Naughty or Nice? Regifting Trends Across the U.S.

Naughty or Nice? Regifting Trends Across the U.S.

‘Tis the season of…Christmas hand-me-downs? We’ve all found ourselves in a gift exchange situation that left us feeling more “ho ho…oh?” than “ho ho ho!” Whether it’s socks, appliances, or questionable knick-knacks, sugarcoating a polite ‘thank you’ would be the mature response. Or so we thought! With almost half of Americans resorting to regifting, we needed to find out why.

To get in the holly jolly spirit, we decided to deck the halls with nationwide data and find out which states are the ‘naughtiest’ and ‘nicest’ when it comes to Christmas regifting. We conducted a survey to unwrap Americans’ habits when it comes to passing on presents, to reveal which states will land on Santa’s Naughty or Nice List this year. We used the following criteria to determine each state’s score: who’s held onto the less-than-thrilling presents, who’s regifted, tossed, or sold unwanted presents, and who’s accidentally regifted a present to the original giver.

Key Findings:

47.9% confess to the act of regifting a Christmas present

2 in 5 Americans have thrown away a Christmas gift before 

1 in 4 Americans have sold a Christmas present before, earning an average of $60.68 in profit 

Clothing items are the #1 most disappointing Christmas gift Americans have received

Alabama ranked #1 on Santa’s Naughty List, while Mississippi ranked #1 on Santa’s Nice List

Merry Regiftmas: Unwrapping America’s Christmas Regifting Habits 

Whether Americans like to admit it or not, they’re sleigh-ing the art of regifting. Our nationwide survey unraveled their wrapped secrets and yule be surprised at just how often this sly tradition occurs, during the holiday season.

We’ve all been dealt some unwanted presents, but what differentiates us from Scrooge to Cindy Lou, is how we deal with these gifts. Luckily, 93.2% play nice as they’ve kept a Christmas present they disliked or didn’t use. 70.0% of these respondents do so to avoid the ‘Grinch’ attitude by sparing feelings. Meanwhile, 26.2% admit to holiday laziness in not returning, selling, or exchanging gifts; while 1.2% simply lost their receipt.

However, the Naughty or Nice scale sways back to the middle, with nearly half (47.9%) of Americans confessing to regifting mischief. 31.7% of the gift receivers deem their presents useless, while a crafty 30.3% find regifting as a convenient solution – whether they were short on time for another gift exchange, or believed someone else could make better use of the present. Additional reasons from respondents include already owning the item (17.4%), simply didn’t like the present (17.1%), and ‘other’ (3.6%). However, it’s not all so bad as respondents felt that the gift would’ve been better suited to a loved one or friend. It’s the thought that counts…right? 

Practicing early holiday decluttering, 2 in 5 Americans are embracing the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mantra by tossing unwanted Christmas gifts. The motivation behind such Scrooge-like motivation? A whopping 64.1% reported these gifts as useless. To push the Naughty or Nice meter further into the red zone, 1 in 4 Americans have sold off their unwanted Christmas present, pocketing an average of $60.68! You know what they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” 
What sort of gifts are behind these secretive Christmas acts? Turns out, clothing items are the top culprits, leaving 44.6% of Americans disappointed. Hygienic and makeup products (18.2%) claim second place on the disappointment rankings, with ‘other’ (16.3%) grabbing third place with questionable surprises like a clown, fishing equipment, toilet paper, bed sheets, and a grease buddy. Gift vouchers (8.1%) slide into fourth, followed by workout equipment (3.8%) in fifth, and experiences (2.3%) in sixth.

The Naughtiest States: Who deserves coal in their stockings?

To determine which states are the ‘naughtiest’ or ‘nicest’ in terms of their regifting habits, we took our respondents’ answers and their residential states into a weighted scoring system that considered the following: if they’ve kept an unwanted present, regifted a present, thrown away a present, sold a present, and accidentally regifted a present to the original giver. 

Not-so-Sweet Home Alabama ranked as America’s naughtiest state in the regifting game, scoring 0 on the niceness scale. Only 52.0% of Alabamians play nice by holding onto an unwanted Christmas gift to spare feelings – the lowest percentage in the country! They’re also the fourth highest (60.0%) in regifting frequency nationwide; and sixth highest on accidental regifting to the original buyer. It’s safe to say that Santa might be taking a detour this year! 

Indiana is America’s second naughtiest state nationwide, with a total score of 6 out of 100. Hoosiers lead the nation (46.1%) in the gift reselling game, making an average profit of $34.28 in return. Adding to the holiday drama, Indiana residents claim the third-highest percentage in accidental regifting. An additional 57.6% of Hoosiers also confess to tossing out unwanted gifts, securing the fourth-highest percentage in the country. Indiana sure is adding a dash of spice to the holiday season! 

Arizona takes the bronze as the third naughtiest state in America, with a score of 7 out of 100. Arizonans showcase their reselling habits by securing fifth place (35.2%) for turning unwanted presents into holiday cash. To top off their mischievous antics, they also rank sixth in regifting frequency nationwide (58.8%); and land themselves as America’s bottom 14 nicest states nationwide, with only 65.6% keeping undesired presents. Arizona sure is the zone to create some holiday chaos.

Completing the bottom five in our naughtiness rankings, Florida ranks fourth to last with a score of 8, and Nevada fifth to last, with a score of 10. In other words, these are America’s ‘coal in the stocking’ states, so avoid these regions if you don’t want your friends or family playing Christmas swap-a-roo with each other. 

The nicest states that won’t regift your presents this Christmas

In the holly jolly competition of holiday niceness, Mississippi reigns in first with a perfect score of 100 out of 100. A festive 100.0% of our Mississippian residents deck the halls with kindness by holding onto unwanted Christmas gifts, scoring double points on our niceness scale. They also take the lead in our rankings by being last (nationwide) in present tossing, and accidental regifting. Additionally, they boast the second-lowest score in regifting frequency (25.0%). If spelling Mississippi is too difficult for you to spell or say, just dub them Santa’s Elves! 

Hot cocoa and kindness flow in the state of Montana as it secures second place as America’s nicest Christmas state, with a cozy score of 98 out of 100. Montanans show synchronized holiday spirit by matching scores with Mississippi in the following: holding onto unwanted gifts, regifting frequency, reselling, and accidental regifting. The only note that differentiates Montana from Mississippi is that 25.0% of Montanans confess to dumping those less-than-thrilling presents. 

In the winter wonderland of niceness, Maine ranks as the third nicest state nationwide – scoring 93 points out of 100. Throwing away Christmas presents, reselling, and accidental gifting aren’t in their holiday vocabulary. Only 28.5% of Mainers admit to frequent regifting, marking them as the third-lowest nationwide in this act. With such heartwarming generosity, Maine sure does deserve a starring role as the Maine character in the next Christmas Hallmark movie.

Wrapping up the top five in our niceness rankings, Vermont takes fourth place with a score of 76, while Wisconsin and West Virginia share the holiday warmth, tying for fifth (72 out of 100). Celebrate the holiday spirit with no drama in these states – you’ll only find kindness and merriment. 

Methodology

In November 2023, we surveyed 3,000 U.S. residents about their Christmas regifting habits. Through this, we were able to create a weighted scoring system that considered the following factors:

The % of respondents that kept an unwanted Christmas gift to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings – 35%

The % of respondents that re-gifted a Christmas gift before – 10%

The % of respondents that threw away a Christmas gift previously – 10%

The % of respondents that have resold a Christmas gift before – 10%

The % of respondents that have accidentally regifted a Christmas present to the original giver – 35%

Each U.S. state was scored on a scale of 0-100 to find the ‘naughtiest’ and ‘nicest’ ranking. The following states were not accounted for as there was an insufficient amount of data: Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 

The age range of respondents was between 18 to 55+ years old. The representative sample comprised of 51.2% male, 47.0% female, 1.4% non-binary, 0.3% transgender, and 0.1% ‘other’. 

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Author: Alan Flores