I’ve been thinking about gifts
and re-gifts today. I know someone who is a notorious re-gifter. She accidentally gives people back gifts that they bought for her, as well as gifts that were obviously bought for her by other people. She has given people gifts with cards tucked into the box that are addressed to her. She’s shameless about it.
Why do I think this is so tacky? It’s because she’s ignoring two underlying beliefs about presents.
The first is that when you give a gift, especially a wedding gift, you’re doing so out of affection and good wishes. You’ve thought about what the person might like, and are attempting to please the person. The second is that when you receive a gift, you are grateful. You recognize the thought that went into the gift, and even if it isn’t to your liking, you appreciate the gesture. By taking and re-giving gifts so carelessly, this woman is negating both of these assumptions. She is neither giving nor receiving out of affection, but out of a sense of necessisity.
That being said, if you’re engaged or recently married you probably have a lot of stuff on your hands that you could do without. There’s nothing wrong with giving these gifts to other people, but put a little thought into it.
Here are some tips on how to be a thoughtful re-giver:
1. Completely unwrap any and all presents and remove any cards (check under tissue paper, you may even find a gift receipt and not have to worry about regifting).
2. Write a prompt and heartfelt thank-you note. Even if you don’t like the gift, you can be heartfelt about the thoughts behind the gift.
3. Keep a list of who gave you what, keep this list wherever you keep the gifts to regive.
4. Do not give gifts back to people, or to close friends or family of the givers, especially if the gift is easily identifiable.
5. Only give the gift to someone who will appreciate it. Don’t give your sister, who has a perfectly decorated red and yellow kitchen the green canister set that your boss gave you. If you can’t think of anyone who would appreciate it, donate it!
6. If found out, be honest, but tactful. “You got me Joan, that lamp was a wedding present. It didn’t work in my house, but I thought you’d get a kick out of it. If you don’t like it I’d be happy to keep it and give you something else.
7. If possible, re-gift at a non gift-giving occasion. If your bridesmaid
would love those candlesticks, don’t wait until her birthday to give them, give them to her now. Gifts are always so much more appreciated when they’re unexpected. If you're nervous about pulling off a re-gift without letting the person know, then giving at a non-gift giving time lets you do so in a more upfront manner.
What do you think? Do you re-gift? Do you mind if someone else does?