Regifting At A Kid’s Birthday Party Is Not Tacky

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shutterstock_143185990I can’t think of a time that I have regifted, but I am definitely not opposed to the idea. Now that I have kids who end up with piles of toys after any event, I’m even more likely to consider it.

I promise you that this isn’t a sad whine about my #firstworldproblems. I know that my kids are very, very fortunate with all of the gifts from friends and family that they receive at their birthday parties. We always thank guests profusely and provide some free beer to sweeten the deal. But I’ve also observed that most kids get an absurd amount of toys at birthday parties, especially if they have invited their class.

What are you supposed to do with toy duplicates or too many toys after a birthday party? A great idea is to donate, which I am absolutely behind. Another economical idea is to regift a brand-new toy as it saves you money at the next birthday party you attend.

The only issue that you may run into is toy-gifting etiquette:

I think re-gifting is tacky. I’d donate it or just give it to someone who needs it(not as a present).

I do not see anything wrong with re-gifting unwanted items, as long as they are still in brand new condition and all that. But my wife thinks it’s tacky and also rude to the original gifter.

I understand regifting things if it doesn’t suit your child or you really are broke & still want to give something. But there are still limits to what & how I would regift. I would only regift something that is in as-new condition & I would certainly not give it back to whoever gave it to us! If I was not sure I would not just in case.

Until now, I hadn’t put that much thought into regifting. I just figured that if my kids got duplicate toys at a birthday party, the extra, brand-new toys would go into the closet for later, with the possibility of regifting in the future. Or, since I have two boys 16 months apart, they could live the spoiled life and each have their own individual toys so that they won’t try to choke each other out over Mega Bloks anymore.

I still don’t think regifting is rude, in the right context. As an adult, regifting might be hairy since you have social expectations to deal with. Your friend might find out that you hated the beige vase she gave you after seeing it displayed in another friend’s house. (Sounds like perfect sitcom material.) But with small children… All bets are off. They don’t really understand what’s going on anyway, and they certainly won’t miss an extra toy here and there.

Regift as you please—but heed the following advice from one smart forum user, “I see nothing wrong with re-gifting, as long as: The item is brand new. You do not re-gift it to the person who gave it to you. The re-gifted item is appropriate for the recipient and the occasion.”

(Image: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock)


  1. KarenMS

    July 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I wouldn’t care if my child received a regifted item nor do I care what someone does with a gift after I’ve given it!

  2. candyvines

    July 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Careful, don’t want to get into RainbowLoomGate territory. JK, not sure if it’s something I’d do since I love buying/making gifts for people, but don’t really see anything wrong with it especially if those rules are followed.

    • Bethany Ramos

      July 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm


    • candyvines

      July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I have a pitch for an article about re-gifting. I just type Rainbow Loom for however many words you need. Boom. Articled.

    • Bethany Ramos

      July 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Hahahahhahaha please do this.

    • Mystik Spiral

      July 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I was gonna say this is coming dangerously close to summoning the self-important ghost of the Wreckler.

  3. Ursi

    July 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Re-gifting actually is an etiquette-approved way to deal with duplicates. It works like this, 2 friends get you the same item, you send a thank you note to both for the item. You keep one item and give the other away because you liked it so much you “bought it for a friend” and one of the items is still around so that if it’s something you display both friends can feel a sense of pride for giving it to you.


    • Bethany Ramos

      July 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Oh snap – this is great!

    • kiki

      July 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      That’s brilliant.

    • fernerrobinson

      July 17, 2014 at 1:22 am

      my Aunty
      Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  4. AP

    July 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Kids’ gifts aren’t often unique enough to classify as regifts. Most kids get prepackaged mass-merchandise, like “Arts & Crafts Fun Set” or “Whatever Barbieish Doll Is In At The Moment.” They’re all pretty much interchangeable, like that “Generic Dad Crap” they sell for Father’s Day, or the stuff off the “Christmas Gifts For Her Under $20 (for people you are stuck buying gifts for but don’t actually know or like)”

    If you can buy it in every third store, no one will know it’s a regift, so why does it matter?

    • Momma425

      July 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I agree.
      I would never ever give someone a regift that had been opened and played with and used- but at the same time, I wouldn’t care if someone gave my daughter a hand-me-down as a gift. She doesn’t care, she can’t even tell, and her birthday is so full of so many gifts that end up shoved in her closet in a month anyway.
      I don’t even care if kids come to her birthday party and don’t bring a gift, and my kid knows that if she says a word, she’s going to get soap or something in her mouth hole because I refuse to have a kid who acts like a greedy little shit and judges other people based on the presents they bring to her birthday party.

  5. JenH1986

    July 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I am a regifter. Based on the rules stated above. I don’t see a problem with it. Sometimes money is tight the gift receipt gets lots etc.

  6. Megan

    July 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I’m fine with regiftng ( toys, I would be hurt if a friend re gifted something I picked out for them) but if you know that your kid has a lot of toys, why not say no gifts on the invite? Or make it a book swap, each kid brings an unwrapped book and takes one home- no excess toys, not goodie bags full of plastic. Edited bc I can’t spell.

    • Heather

      July 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Oh the no gifts things never works. Family will still love to buy things to show how much they love the child, and parents of kids will still buy/bring something because they don’t want to be the only one who actually followed that rule and not have a gift,

    • Megan

      July 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm


    • Grace

      July 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I remember when I was really young, around 7, I went to a birthday party where the invitation had said no gifts. Since we were struggling financially my mom was glad, and it was so much less stressful. But as it turns out, nobody else listened to the invite and brought a gift, leaving me as the only one who didn’t bring anything. The birthday girl got mad at me and I was excluded for the rest of the party.
      Moral of the story- Telling people no gifts seriously never works. Don’t do it.

    • Jem

      July 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      I find that the things I always get doubles of IS books. Like people buy my son books he already has.

  7. Megan

    July 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I’m fine with regiftng ( toys, I would be hurt if a friend re gifted something I picked out for them) but if you know that your kid has a lot of toys, why not say no gifts on the invite? Or make it a book swap, each kid brings an unwrapped book and takes one home- no excess toys, not goodie bags full of plastic. Edited bc I can’t spell.

  8. Katja Yount

    July 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    My mother was fine with regifting but only within reason. One year someone gave me some hideous figurine of children making a snowman and I suggested she have that as a back up for her office Secret Santa. Her response wasn’t ‘no’ because regifting is rude. It was ‘no’ because it’s just rude to give someone something so ugly and tacky.

    • Momma425

      July 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Ok, totally agree.
      Regifting something because it isn’t your style, or you use a different brand of something, or duplicates is one thing. But regifting something super tacky and white elephant is lame. Save those things for white elephant parties.

  9. Iwill Findu

    July 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve re-gifted a few times as an adult. Once was a gift card for bath and body, but I can’t even walk by the store without it giving me a headache let alone walk in there and spend time trying to pick something out for myself, so I felt like it was better then letting the card go to waste. The other time was really rather funny, I re-gifted a wedding gift (a deep-frier) which I knew I would never use (family history of gallbladder and such so it’s just best to avoid adding more fat to the diet) I really thought the couple that I was giving it to would get more use out of it. Turns out I forgot to take the card out of the box when I re-gifted it, the friend that I gave it to found the card when she was also in the process of re-gifting the deep-frier to one of her friends. 3rd times a charm because the deep-frier finally got a home with someone that wanted it. But when I found out the girl I had given it to didn’t want it I had joked that it was going to be re-gifted around town for the next 25 yrs before it came back to me as a gift.

  10. Mystik Spiral

    July 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I had a great-aunt who regifted something for every occasion. You never knew if it was going to be used, new, homemade, falling apart, etc. I guess that’s one of the perks of being 90+ years old. Plus, it got to be a fun game among all her great-nieces and nephews: “What Will Aunt Inez Find Lurking in the Depths of Her Closet This Year?”


    • PAJane

      July 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      That reminds me of the National Lampoons Christmas Vacation movie where the senile old lady wraps up her cat.

    • Mystik Spiral

      July 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Haha, if my aunt had a cat that probably would have happened!

    • Alexandra

      July 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Dang u beat me to it!! 🙂

    • Ashie

      July 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      My sister does this! I have decided shes insane. On my birthday that just past she gave me a used mug, 1 package of cup of soup, and a used magazine! She also gave my husband a used deck of cards last year for Christmas. We love it though, its actually quite hilarious and we all try to figure out what we are going to get next!

    • sudden_valley

      July 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Ha! Cup of Soup! This made my day.

    • JudasSong

      July 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      My curiosity really, really wants to know if that is one packet of Cup of Soup, or one box…

    • Ashie

      July 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Oh, just one packet not the whole box silly!

    • Alexandra

      July 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      “She wrapped up her damned cat!”
      – Christmas Vacation

  11. Guest

    July 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I’m a donate-er. Lots of stuff gets passed along in our town from family to family so it seems like the thing to do to keep the good karma train going.
    For the crap I get from my husband’s family, it goes straight to the thrift store or charity garage sales….if they ask where such an item is, I say I put it away for re-painting and it slipped my mind! I’ll have to dig it out…

  12. havronsm

    July 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve been regiffting since I was a kid. I remember in middle school I had received some beanie babies that were the same so I regiffted the duplicates. I actually took one my cousin gave me and passed it on to my best friend, who ran in the samee crowd as my cousin. Know one ever knew and I got rid of one of the weird little animals. (Side note: did anyone else find beanie babies creepy?!)

  13. Lindsey

    July 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    A brand-new toy is not a regift, it is simply a gift. It’s the same with anything that is not personalized(unless you happen to have friends that have kids with the same name). But duplicates should either be regifted or returned, otherwise you are wasting the gift that someone gave your kid or you.

  14. Myra A Cottrill

    July 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Re-gifting can be great in this situation as long as you stay classy about it. Don’t point it out to the original gift giver, and don’t be a jerk about it, right? Re-gifted my gift to another child? Great! At least it’ll get used.

    The only thing that really pushes my buttons is gift registries for children’s birthday parties, and complaining about a gift and asking the gift giver to take time out of their schedule to take the gift back and get something else. (It happened to me, and yes, it was the same damned person.) As long as none of those things occurs at a party, I’m totally good.

    • Greta Young

      July 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      What?! People make gift registries for BIRTHDAY PARTIES???? Wow.

    • Myra A Cottrill

      July 17, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Yep…it’s a real thing. I have a friend who creates one for her kids every year. There’s no pressure to buy off the registry, but I’ve been requested to return my gift and get a new one more than once. Seems that presumptiveness and gall go hand in hand. 🙂

  15. Jem

    July 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    My mom always had a shelf on our towel closet with books on it that we had duplicates of. They were always in brand new condition. We knew that these were for class christmas parties and yes for birthday parties if needed. Not every kid wants a book for a present but they did come in handy. I do the same for my son. if he ever gets a book we already have or a puzzle, I thank the person profusely, don’t tell them we already have it, and then add it to the shelf in our closet. We have regifted a few in brand new condition but never to anyone related to the original gifter. And who would know anyway? they are generic things like a copy of Green Eggs and Ham or an alphabet puzzle.

  16. Zunair Butt

    July 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    thats how apple beat

    • Mystik Spiral

      July 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Apple beat samsung by regifting? OK, crazy spammer…

  17. Katherine Handcock

    July 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t think it’s rude to regift (given the requirements from the forum user, who I think hit the nail bang on the head.) However, I take a bit of a different perspective. I budget for birthday parties we’ll attend, so I’ve already got that money planned for spending. But some kid out there will probably never have a toy without donations. So my personal preference, in the event of a duplicate, is to donate it.

    That said, I’d only do that if my kids didn’t want the duplicate. For one of my birthdays, I got three Cat-Ra action figures, and it was the best gift ever. After all, that way, there was Cat-Ra, the evil twin, and THE IMPOSTER IN DISGUISE in every one of my games 😉

  18. RW

    July 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I specifically encourage re-gifts instead of people buying gifts. Especially with toddlers, they a) don’t care, and b) only play with them for such a short time anyway.

    • momjones

      July 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      I think that is a brilliant idea. Why not put that on the invitation?

