then you regifted it to be cheap. So I wouldn’t worry about what that lady said.

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ArtK December 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

The lady was wrong. Regifting isn’t wrong in the first place and what you did was start an heirloom, not regift. No noodle-lashes for you!

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Phitius December 11, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I do not consider this ‘regifting’ in the negative sense. This wasn’t something you had received and were simply shuttling it off to someone else just to get rid of it. This was a cherished and prized item that you were handing down to the next generation. It was a lovely gift that your sister obviously appreciated.

I admit, I wonder if she’d feel the same way about other family heirlooms like china or engagement/wedding rings that are often passed from family member to family member.

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dr nic December 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

That’s not regifting. What the OP did was pass on something that was special to her. That sounds more like the creation of a family heirloom than resifting. If my daughter had received something like this on her first Christmas, I would have been honored.

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QueenofAllThings December 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm

It’s not re-gifting if it’s a family heirloom!

My grandmother gave me her family silver when I got married – re-gifting?
My other grandmother passed on some furniture when she moved to a smaller house – re-gifting?
My sisters passed around various baby items – re-gifting?

If so, I say bring it on! Reuse and recycle, knowing that you passed on a cherished treasure that was appreciated.

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Gracie C. December 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I don’t think passing on a treasured item to be enjoyed by the next generation is regifting. I would ignore the woman.

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Morwaen December 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I gotta say it sounds like the start of a family heirloom that gets passed down to the next generation. Even if your nephew is the first person it gets passed to, because it has to start somewhere, right? I vote not tacky at all! And if your sister was pleased (on nephew’s behalf) that’s really what matters most in any case. :)

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Steph December 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm

My brain just broke. Does this woman think it’s tacky to wear your grandmother’s engagement ring too?

That is a marvelous, thoughtful present. Most importantly, your sister liked it and your nephew will appreciate it when he grows older.

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Hemi Halliwell December 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I don’t think what you did was technically regifting. When I think of regifting, I think of someone giving you something that doesn’t suit you or that you will never use, so you “gift” it to someone who will use it.
I think what you did was appropriate. Now your first bible may become a treaured family heirloom that can be handed down from generation to generation .

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Terri December 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I wouldn’t consider that re-gifting but I do consider it over-stepping boundaries. By giving your nephew his first bible you took that away from his parents (giving him his first bible). Unless you talked it over with the parents and they gave the okay, then no boundaries were crossed. When you have your first baby, are you going to want that bible to be given to your baby?

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