01/02/2011 10:51 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Regifting: The Gift You Keep Giving

A couple of years ago, my sister Yvette gave a friend a piece of furniture, a small table. Her friend appeared to be grateful and happily took it home. Apparently, her happiness was short-lived, because she ended up giving the table to her sister. She had no problems sharing this with Yvette.

We don't like regifting. We think it's inconsiderate and takes the thoughtfulness out of giving. People take great care in choosing gifts (or at least we do); it's not about the cost but the sentiment. Many look at a present as something to cherish, but regifters look at presents as mere stuff. It wasn't good enough for them or they didn't need it, so back in the box it goes with fresh wrapping.

Regifting can be hurtful. Once, I gave a friend a beautiful music box that played her favorite song. I was so happy when I found it and didn't care that it was more than what I had planned to spend. She gave it to someone else and, like Yvette's friend, had no problems telling me. It makes me start wondering whether we really know our friends.

If someone gives you something you really don't want or need, ask if it's all right for you to return it. Or, if there's a gift receipt, return it to the store and get something else and let them know how thankful you were for the gift and that you were able to get something just as special. Yvette's friend should have let her know that she had no use for the table. She could have explained that her sister could use the table and asked Yvette if it was all right to pass it along.

Regifting this year will probably be popular. Do you really want to run into someone wearing or using a present you thought was perfect for someone who instead regifted it? (Regifters often forget about the three degrees of separation.)

Let's bring back the beauty of the art of thoughtful giving.