Learn proper way to regift items

Dec. 26, 2011 at 6:26 a.m.

Micki Hauschild saw regifting come full circle for the first time in 1996.

As she waited on her order at Ramsey's diner on Thursday morning, she began to retell the "funny story" that other family members at her table had already heard many times before.

Hauschild said around 1970, her mother-in-law gave a family friend a set of eight cut glass juice and water glasses as a wedding present.

When Hauschild's daughter got married many years later in 1996, Hauschild said she immediately noticed a familiar item among the wedding gifts - a set of cut glass juice and water glasses identical to the ones she saw 20 years ago.

After doing some research on the origins of the glasses, it was confirmed they were indeed the same glasses purchased by her mother-in-law years earlier.

"She thought it was hilarious," Hauschild said about her daughter's feelings on the gift. "She gave them to me because she knew they matched the glasses I already had."

Unperturbed by the obviously recycled gift incident, Hauschild advocates for regifting.

She is not alone.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents in a recent MMI regifting survey indicated that regifting was acceptable.

The phenomenon has grown in popularity through the placement of the idea on Oprah Winfrey's famed list of favorite things and as environmentally conscience people applaud the idea's reduce-reuse-recycle vibe.

Boston-based etiquette consultant and author Jodi Smith said persons who choose to regift should adhere to certain regifting etiquette, including rewrapping the gift; making sure the gift is brand new; making sure it is a recent acquisition so that if the recipient attempts to return it to the store, the recipient will not be told the particular style of the item has not been carried for at least three years; and most importantly, not giving the gift back to the original gift-giver or to a person in the same circle as the person who gave you the gift in the first place.

"Regifting is not purely to rid yourself of some ill-gotten gift. When regifting an item, it must be something that you would have purchased for the individual had you gone to the store. To merely pass along an item you cannot stand is inappropriate. However, if you are allergic to perfume, but know your neighbor loves this fragrance, or if you are on a diet, but your co-worker adores gourmet chocolate, then these types of regifting are perfectly acceptable," said Smith. "For certain items, it is proper to announce the gift is a regift. His grandmother's diamond in your engagement ring adds meaning to the gift. Your mother's china makes the gift a family heirloom."

Cincinnati-based lifestyle expert and host Kimberly Anderson expressed similar sentiments.

"I have a gift cabinet. Often it is full of little items I pick up along the way throughout the year, but there are also items that have been given to me. Often times, when I am headed to someone's home for an evening or want to say more than just thank you, or simply cheer someone up, I will wrap up a little something from this cabinet," said Anderson. "Many people are struggling with affording a plethora of gift giving this holiday season. Being able to reach in your gift closet and giving something that you may never use but you know will bring another person joy, why not?

Crossroads residents expressed similar sentiments.

"I don't have any problem receiving anything if it comes from the heart," said Beverly Zajacek, 64, of Ganado. "There are some circumstances that because of their means, people are unable to go buy anything because they can't afford to."

"A gift is a gift," said Michelle Brown, 35, of Victoria.

Although her car had been burglarized just hours before and all her Christmas presents were stolen, Anne Morris, 52, remained in good spirits about the situation and regifting.

"I regifted within one day," joked Morris, who was visiting Victoria from Salinas, Calif.

Meanwhile, Brad Madigan, 38, of Victoria, said he has no issue with regifting unless it's one thing.

"If it is used underwear, I don't want it," he said jokingly.



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