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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


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anon December 11, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Not only did you give a meaningful gift from the heart, you gave him something he can treasure for HIS next 30 years.
    I do not know how the lady you spoke to could possibly class this as regifting. It was your first bible and you’ve passed it on within your family.
    In my opinion regifting is when you receive something new and pass it on close to immediately as a gift to someone else. And though others may not agree, I don’t think regifting is entirely inappropriate anyway, especially if you know someone else will get more use/joy out of an item than you ever will….
    But all in all, I don’t think on this occasion you have anything to worry about. You did a lovely thing and as you said, your sister was pleased (and I’m sure your nephew will be too when he is older…)

  • Silverstreak December 11, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Ummm no…that was “heirlooming” — big difference!! You gave your nephew something precious to you, not something you received at an office party and decided not to use. She is mistaken for sure!

  • HopefulNebula December 11, 2011, 10:40 pm

    I don’t feel that giving a family heirloom that has sentimental value is at all tacky. Nor is it even “regifting.” You obviously selected the gift with care and thought, and that’s not tacky at all.

  • Susan Young December 11, 2011, 10:42 pm

    You were being very nice. It was a thoughtful gift and hopefully you have begun a new tradition and created an heirloom for your family. My understanding of re-gifting is giving a gift you didn’t especially like to someone who might enjoy it more, rather than filling a landfill. In either case, she was rude to say something to you.

  • Sterling December 11, 2011, 10:57 pm

    Actually no that is not resifting and it isn’t tacky. Regifting is finding something that someone gave you or is just laying around the house and with not much if any thought wrapping it up for someone else. What you did was start a family heirloom by giving a keepsake that meant a lot to you to someone in your family. It isn’t rude. It would be like saying my grandmother’s wedding band which was given to my mother and now is being given to me is “regifting”. The only rude person in the story was the woman who claiming what you did was tacky. I personally think what you did was lovely.

  • alex December 11, 2011, 11:00 pm

    I think what you did was absolutely fine. Regifting would be giving something that you didn’t want to someone else. What you did was you gave a sentimental item (your first Bible) to your nephew. It was passing down, not regifting. 🙂

  • Laurita December 11, 2011, 11:02 pm

    I wouldn’t consider that re-gifting at all. It’s passing along a treasured item. I think it’s wonderful to keep such things and pass them along to the youngest family members. These gifts often have more meaning than shiny new ones.

  • Rae December 11, 2011, 11:09 pm

    Usually, I would say that regifting is not the greatest idea, but I feel that in this situation it was okay because of the sentimental value involved. Hopefully one day, that Bible will be passed down to the next generation for additional enjoyment.

  • Edhla December 11, 2011, 11:16 pm

    I’m probably about to be howled down, but as far as I’m concerned no, this is not regifting. Regifting is when you pass on a gift you don’t want to another person (often with the implication of because you’re too cheap/lazy/bad mannered to buy the person their own gift.) What YOU did was pass on a special item of yours to your nephew with the idea that it might become an heirloom. Totally. Different. Thing.

  • Lily December 11, 2011, 11:28 pm

    Regifting is only tacky when it’s thoughtless. “I don’t want this, so you can have it and not want it either.”

    It sounds like your gift was very thoughtful and meaningful, particularly for your sister.

  • Amanda S. December 11, 2011, 11:50 pm

    And here I thought that family heirlooms were started by one generation passing on something meaningful to the next. I guess everyone’s family heirlooms are just “tacky regifting”.

    If anyone in this story was tacky, it was the woman from church…IMO. I think that what you did for your nephew was a very beautiful and touching thing!

  • Rita December 11, 2011, 11:51 pm

    “Regifting” is defined as passing on a gift you received that you did not want. This gift was passing on, what you hoped, was in fact a family heirloom. I doubt that anyone who receives grandma’s sterling silver, that was in fact given to grandma decades ago as a wedding gift, would call it “regifting”. Gifts are from the heart…

  • Laura December 12, 2011, 12:22 am

    That’s not a re-gift, it’s handing down a family heirloom.

