'Regifting' a present unlikely to offend giver
Those feeling red-faced about masquerading their unwanted gifts as fresh presents this Christmas can take heart, as "regifting" is far less likely to offend the original giver than is commonly believed, a study suggests.
In fact, researchers said that passing on gifts should be freely encouraged and we should stop feeling guilty over the practice.
Experts at the London Business School found original givers are far more likely to think those receiving should do as they wish with a gift than receivers typically assume - and would rather see the gift "regifted" than thrown away, the Daily Mail reported.
According to a recent survey by marketing agency Arc, a quarter of us would give unwanted Christmas gifts to someone else.
The latest study included an experiment in which volunteers were asked to imagine giving a wristwatch as a gift, or receiving the watch and either regifting it or throwing it away.
Receivers believed givers would be equally offended by either course of action.
But in fact the givers were much less offended to know the watch was passed on as a gift than being thrown away, the study found.
In another, givers agreed strongly with statements such as "the recipient is entitled to do whatever he or she wants with the gift" - but regifters tended to believe givers thought they should keep the present.
Lead author Gabrielle Adams, an assistant professor of organisational behaviour, said: "In short, the taboo against regifting was felt more strongly by receivers than by givers."
However, the experts did warn of one type of gift where the taboo does apply - presents of symbolic or sentimental value.
"Regifting symbolic gifts - for example, a handcrafted scarf - may be more likely to offend givers because such regifting sends a stronger signal that receivers do not value their relationship with givers," they wrote.
The findings are published in Psychological Science.