I had no idea that people actually did this until I met my husband. Not that he is a habitual re-gifter but, when there are things in the house that are still in the box that have never been used, Bob gets creative.
I was horrified when Bob suggested we give an electric fry pan we got as a wedding gift to someone else as a Christmas gift like 3 years later. I mean, can you do that? How do you get away with it? At the time money was tight so I agreed to give this perfectly good gift to one of his brother's families for Christmas. Seeing as how I haven't received it back, I think it found a home.
Turns out I am uncomfortable with this and decide not to let Bob talk me into such nonsense again.
Then I find an article in O magazine about the etiquette of re-gifting.
I was floored.
Re-gifting was so popular that they had an etiquette for it! Unbelievable.
So, let's go over some basic rules.
1. Remember who gave you the gift before deciding to give it to someone. I have feared the embarrassment of giving someone a gift that they gave me. O covered this by saying you could say 'oh, it was so great I decided to get you one!'. Yeah, no one will see through that!
In case you didn't get the sarcasm in that, THEY. WILL. SEE. THROUGH. THAT! Scared you straight didn't I.
2. Do not re-gift a tacky present that you yourself thought was hideous unless you know someone who absolutely adores Coca-Cola paraphenelia and would absolutely die to have that Polar Bear lamp. (Yeah, that would be Bob and my father got him this for Christmas one year - I have tried to block it from my sight line but every once in a while it will jump out at me and scream 'look how tacky I am!!' Okay, the voice is in my head but you get the drift.)
3. Foodstuffs and alcohol can be re-gifted as long as you obey rules 1 and 2 and it is in the same calendar year. Do not keep that Pot of Gold box of chocolates from last year and try to pawn it off this year. I - uh - your giftee will be pissed if they spend the night horking their guts up because of bad chocolate. (Now, I don't know if chocolate goes bad but, I'd be pissed if I found out, but then how would I find out?) Screw it. Don't be a grinch with chocolate. You could hurt someone!
Wine does get better with time but make sure you haven't displayed it prominently in your home. That's right, Bob and I use wine as art because we don't really drink the stuff. Here, I'll take a picture so you can see.
Now, if this were my parent's house the wine would not be around long enough to get put up on the wall. Yeah! I said it! My parent's are lushes! I don't mind because my mother is actually more fun when she is drunk. Seriously, she should've been drunk all the time because then my teenage years may have been better than they were.
Welcome to this episode of My Parent's Suck When Sober.
Whoops, my family disfunction is showing. Excuse me while I tuck that back in place. Next!
4. Is there really a four? Are you still reading hoping against hope that I will tell you it is okay to give that pattent red leather sweater to someone else with loving sentiments?
You know what? I think it would be okay on two conditions. You would have to find something equally tacky and then you should give it to the person who gave it to you. Yep. Screw re-gifting. Give the gift that'll make them squeal in horror.
That aunt who gives you those gifts that make you teeth hurt? Give that wonderful vegetarian gift certificates to the nearest Steak House.
Oh, Oh, you have that person who is always returning your gifts because they didn't like them? Do a craft with macaroni! Return that!
The sister in law who thinks socks are the perfect gift? A wonderful satin thong - 3 sizes too big would be a nice choice. (an aside - Bob's mom does buy everyone socks but that is not the only gift she gives you. Apparently one of Bob's SIL sent everyone a pair of socks for Christmas and it was obvious to everyone that she had bought the jumbo pack and separated them so that everyone got one pair. Hey, if Christmas is hard financially then I would have no problem with that but apparently this woman would then buy gifts worth $200 - 300 for each of her family members. Uncool.)
And last but not least, send my mother an empty bottle of wine - whoops! Got away from me there.
Okay, that's my take on re-gifting. It hurts my tummy to do it but if I'm in real dire straights and I have too much stuff hanging around the house that someone else could use, then yeah, it's outta here.
Aren't you glad we don't exchange gifts.