  • Mary December 12, 2011, 1:26 am

    Haha, what? Regifting is passing on a gift you got and didn’t want, just to get rid of it. Giving a treasured personal possession that you believe the recipient (or his mom) will also treasure is not regifting, even if you received it as a gift lo these many years ago. It’s the thought that counts.

  • Stephanie December 12, 2011, 1:28 am

    That’s not regifting, or even a hand-me-down, that’s an heirloom. The lady had no business judging your choice of gift. And in regards to her use of the word regifting, well, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (In the words of Inigo Montoya)

  • Iris December 12, 2011, 3:13 am

    Regifting is passing on a gift that you didn’t want, and passing it on presented as a *new* present that you bought. What you did was pass on a family heirloom that meant a great deal to you as a child to a beloved nephew. That woman was wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • Kay December 12, 2011, 3:44 am

    Regifting to me would be giving a present you’d received but didn’t really want to someone else as a way of avoiding the purchase of another gift. What you did was pass down a really meaningful family object to your nephew, and that’s lovely.

  • Divine Bird Jenny December 12, 2011, 3:49 am

    I totally disagree. Regifting is a) not necessarily tacky and b) this wasn’t regifting. This was passing down a treasured item to be a family heirloom, and the gift was given thoughtfully and with love. ‘Regifting’ is when, say, I get an electronic bartender in a gift swap, and, not being a drinker and therefore having no use for such a thing, later wrap it up and give it to someone else who would appreciate it. (That example really did happen.) However, no one need know that I received it.

    I actually think regifting is pretty cool. In my family, especially my mom’s side, ‘new’ gifts were not as important as /good/ gifts. It didn’t matter if you’d gotten it from somewhere else, the thrift shop, or as a free sample. If the object was something the recipient could use, enjoy, or treasure, that was all that mattered. I got some great books this way over the years–many of them from the library book sale or charity shop.

    People get too caught up in the idea that shiny & new = better, when in fact regifting is eco-friendly and could match something up with a recipient who will enjoy the item far more than the original recipient. The lady at the OP’s church was tacky for passing judgement on the OP’s lovely gift. (And I say that as someone who is not religious at ALL–that was a very thoughtful and special gift in a family where religion is important!)

  • Lexie December 12, 2011, 3:50 am

    To me, that was not regifting. Regifting is receiving something you do not like for whatever reason, and giving it to someone else with no thoughts beyond getting rid of said item whether you hate it or you are avoiding spending money. The rudeness scale of regifting depends on the attitude of the giver (‘Ugh, I hate that scent/colour, I’ll just give it to X on their next birthday’ vs ‘Oh dear, I am so broke but I really want to give X a birthday gift. But wait! I have that lovely sweater Y gave me last year that I’ve never worn because it’s a size too small and it would fit and suit X perfectly!’)

    What the OP did was something I personally adore – passing on an item with personal significance to another generation in what could become a family tradition. Your nephew could turn around in thirty years and be gifting that Bible to his children or nieces and nephews, which is priceless and a piece of love and family history that can’t be bought.

    My step-grandmother and I are both born in November. My grandfather passed away 19 years ago, so I have very few memories of him. For my last birthday, she gave me a necklace with Scorpio charm on it – the starsign we both share – and then told me that Pa had given that to her a very long time ago. That is so incredibly special to me, a piece of family history and in no way, shape or form do I feel that passing down items with special meaning constitutes regifting.

  • Kry December 12, 2011, 4:42 am

    I think that sounds like a wonderful gift for your nephew. Passing along your faith as well as a treasured momento of your own childhood. Dont worry over anyone elses opinion of your actions. You knew what would be apropriate and followed your instincts. Well done.

