December 16, 2011
Editor’s Note: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is writing a blog called “Food for Thought.” It is available online at http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.
As a Southerner, born and raised into a household run by a very strict and proper southern Mom, I never heard the word “re-gifting” until a few years ago. That may sound odd, but we’re a quirky bunch. In my mother’s world, the mere thought would have been so tacky, in such poor taste, she’d have been simply mortified.
In light of the current economy and my realization that not everyone was raised with the same hang-ups I was, I have come to realize that, not only is re-gifting done regularly, there’s an actual science to it. Rules apply. And while the practice of re-gifting seems to be widely accepted, everyone seems to try to hide the fact that a gift is a re-gift.
I came up with a list of basic rules of re-gifting for the novices out there, myself included:
• Never, EVER, re-gift underwear, lingerie or socks. That’s disgusting. It simply isn’t done.
• Never use an item, then attempt to re-package it and give it to someone else. You have to draw the line somewhere. I got a salad spinner one year that had a piece of dried lettuce stuck to it. I’m thinking it was re-gifted.
• If you re-gift a food item, be mindful of the expiration date. Moldy cheese and dried up chocolate are dead giveaways.
• Don’t re-gift anything that’s broken or otherwise damaged. Very poor taste.
• If you re-gift, at least re-wrap. Scratched out “To/From” names are a dead giveaway, and any woman worth her salt can spot her own wrapping a mile away, ten years after she did it. Re-wrapping avoids that awkward moment when you realize you just gave someone the same gift they gave you last year (oops!).
Times are tough for a lot of folks, and I was always taught to smile and be thankful when anyone gave me a gift. Yes, I even smiled when I got the dirty salad spinner, for several reasons. Here’s the way I see it: if someone makes the effort to give you a gift, the cost is not the issue. It’s the thought, the time and effort. I can’t be sure, but I think my mom would relax about it, even agree if she were here with me now.
Do you re-gift items?
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at all families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays.