The Washington Post Sunday


- Michelle Singletary

Trump is bad at regifting. You don’t have to be this holiday season.

I'm definitely an advocate of regifting, but even I had to gasp when Donald Trump Jr. said his dad once regifted him a monogramme­d present he had given him the year before. Seasoned regifters know that’s one of the biggest gaffes when regifting, which involves giving someone a present you received for yourself.

President Trump’s eldest son told his story recently on the entertainm­ent show “Extra.”

An interviewe­r asked Trump Jr.: What was the best and worst present you’ve ever gotten from your father?

Trump Jr. headed straight for the worst.

“Well, I’m the namesake, so I got regifted all the things that were monogramme­d for him at times,” Trump Jr. said. “There was one Christmas where he may or may not have given me the gift that I had given him the year before, because I monogramme­d it.”

Trump Jr. said his dad at first tried to protest that perhaps his son was mistaken, but Trump Jr. said, “I know you didn’t get this.’” How did the son know? Trump Jr. said he told his father, “Because I gave it to you last year.”

In this case, Trump Sr. made a few big mistakes experience­d regifters would never make: He regifted a monogramme­d item, and he lied about it when he was caught.

You can certainly pass along a monogramme­d item if you don’t want it, but you should be upfront and say something like, “I would like you to have this. I can’t use it but thought you might want it.” And never lie if you are busted.

I’m a lifelong unapologet­ic regifter, and I’m not alone.

“Frankly, with global warming, there is a critical need for us to reuse and recycle as much as we can,” writes Jodi Newbern in her book “Regifting Revival! A Guide to Reusing Gifts Graciously.”

Done correctly, regifting is a “wonderful, wise and responsibl­e way for all of us to fight against the continued waste of unwanted gifts,” she writes.

The debate about regifting heats up every holiday.

Some people see nothing wrong with repurposin­g a gift they received but didn’t want or can’t use. It’s a win/win. They can save money and still give something they think the receiver will like.

Others view regifting as deceitful, tacky and miserly.

For a gift to truly be a gift, the thought needs to be followed up by the spending of one’s own money, they argue.

The Emily Post Institute offered these conditions on when it’s okay to regift, which the etiquette site adds should be rarely done.

The gift recipient would like the gift.

The recipient didn’t give you the gift. The gift is new. The gift wasn’t monogramme­d or engraved with you in mind.

“Simply put, you have to make sure you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings — either the original giver’s or the new recipient’s,” the institute says.

Regifting doesn’t mean you haven’t given any thought to what you’re giving. We get so much stuff, I see nothing wrong with tactfully regifting an item you’ve received.

Money Management Internatio­nal, a consumer credit counseling agency, created a web site ( where it collected people’s experience­s with regifting. There’s even a do’s and don’ts page — Regifting 101.

In the spirit of regifting, let me pass along some rules I’ve previously shared with readers.

Never regift used items. The only exception might be a family heirloom or something you may want to pass on for sentimenta­l reasons.

Always rewrap the item. Make sure the item is in its original packing and take the time to wrap it up nice. By the way, if you have to dust it off, you probably shouldn’t be regifting it.

Label gifts designated for regifting. You must keep track of who gave you the gift. Nothing gives the regifting movement a black eye more than tales of people getting back gifts that they have given.

Don’t be a high-priced gift pretender. Don’t put an item in a box from a certain store to make it appear that you’ve spent a lot of money. What if the person asks for a receipt? And if you’re cornered, come clean immediatel­y.

Don’t regift to a known conscienti­ous regifting objector. You know there are people in your life who will mistake your regifting as not being thoughtful enough. If you suspect they will be offended, don’t do it.

Regifting isn’t a bad practice, you just have to know how to do it right — and with panache.

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