  • Talley December 12, 2011, 4:51 am

    I think the lady was wrong. Giving your nephew your own first bible as his first bible is not tacky at all. In fact, I find it a very thoughtful and lovely present. This bible might very well be something that he will value even more because of where it came from and because of its history – and maybe one day he will pass it on to his own child or nephew/niece.

  • Margo December 12, 2011, 5:20 am

    I don’t think what you did was regifting. To me, regifting is passing on an unwanted or unused gift to someone else, and is tacky only if the original giver is likely to find out, or if the gift is obviously used or poor quality.

    What you did was more in the line of creating or passing on a tradition, and if your sister & brother-in-law were happy,why worry?
    If you’d given your nephew a tattered, dirty book which was falling to pieces, becaue you didn’t want or could not be bothered to find something suitable, then yes, that would be tacky. Giving him something which will be meaningful to his family, potentially to him when he is older, and which has a history, is not tacky.

  • Louisa December 12, 2011, 6:18 am

    Passing on family possessions is not the same as regifting an unwanted, unsentimental item-it is called starting a lovely tradition of sharing special items associated forever with the giver. Would that lady say no to an antique family heirloom? Bet that wouldn’t be seen as regifting!

  • essie December 12, 2011, 8:00 am

    Your sister loved it, your nephew did, too. Trust me when I tell you that “Agga-sha-BOO!” translates to “Why, my dear auntie, how sweet of you! I know this book is precious to you and I understand it must have been a real wrench to part with it. I’m honored you love me enough to make such a generous sacrifice; I’ll treasure it forever.”

    Really, truly.

  • Angela December 12, 2011, 8:06 am

    Giving your nephew a Bible someone gave you last week: not tacky unless you let on.
    Giving your nephew a Bible that was your first Bible: a touching gesture that is in no way tacky
    Criticizing an adult’s gifting choice, especially an adult who is not a close friend or family member: tacky beyond words. I would suggest that you print out all the responses to this post and give her the printout but that would be tacky.

  • BH December 12, 2011, 9:12 am

    I don’t see i as tacky- You were passing “down” your first bible. Not regifting it, it was a sweet gesture. Something you enjoyed and saw your nephew could enjoy it eventually too. Maybe it’s a fine line, but she read into it too much. Your sister didn’t snub your precious gift- be grateful that lady isn’t your siser 🙂

  • Susan T-O December 12, 2011, 9:49 am

    I wouldn’t call that regifting. You gave him a treasured item from your childhood, and didn’t try to pass it off as something you bought for him. And anyway, if done properly, there’s nothing wrong with regifting (making sure what you regift is in good condition, remove any tags that would indicate the gift wasn’t for the person you give it to, re-wrap it, and for the love of Pete don’t give it to the person who gave it to you. Oh, and it has to be something you believe the recipient will like).

  • GroceryGirl December 12, 2011, 10:10 am

    Definitely not regifting and not tacky at all. Regifting itself isn’t tacky in any case…unless you wrap up something that has been used. Or you regift a gift to the person who originally gave it to you. I agree with Divine Bird Jenny; buying something brand new doesn’t necessarily make it better. I recently bought skirt on sale, it looks weird on me but I know it will look perfect on my sister so I plan to give it to her for Christmas. It’s never been worn, still has the tags on and everything, what’s wrong with that?

  • NOPH December 12, 2011, 10:12 am

    My thoughts on re gifting are mixed. However, to me this isn’t a case of re gifting. When you pass something down like a Bible, piece of jewlry, antique furniture, or even a wedding or christening dress, you are out of the re gifting zone. Your gift was a very lovely and loving gesture. You not only tried to abide by your sisters wishes, you selected a very personal one of a kind gift that shows you care about your newphew and are actively accepting him as the newest member of your tribe(family). There is nothing at all tacky about this.

