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20…40…60… Etiquette question

by Helen Ford Wallace Modified: May 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm •  Published: November 24, 2009

ETIQUETTE  QUESTION   on Parties Extra! – This idea for a question came to us from….a press release


Your Question: With the holidays around the corner, it is time for shopping.  Well, maybe you’re too busy.  Too broke.  You hate to go to the shopping mall.  It would be easier just to package up that unused, still-in-the-box silver bowl for your parents, or that untouched beautiful boxed up candle for your best friend…..but, that constitutes a re-gift!  And isn’t re-gifting tacky?
Lillie-Beth’s Answer: Re-gifting can make sense in today’s economy with the push to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” However, it never feels right to give someone a gift that other people took the time to buy, wrap and give to you to show they cared.

So, yes, I do re-gift occasionally, but only if it’s: 1) new and never been used; 2) something I like or would actually choose to buy new for the recipient; 3) a duplicate of something that I already have; or 4) a cool item that I received in a group exchange where the giver and the recipient aren’t necessarily connected, like in a “dirty Santa” exchange or as a luncheon party favor. Chances are, if you don’t like the gift, your friend won’t either.

Whether you buy the gift, make one or use one that came from somewhere else, the idea behind gift-giving is the same: You’re trying to make the receiver happy. If you keep that in mind, then the rest of it falls into place

Callie’s Answer: The holidays are a time for giving and showing the people you love that you have thought about them and care for them. NO ONE is too busy, and, with the internet at ones’ fingertips, every gift is at your disposal. Also, there is always thought and creativity in a homemade gift. A collage of pictures of the person and you is a great gift that doesn’t cost much! Re-gifting is okay if you never used the item, and you know someone else will enjoy it a lot more than you!! Just don’t re-gift to everyone! That WOULD be tacky!

Helen’s Answer: It is very hard for me to re-gift. The two times that I gave away a present that I had been given, I felt like the gift receiver knew that it had come from someone else and that I was betraying the person who gave me the gift in the first place. And I checked and re-checked the poor, lowly gift for evidence that it had been given to me. For my own peace of mind, I leave re-gifting alone.

Author Jodi Newbern: In her just-released book Regifting Revival: A Guide to Reusing Gifts Graciously (a road-tested guide to re-gifting ideas and etiquette,) Jodi offers sage advice to the would-be re-gifter.

“In these days of recycling, reselling, and recession, there needs to be a resurgence of re-gifting,” says Newbern.  “This can only be good for mankind, the environment, and gift-giving in general.”

(Callie, a college sophomore,  is a debutante this year and has been in many new social situations recently and Lillie-Beth is a former  debutante and assistant features editor for The Oklahoman and Helen has written a social column for The Oklahoman for many years and has been on various local Ball committees.

This group does not always agree (via age differences), but they ALL see the need for proper behavior.)

Ask a specific etiquette question and you will get three answers…Then you decide for yourself how you would handle the situation. The answers have information for every age range….Callie is 20-something; Lillie-Beth is 40-something, and Helen is 60-something.

Please email us with your questions and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and daily blogs. We will try to answer your etiquette questions every Wednesday on the Parties Extra! blog. Sometimes we will ask other people for their opinions.     Look for us! ……

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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