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Eight Rules for Regifting Without Getting Caught

Last Christmas, a good friend gave me a bottle of expensive perfume. Very nice -- except the bottle didn't come in a sealed box and instead was in a generic gift bag.

Busted.

This was clearly a shameless act of regifting -- and perpetrated by a childhood friend!

Truth is, regifting is an old practice that's becoming increasingly customary (though not necessarily desirable if you're on the receiving end). We all get stuff that's not the right fit or we don't like, but that other people might enjoy.

Unless, however, you want to sow resentment among friends, coworkers and aunties, learn a few rules before guising an old gift as a new one.

Rule No. 1

Please, whatever you do, make sure you don't give the present back to the person you got it from.

That would be bad. Very bad.

Simma Lieberman, a leadership coach from Albany, Calif., still remembers the time her son got the same LEGO toy she had once purchased for the friend who regifted it. It even had the original card attached to it!

So, avoid embarrassing yourself and always keep track of who gave you what.

Rule No. 2

The previous anecdote illustrates how important it is to remove any cards or distinctive marks before you send the gift off to another home. Many gift receivers have tales of presents that came with cute notes addressed to someone else.

Rule No. 3

Don't regift something that is very distinctive, especially if you live in a tight-knit community, and don't give it to someone within your usual social circle.

Surely your friends and neighbors will remember the polka-dot punch bowl you got last year from a distant relative.

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