    The lady’s comment was tacky. However, it may have been off handed or perhaps she has her own grown children that aren’t as considerate or family orientated as you and she’s jealous. Your best bet is to just forget that conversation ever happened. Even better, make a new tradition of giving your newphew a book you loved (at whatever age he is at) every year. Next year you could do “Good Night Moon” or “Pat the Bunny”, the following year “Where the Wild Things Are”, and when he’s around 8 even give him a graphic novel (it’s a bound comic book so the right one could work for a child). You’d probably have to start buying new books, but I always loved talking about books with my uncles and would never have discovered Robert Heinlein without their suggestion.


  • J's Mama December 12, 2011, 10:15 am

    Well then according to that lady, my mother “regifted” the pearl necklace she wore at her wedding to my father to me.

    The lady clearly doesn’t know the difference between regifting and passing down an heirloom. The bible sounds very nice.

  • lkb December 12, 2011, 10:59 am

    Another vote for not tacky at all. The woman who criticized it should think of it as your way of spreading the Gospel — literally.

  • WildIrishRose December 12, 2011, 11:06 am

    I have zero problem with regifting so long as the gift doesn’t go back to the original giver. Giving something you’ve treasured all your life isn’t regifting. It’s heirlooming, as so many have already pointed out. Ignore that woman. She has no clue what she’s talking about.

  • Mary December 12, 2011, 11:07 am

    This is clearly NOT a case of regifting. And I am not opposed to regifting as long as it is done tastefully and with tact. I have to agree with the 77 other posters telling you that what you did was wonderful, a very special gift to be treasured by the baby and his family. I have a number of family heirlooms in my possession and I cherish them. It is a shame that a “woman of faith” would view your gift in a negative light and comment as such. Shame on her. I think what you did was lovely, heartfelt and meaningful.

  • Wink-n-Smile December 12, 2011, 11:08 am

    Regifting is when you pass on something you don’t like. What she did was pass on an heirloom. Not at all tacky.

    Anyway, regifting is never tacky if you know the new recipient will appreciate it. For example, if a tee-totaller is given a bottle of fine wine, then regifts it to a wine afficionado, that is not tacky. It is merely finding the right recipient for the gift.

  • Library Diva December 12, 2011, 11:35 am

    To add to the chorus here, you didn’t do anything wrong. Whose opinion counts in this scenario, your sister’s, or some random lady’s? As someone else said on a different thread, the world is full of strange people with stranger ideas. I hope you didn’t take her thoughtless comment too much to heart. It sounds like your sister was pleased with the gesture, and your nephew will be too, once he’s old enough to understand and appreciate such things.

    On a separate note, I’m glad to hear from others that re-gifting is OK as long as it’s done with some thought, and as long as the items don’t look like they’ve been through the wars. I plan to do that this holiday season, without getting into too many specifics since I know several other devotees of this website in real life. The items that I picked out fit the criteria for a decent regift: they’re in new condition, they fit the general category of what the recipient wants, and I do think the recipient will enjoy them.

  • Wink-n-Smile December 12, 2011, 11:57 am

    Wow! It’s not even 10 in the morning, and this already has more than the usual number of comments. And amazingly, it’s unanimous! You did nothing wrong, but indeed, gave a treasured heirloom.

    This date should be circled on the calendar and go down in E-hell history. Is there a single negative comment on this thread? WOW!

  • Teapot December 12, 2011, 12:02 pm

    This lady gets two lumps of ehell coal in her stocking. First for not knowing the difference between re-gifting and passing on a family treasure. And second for telling anyone that their behavior is tacky.

  • Edhla December 12, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Angela- I just came back to mention that, actually. Commenting negatively on a gift that the person you’re speaking with gave to someone ELSE- whoa. Incredibly tacky and none of this person’s business! You were happy, your sister was happy, and your nephew will no doubt later treasure your gift as something meaningful.

