Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Word on Re-Gifting

Today I hosted a baby shower for our neighbor. We have been getting to know this couple for the last 6 months or so, and they are really lovely. She and her husband are from England, and she invited several of her friends who are also from the UK. And here's what I couldn't believe: almost none of them had ever been to a baby shower. I thought everyone did baby showers--that it was a cross-cultural phenomenon. Like, you know, getting pregnant in the first place. But I guess not.

They told me they'd never been to one, and I was like Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding: "You don't eat NO MEAT?"

And, oh, oh! Remember when Aunt Voula is talking to Ian's parents about her "buh-bopsy" (biopsy) and says, "Inside that lump, they found teeth and a spinal cord. Inside that lump, was my twin!" I laughed so hard I snorted. But, I digress. Sorry.

The baby shower. Right. It was fun. We had cupcakes!

Aren't those adorable? If you a)get pregnant, and b)move to Australia, and c)be my friend I'll throw you a shower with cupcakes, too!

I have to be honest though. My friend Holly helped me with the cupcakes. And by "helped", I mean that she did almost all the work while I sat next to her and chatted. You see, I am not very good at many difficult things, but this one thing I can do. I can chat with you while you do the hard thing. That's okay, right?

We had decorations!

Now, that I did do. Except for the part that Jason helped me with.

And we had games, too, which I am not usually a fan of at showers, but these were fun. And here's where my question comes in for you. If you made it through Aunt Voula and the cupcakes.

What is your position on re-gifting? Allow me to explain.

So I planned these games and I wanted to give little gifts to the winners of the games. I ran out of time to shop for little gifts, and I was trying to keep costs down for the shower. So, I decided to re-gift some things that I have been given in the past and hadn't used.

Now, if you've given me a gift in the past, and are wondering if it was your gift that was re-gifted, let me reassure you: no way! I loved your gift, and I use it/look at it/listen to it everyday. I am actually wearing it/sitting on it/drinking out of it right now. In fact, could you please send more, because I am nearly out of it. I am only speaking of things that others have given me. Just so we're clear.

I confess that, from time to time, I re-gift. But I do so in what I feel is an ethical way. Here are my rules for re-giftage:
1. The gift must be in good condition and not opened or used.
2. It must be something that I consider good quality, just not necessarily something that I need at that time, hence its unopened state.
3. The recipient must not know or be acquainted with the original gifter.
4. I do not re-gift for a major event.

So, what do you think? In situations such as mine today--needing small gifts as party favors, I feel that re-gifting is entirely appropriate. Even ecologically responsible. Ha! See? I am so green and stuff!

But do weigh in, and tell me your thoughts. And I will add that I have been the recipient of a re-gift several times. Once at my bridal shower, someone gave me a gift and forgot to take the card from the original giver out of the gift! Hee hee! That was rich. But I didn't really mind, cause I liked the gift. What about you?


  1. I agree with your re-gifting philosophy and every one of your rules. I have re-gifted in a similar fashion (bridal shower) so I have no qualms about it!

    The cupcakes and decorations are precious! I saw that cupcake tree on a post of Becky's a while ago. Genius. Man, if I baked I'd be all over that.

    And I LOVE Aunt Voula. "That's okay. I make lamb."

  2. I think you have a great re-gifting list of do's and don'ts. Do they not do baby showers in the UK???? Or did these gals just not have friends/family who got preggers?

  3. You, lady, are a monster. Please report immediately to Monster Island, where you will be cataloged and assigned manual labor.

  4. I am SO enjoying that Voula moment!

    That was my twin!

    I totes agree with your regifting/recycling philosophy. I did break a rule once, and regifted someone an electric wok that we'd been given for our wedding, as a wedding present. That would qualify as a major occasion, I guess. But I was very young.

  5. Ah, see Beck--I originally meant that I wouldn't regift a gift for someone's major occassion--a wedding, etc. But not re-gifting something given to *me* for a major event is an interesting point. I haven't done that but you're right--maybe it would be over the line?

  6. No, we got the wok for our wedding.

    And then we gave it to someone else for their wedding.

    See? Rulebreaking.

  7. If you get married within 6 months of another couple, I guarantee that the present you get from them will be either 1) regifted or 2) purchased with a gift card (or store credit) they got for their wedding.

    But I disagree about the used rule. It depends on the item. Like an interesting book, or a vintage nick-knack. Just don't try to pass it off as new.

  8. AUGGGHHHHH! I just typed you the wittiest comment of all time, even invoking Jerry Seinfeld, and then Blogger tells me it got some STOOOPID error when I tried to post it. I am too tired to be amusing all over again.

    Boo hoo. Mostly I said Fun Post! and you have good regift guidelines. But if you are giving the regift for any sort of occasion, you must think it is the PERFECT gift for that person, otherwise you are just doing yourself the favor of getting it out of your closet :)

  9. Michele Renee, the impression I got was that they just aren't done very much there. Though one woman told me she thinks they are gradually becoming more common. It seems to be the same here in Australia, too.

    Mommy Blawger (welcome!) that's a good point. There are definitely some loopholes, especially if you think the item would be perfect for the person. I guess I'm kind of getting at those moments of desperation where you try to make something look new when it clearly isn't--like a candle where the wick has already been burned. (Can you tell I've been tempted to do this?) :)

    And fraught--I appreciate your attempted posting! I'm sure it was incredibly witty and wise. And I agree with you in an ideal world, though I confess my regifting hasn't always been the PERFECT gift. :)

  10. I was totally going to bring up the ecological dimension of re-gifting...yay for you! My sister and her husband got some lame alarm clock as a wedding gift (I mean, seriously?!) but what was funny is that they took the alarm clock out and found a card. The card wasn't even addressed to the couple who had given them the was to some OTHER couple (so, this was an alarm clock that faced multiple re-giftings)...but, inside that card was $150 cash. Happily claimed by my sister and her husband, who were smart enough to look.

  11. Oh! Meghan's alarm clock story is like a re-gifting parable. Thoroughly inspect stuff before you re-gift it!

    I think your rules are excellent. There are tasteful ways and tacky ways to re-gift is all.

    I have to say though, I've taken pleasure in bad re-gifting to a person who had obviously badly re-gifted to me first. Can you say Dollar Store Potpourri And Votives?

    Aunt Voula--hee!