Admit it. You know you’ve done it. You know you’re probably going to do it again and you probably aren’t feel the slightest bit of guilt for doing it. Chances are that you may have done it during this most recent holiday shopping season, because you ran out of last minute gift ideas. I speak, of course, of regifting.

The phenomenon of regifting has quickly risen back to the surface these last few months, thanks to the credit crunch and the downturn in the economy. People are gripping their wallets more tightly than ever and they’re looking for ways where they can save some money. With regifting, you can take that unwanted present that you got last year and ship it off to someone else who may appreciate it more. There are certainly pros and cons to this kind of strategy, but you do have to tread carefully.

Regifting is Only for Cheap People?

For many people, regifting fell out of favor because it was frowned upon by the community at large. It just didn’t seem right to take a birthday present that you received and turn around to give it to someone else. You could be perceived as cheap, unthoughtful, or any number of other unfavorable characteristics. However, as more people are looking for ways to pinch those pennies, it became a little more acceptable to regift.

Regifting is an Act of Green

From an objective point of view, (almost) everyone wins with regifting. If something is going to go unused and unappreciated anyhow, it may as well go on to someone else. This can help the wallet of the person doing the regifting and it can help Mother Nature by reducing the amount of junk that ends up in the landfills. No extra money, aside from a little gift wrapping, needs to spent, but a little extra happiness can be achieved. The downside, of course, is if the the original gift giver finds out that their gift has been regifted. That would make for a rather unpleasant situation.

Two Rules for Regifting

As a general rule of thumb, you should never regift within the same social circle. For example, if you received a gift from a co-worker, you probably shouldn’t regift that present to another co-worker. This just avoids unnecessary conflicts and confrontations. Instead, take that gift and give it a family member who will never visit you at work. Another general rule is to never regift anything that may have some personalization or sentimental value. That’s just mean. Tossing a treasured family heirloom to a random acquaintance is probably not the brightest of ideas, especially if it has been engraved with “From Your Loving Aunt Trudy.”

I didn’t do any regifting during this most recent holiday shopping season, but I did do some regifting with a blog contest or two. That is, if you count the redistribution of trade show swag as regifting. Does that count?