It’s that time of year again, when one of the most daunting questions on your mind is, “What gifts do I get my friends and family for the holidays?” Some call it taboo, but re-gifting no longer has to feel like a shameful act. The Daily Quirk had the chance to speak with national manner and etiquette expert Diane Gottsman to bring you answers to the questions you’ve been wondering about re-gifting, but may have been too afraid to ask.
According to Gottsman, “It’s perfectly appropriate to give another person an item that doesn’t fit you, or suit your particular needs or lifestyle. The only caveat is to proceed with respectful caution.”
So, how do you proceed with respectful caution when re-gifting to friends and family? Gottman is one step ahead with a list of rules to guide you through re-gifting this holiday season.
Keep it in the original box. Don’t pull the trick you may feel tempted to pull. You know, the whole put the gift in a box or bag from a more expensive store in town trick. You should keep in mind your friend may want to return the gift and will be unaware of where they can return the item.
Re-gift away from the same circle of friends. In a perfect world, you can re-gift your friend that lives out of state or in a different city. This takes away from the awkwardness of the original giver finding out.
Avoid a test run. People are going to prefer a gift that has never been worn or used. If you do try the gift and decide it isn’t the best for you, the best thing to do is be honest. For example, you can tell your friend, “I love this cologne but it doesn’t agree with me. I know it’s your favorite and I would like you to have it.”
Give with good intention. If you really think your friend or family member will love the gift you received, by all means, wrap the gift up beautifully and pair it with a thoughtful card.
Consider full disclosure. No one says you have to give the gift away as brand new. You can always say, “I tried this purse out and it’s too big for me. I know you like larger purses. Would you like to have it?”
Think twice before you give away a family heirloom or something made special. There is, of course, a time and place to give away a gift you have been given. However, if you were given a gift by someone whose feelings would be very hurt if you gave away the gift, then it is best to keep the gift in a safe place and to put their feelings before your own. Bring the gift out when they visit it, and use it if it’s important to them.
If you’re no longer convinced re-gifting is a social taboo, Gottsman says the third Thursday in December is national Re-gifting Day, established by regiftable.com. You may want to consider marking the holiday on your calendar!