from an expert in the field:
from an expert in the field:
Yvonne Durant ( www.yvonneandyvettetiquette.com), is a writer who
blogs about etiquette topics.
Jodi R. Smith is president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
( www.mannersmith.com) and author of The Etiquette Book: A Complete
Guide to Modern Manners (Sterling, 2001; not available at Costco).
Opinions expressed are
those of the individuals or
and are presented to
foster discussion. Costco
and The Costco Connection
take no position on any
Should the DUI
limit be lowered?
Should we separate
commercial banks from
YES: 90% NO: 10%
votes received by
October 31, 2013.
I DON’T LIKE regifting.
Not only is it tacky, it can
also be hurtful.
dictionary defines a gift as
“something given to show
friendship, affection, support, etc.” It does not define
a gift as “stuff” to be casually rewrapped and
given away. Yet that is how many people these
days regard gifts.
Gifts have sentimental value. Take it from
someone who happily agonizes over buying the
ideal gifts for family and friends. It makes me feel
so good that I’m going to make someone’s eyes
light up when he or she opens the gift box and
there it is, just what that person wanted or needed,
and the color is perfect, too!
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 cost more than I
had planned to spend. She later gave it to someone
else and had no problem telling me afterward. It
made me wonder whether we really know our
friends. My twin sister, Yvette, has a similar story.
She offered a small table as a gift to a friend who
seemed happy to receive it. Soon after, the friend
called Yvette and casually mentioned that she gave
the table to her sister. Ouch!
Here’s another true story. A group of friends
chipped in for a present to celebrate a special
birthday for their friend. They elected someone in
the group to shop for the present; let’s call her The
Shopper. It was agreed that the money would be
used to buy an expensive designer scarf.
When the birthday girl opened the box, one
of the friends looked horrified. She recognized the
scarf immediately because she had given the scarf
to The Shopper as a gift! I never found out what
happened to the money, but I know it took several
years for that friendship to heal.
In the world of regifting, someone always
knows someone who knows someone. And with
social media, I can safely say that there are zero
degrees of separation. That beautiful red cashmere sweater a friend gave to you that her cousin
gave to her that you gushed about on the Internet
and they both saw you wearing—in one fell
swoop, you’ve unwittingly caused a family feud.
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.
I consider every present that I have given or
received a gift of love. It’s something to hold dear.
You would never regift love, would you? C
ONE OF MY favorite gifts is
my desktop business card
holder, an elegant fork that
has been remodeled to hold
business cards. Knowing
that “Gracious Dining” is
one of my most requested programs, my mentor
gave this business card holder to me as a meaningful and thoughtful gift. And actually, I happen
to know it is a regifted gift. Did you gasp? Yes, it
is perfectly acceptable to regift. But, as with all the
other areas of etiquette, guidelines must be followed to properly regift.
Brand-new and never used. The item you
are giving should be brand-new and never used—
never worn, never washed, never played with,
even for five minutes. It should be contained in
the original packaging. It should be a recent
acquisition so that, should the recipient return it
to the store, it would be on the shelves.
Perfect presentation. Just as a gourmet meal
would lose its appeal served in a Styrofoam box,
care and consideration should be given to the
wrapping, ribbon and bows on the regifted item.
Also, take the time to be sure any original cards
have been removed.
Separate circles. As you are making your gift
lists, be sure to check them twice. When regifting,
you want to ensure that the person who gave you
the gift does not know and/or interact with the
person to whom you are giving it. The more
unusual the item, the more the distance should be
between the giver and the regiftee.
Really, truly. Regifting is not to rid yourself of
some ill-gotten gift. When regifting an item, it
must be something that you would have purchased
for the individual had you gone to the store. To
merely pass along an item you cannot stand is
inappropriate. Save it for a yard sale. However, if
you are allergic to perfume, but know your neighbor loves this fragrance, or if you are on a diet, but
your co-worker adores gourmet chocolate, then
these types of regifting are perfectly acceptable.
Honesty policy. For certain items, it is proper
to announce the gift is a regift. His grandmother’s
diamond in your engagement ring adds meaning.
Or, as was the case with my mentor, she put the
fork in a box and wrapped it in beautiful paper. In
the card, she wrote about our friendship and said
she knew I adored the fork and it would mean so
much to her to know it had found a happy home
in my office.
As you and your wallet brace for this year’s
gift-giving season, it is my hope that illuminating
this area of etiquette will help ease your budget
and expand your options. C
votes received by
November 14, 2013. Results
may reflect Debate being
picked up by blogs.