HR Strange But True!
October 05, 2006

The holiday season is fast approaching. With it comes workplace celebrations and gift giving among co-workers ... and possibly a good amount of re-gifting.

More than 50 percent of Americans admit to re-gifting (that is, taking a gift someone has given them, wrapping it up, and giving it to someone else), and they plan to re-gift in the future, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

The survey found that re-gifters are often repeat offenders. Of those who have re-gifted, 93 percent have done so more than one time, and 40 percent indicated having done so at least four times.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said that re-gifting some or most of the time is acceptable.

What do the etiquette experts say?

"Re-gifting is a hotly debated issue and should only be done rarely and under specific criteria, such as if you're certain the gift is something the recipient would enjoy," says Peggy Post, etiquette expert and author of Excuse Me, But I Was Next. "However, if you're in doubt, then don't re-gift. Only you can decide whether to re-gift and how to do it appropriately, so think through each situation carefully."

Respondents who have re-gifted give a few different explanations for the practice.

  • They felt the item was perfect for the new recipient (77 percent).
  • They felt comfortable giving a re-gift they received but didn't want (69 percent).
  • They didn't have enough money to buy a gift (30 percent).
  • They were too lazy to buy a new gift (9 percent).
  • They were motivated by dislike for the recipient (4 percent).

The survey found that the most popular types of gifts to re-gift included decorative household items, tchotchkes, knickknacks, and trinkets.

Ninety percent of respondents who have re-gifted said that to the best of their knowledge, they have never been caught.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey on behalf of Tassimo Hot Beverage System. The survey included 1,505 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older.

We'd like to hear your workplace re-gifting stories. Have you ever re-gifted to a co-worker or boss? Have you ever suspected a boss's or co-worker's gift was re-gifted? If we get enough good stories, we'll include them in a future issue. Just send an e-mail to and indicate how you would like to be identified, if at all.

Sources: Harris Interactive and Tassimo Hot Beverage System

TGIF - It's HR
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