    • RW

      July 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      I totally do!

    • momjones

      July 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      This could even be taken to another level – baby showers, bridal showers (not necessarily the “big” one, but a smaller one with certain friends).

    • Momma425

      July 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      I LOVE this.
      I have a coworker who made a registry with simpleregistry. The registry basically has items that they looked at and like, but they state right at the top that hand-me-downs and re-gifts are as good as new to them. On every single thing she registered for, she explained that this was an example of the style they were looking for, but if you find a different brand or have a hand me down in good condition, that would be wonderful.
      It was so…chill and awesome and so different from the gift-grabby, tacky, irritating shower registries I have seen.
      Good idea for birthday parties too. I LOVE hand me down clothes in perticular because it pains me so much to spend $30 on an outfit my daughter will fit in for 5 minutes.

    • Greta Young

      July 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I guess some people don’t appreciate being instructed when it comes to gift-giving. Personally, I love the idea of “in lieu of mindless consumerism, please consider bringing a gently used hand-me down or outgrown toy,” but I guess people like shopping…? I’ve also seen party invites where they specify that instead of birthday gifts, they will be collecting books/toys to donate to charity, which again I think is awesome, but I guess that gets a lot of eye-rolls. Personally, I don’t see the problem with it and think it’s a great idea.

    • samantha

      July 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

      I’ve seen that on wedding invitations as well. I think it’s a lovely sentiment, but I did hear guests speaking negatively about it which I just don’t understand.

    • Iwill Findu

      July 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      My one sister doesn’t have much money so she always re-gifts (at lest to us) her old baby/toddler stuff and I love it. Right now it doesn’t make a difference as far as gender goes (she has boys I have a girl) because a riding toy is a riding toy and so on. And I know that what ever she gives my daughter has already been “mommy tested and approved” because if you hate something you don’t pass it along to family. You send it back to the company, give it to someone you hate or burn it in a bonfire well you dance naked.

  19. jendra_berri

    July 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I think we’re missing a potential minefield here. Kids often have the same circle of friends. There’s a good chance they might discover their gift to your kid was a duplicate of something they owned. They’re definitely going to notice if your kid gets another of the same gift at their party.
    So, if that kid is at a bday party with your kid later and you regift that duplicate in front of them, you think they’re not going to know? A small kid may or may not notice, or they might say, “Hey, I got you that on your birthday!” Or their parent might be there and give you some mad side-eye.
    Just donate it, man, unless you’re a social ninja who can keep track of who knows who and might be invited to what.

    • jen27

      July 16, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      But the fact is that sometimes you give the same gift to another friend without re-gifting. I know there have been certain toys/kits/whatevers that my daughter has absolutely loved so much that when it comes time to pick out a gift for another kids birthday she has given them the same thing she got for hers just because she likes it so much.

      Either way I don’t see why parents get so uptight about the whole re-gifting thing? Sure, if you are giving it back to the original gifter it’s not great, but if you are simply passing on a duplicate toy to another kid you think will enjoy it, what’s the big deal?

    • JAN

      July 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Where I live theories don’t open gifts at the party, so this isn’t as much of an issue.

    • Momma425

      July 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Honestly- who is going to keep track of that? I can barely keep track of my own kids’ toys, let alone someone else’s kids’ toys. When we go to the store to pick out gifts, I let my daughter pick it out- so she might remember what she gave someone, but I definitely don’t. I would have NO idea if someone regifted something back to her.
      I have no issue with donating either.

  20. Lackadaisical

    July 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    For me it depends on the present. If it is a brilliant present that happens to be a duplicate and the person you give it to really wants it then I don’t see a problem. I have never re-gifted for a kid but if my children received something and I later found out it was a re-gift then I would not be insulted and I would not think less of the other person. We live near a council estate and so have a higher income than the rest of my kids friends. I would completely understand re-gifting to keep costs down and not waste a good yet unwanted present, just as I have absolutely no problem with a lot of the kids giving my children very cheap presents. The present is not the point of a birthday invite and kids are utterly oblivious to price tags. I’m just glad that the kids arrived at my children’s party to share the fun so that my kids could have a happy time.

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