John Oliver interrupted his winter hiatus to explain the do’s and don’ts of regifting.
“During the holidays, you are going to receive at least one profoundly underwhelming gift,” Oliver said. “At some point this month, you will unwrap a present that induces the sort of jaw-dropping disappointment that one normally associates with the term ‘lettuce wrap.'”
These might include scented candles — which are just regular candles that are desperate for attention — or an edible arrangement, which is just another way of saying, “I don’t know you very well,” Oliver said.
He said gifts should never be redistributed to someone who knows the original gift-giver — so the perfect place to regift is “clearly the office secret Santa.”
“Regifting there is like peeing in the ocean — sure, it’s not right, but it’s an ultimately harmless solution to an urgent problem,” Oliver said.
Regifts should be personalized with an “intimate but vague” note — such as “saw this and couldn’t resist” — to keep the recipient from learning their present has not originally meant for them.
“Do be warned — that could backfire if the original gift could be potentially insulting, like a self-help book or maybe a box of wine,” he said.
Oliver strongly suggested rewrapping presents — or at least stick them in a gift bag.
“Gift bags are the sweatpants of of gift-wrapping,” he said. “Sure it’s lazy, but it’s undeniably better than not putting on anything at all.”
However, he cautioned against regifting more than one present per year and redistributing all your gifts to friends and family “like a festive Ponzi scheme.”
Watch the entire segment posted online by Last Week Tonight, which will return in February: