You're on your way out the door for a holiday gathering when you remember that you did not remember to buy Aunt Alice a gift.
Dang it! Now what?
Hey, why don't you take that vase someone gave you last year -- it's still in the box after all -- decorate it in some leftover wrapping paper and slap her name on the top.
Is that so wrong?
Regifting is probably as old as the act of gift giving itself. Some people think regifting is tacky and wrong, while others find it perfectly fine. I think it depends on how you handle the situation.
Brandy Lee Baltier admits she has passed along gifts.
"My son gets gifts that are impractical for our tiny apartment," she said on the Sun-News Facebook page, "so I turn around and give the huge bouncy balls and such to kids who have yards and more patient parents."
David Oakeley said he once received two similar wedding gifts.
"We used one, kept the other one in its original box and at a subsequent wedding, rewrapped it and presented it to the newlyweds," he said. "No harm, no foul."
The phenomenon has led to the creation of the website regiftable.com which offers advice and funny stories about regifting.
"Regifting experiences can range from resourcefully refined to a comedic disaster," the website reports. "It's all about the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why."
The Emily Post website teaches us that convenience and savings should never come at the
expense of the gift recipient.
"Simply put, you have to make sure you don't hurt feelings -- neither the original giver's nor the recipient's," the website advises.
The etiquette site reports that you should not regift unless the following criteria are met:
--You're certain that the gift is something the recipient would really like to receive
--The gift is brand new and comes with its original box and instructions
--The gift isn't one that the original giver took great care to select or make
I believe there can be exceptions, though. If something is a family heirloom, it can be passed along even though it is not new, or if it something you own that someone really admires and you cannot get another one.
Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of The 18th Edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, told CBS News that people should stay away from regifting gift cards.
"There are too many ways this can go wrong," she said. "For one, an old gift card may no longer be worth its face value. How awkward if your friend goes to redeem the card and it has a strange $22.75 balance."
--Always rewrap the gift beautifully and add a new card
--Remove any tags that could indicate you received it as a present
--Never regift in the same social circle
--Make sure it's something the recipient will actually like
--Don't pass on anything that looks even remotely used
-- Patricia Rossi, author of Everyday Etiquette
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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