When is it okay to re-gift?
The year I met the man I would marry, we were living in different cities and hadn't spent much time together when Christmas came around. It was difficult to know what to give, how much to give, and how much to spend. I looked for inspiration. I consulted friends. I visited a lot of stores in search of a great gift. I ended up with a few gifts, some that I made myself and a couple that I purchased — a really nice, black sweater and some cologne. They were all warmly received; but later on, it became clear that the cologne would never be used. My guy just doesn't wear cologne. (Drat!)
It took about four years before anything was done about it. It had become part of the décor up on the shelf in the bathroom until one of his sons came to visit. A single hug gave me a whiff of his son's cologne and the wheels started to turn. I found a way to inquire about his cologne and learned that he really likes to wear some kind of scent. I made an inquiry of my fiancé to see if he would be okay with my giving his son the cologne. “Sure!” he said. Before his son left, I asked if he would like the bottle of cologne I had given to his father, and he was more than pleased to receive it. I didn't actually wrap it up and give it to him as a gift, but I was kind of acting like the re-gift broker in that deal. Technically speaking, I don't think it was re-gifting, but it's about the closest I've come to re-gifting anyway.
I can't say that I feel terribly comfortable with the idea of re-gifting. Usually, people put a lot of thought and, of course, their hard-earned money into the gifts they give. It seems like giving their gift to someone else would be very insensitive of their thought and effort. On the other hand, when I realized that my gift wasn't something my future husband would ever want or use, even I wanted to re-gift it to someone that would use and appreciate it. So I can see how re-gifting makes sense in certain circumstances. At least in our family, this felt comfortable and made everyone happier.
But what do you think? Have you ever re-gifted or received a gift you knew was re-gifted? Is it okay to re-gift rather than spend money on a gift for an office party or other group situation? Would you be offended to know your gift was given to someone else?