January 13, 2010
You can forget all that “to be, or not to be” high jinx Shakespeare rambled on about… because this is the true question, people! In recent years, regifting has made its way to the forefront of etiquette questions loitering around the wedding water cooler. In part, because many people have a hard time looking past the tacky “white elephant” nature of it all to see the fabulous side regifting has to offer. (That’s right. I said fabulous.)
Tragically, the regift phenomenon tends to be shown in a negative light. While regifting has probably been poppin’ off since the beginning of time, it wasn’t until a 1995 episode of Seinfeld, when the term “regift” was coined. Thus creating a worldwide buzz about the authenticity and originality of gifts.
Who can forget the scene in Old School, when Frank (played by Will Ferrell) is caught not once, but TWICE trying to regift the exact same bread maker he had just received as a wedding present? Unfortunately for Frank, he broke two of regifting’s cardinal rules. First, he tried giving it back to the person who gave it to him. Fail. Then, he tried to schmooze it in at a child’s birthday party in front of the same cats who saw him muck it up the first time. Double Fail.
Clearly what Frank didn’t realize is that while people will always regift, they need to do it both tastefully and tactfully. I mean, let’s just call a spade a spade. People can argue the tact of this trend all they want, and while the appropriateness level will always be debatable the use of it is undeniable. So, if you ever find yourself in a state of “to re-gift or not to re-gift” (don’t act like you haven’t already), there are certain things you should keep in mind if you want to remain fabulous…
- Don’t regift to the original gift giver. The tact on this is not debatable whatsoever. It’s painfully obvious and heinously rude.
- (An extension of rule # 1) Don’t even regift in front of the original gift giver. If there’s a chance they’ll be present when the gift is (re)opened, don’t even think about it.
- Be mindful of the person receiving the regift. This is the most important rule of all! For example, don’t try to give a six year old a bread maker. (Frank!) While one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure, some things are just plain trash. If you truly want to give something nice, I can guarantee, you won’t find it rummaging through your tattered Goodwill bags.
- Don’t use the gift prior to regifting. This also has “Tack City!” written all over it.
- There are courtesy options available for the nervous regifters. You could call before regifting. For instance, “Hey Hannah, I know you were really hoping for a crock pot, and we actually received three… would you be alright if we gave you one of ours?”
- If you prefer to remain an incognito mosquito regifter, be sure to cover your tracks. Rewrap the gift with love and make sure any remnants, name tags or gift receipts are removed… ’cause this, my friends, is a dead giveaway.
- (An extension of rule # 6) Do NOT regift anything that was personalized for you. I highly doubt Bob & Susan will ever want “Jim & Becca” hand towels.
- If you’re the receiver of a regift – even when it’s totally obvious – be kind and gracious to the person who gave it. You never know the circumstances (hello?!? plummeting economy, much!) or the chances you’ll end up in their shoes.
- ***In the event of a WHITE ELEPHANT EXCHANGE*** Ignore all these rules. In fact, reverse them all. The more deplorable a gift… the better.
Regardless of your stance is on the remixed question of Shakespeare’s classic, the truth is… regifting happens. Heck, there’s a Web site (regiftable.com) dedicated to this notion alone, and the U.S. has even recognized December 18 as National Regifting Day! So, if people are doing it, why not make the best of it? Instead of running away from the cliché, give others the insight to these tactful regifting rules, and hopefully **fingers crossed*** we can make the world will be a better place… one (re)gift at a time.
And please don’t be afraid to leave me your opinions or perhaps your additional rules! It’s always great to hear what other people think!
Filed under: Wedding Etiquette