    I also wouldn’t worry about comments (there’s one in this thread, sadly, and you’ll probably get them in real life as I have regarding heirlooms) to the effect of “But when you have your own kids [first assumption] you’ll regret your decisions and want to take all your stuff back to give to your kids [second assumption.]” I get loads of those from people who should really know better than to make those remarks. Let your decisions in this respect be yours and don’t worry about the assumptions others make about your lifestyle, situation, possessions, relationships and decisions.

    Regarding milestone/important gifts like this, it was brought up upthread that you were perhaps rude for usurping your sister’s rights to give her own child his first Bible, or words to that effect. Irrelevant as your sister loved it, but unless you were specifically told not to do so, I can’t see any sane. “very religious” person grudging a loving family member buying a Bible for their child. Honestly.

  • Stepmomster December 12, 2011, 1:04 pm

    A childhood bible is an incredible treasure, that was a very thoughtful gift, and I hope that bible gets passed on for many more generations. Had I been your sister I would have been moved to tears for you to consider my child so precious, instead of saving the bible for your possible future children. That to me is the definition of unselfish.

    Not regifting AT ALL.

  • Cobbs December 12, 2011, 1:27 pm

    I am disappointed in my fellow Christians who violate the admonition from on high to be kind to one another. Presuming to correct another’s behavior is rude. Why do it? The safety of the nation is not at stake. “Oh, how nice,” is the better response.

  • Kat December 12, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Unless there’s something I’m missing, that lady was the tacky one for criticizing your gift to a family member. What business was it of hers?

  • Gee December 12, 2011, 2:19 pm

    As others have said, you were passing down an heirloom. That’s different from regifting. If you were trying to hide the origin of the Bible and pass it off as new, then that might be considered tacky. But handing down something beloved and cherished for another generation to enjoy and love is perfectly acceptable.

  • NotCinderell December 12, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Agreed that this was not regifting but passing on an heirloom.

    Also agreed that regifting is not in and of itself rude, as long as the item regifted is good quality and not used. For instance, a friend received what appeared to be a regift at her wedding from a friend who had just gotten married herself. It was a very nice, very expensive frying pan and friend assumes that other friend probably received 2 of them.

  • Fyrefly December 12, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Look out! If that was regifting, someone better tell the Duchess of Cambridge that Prince William “regifted” her engagement ring! 😀

    Adding to the chorus. Not regifting. Also is the first the time all the e-hellions have agreed on something?

  • Raven December 12, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Since OP described this person as “a lady,” I’m going to assume that this person isn’t someone OP knew well. If that’s the case, then OP shouldn’t give it another moment’s thought.

    If this lady is someone OP knows well … that’s unfortunate.

    Either way, OP’s intention was good, and it sounds like it was well-received. What the woman happened to think of the gift isn’t important, as it has nothing to do with her.

  • Miss Sweetbones December 12, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I wouldn’t consider this re-gifting, either. To me, re-gifting is when you receive something, decide that you don’t like it, and kill two birds with one stone by unloading it on someone else. It’s tacky because you aren’t appreciating the gift that you received and aren’t taking the time to come up with a thoughtful gift for another party.

    What you did was take a gift that meant a lot to you and passed it on to help a young person in his spiritual journey. That’s a wonderful thing to do! The lady in question misunderstands “re-gifting.”

  • Lita December 12, 2011, 5:58 pm

    Aw – that’s sweet! Definitely not “regifting”. I agree, it’s more like passing on an heirloom.

    Who knows. Maybe many years down the line, your nephew will pass that Bible on to his own children. 🙂

  • Anonymous December 12, 2011, 8:45 pm

    And here I was thinking that getting my grandma’s rosary was touching.

  • Anonymous December 12, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Maybe this is a result of our over-consumptive society. New is not always better.

  • SV December 13, 2011, 2:20 am

    Regifting, if done appropriately, is not tacky. But more to the point, what you did could not even be classed as regifting! That is a beautiful, thoughtful idea and a wonderful thing for him to treasure. Be proud of such a great idea!