Re-gifting now more socially acceptable

December 8, 2008 7:22:31 PM PST
If your finances are tight, you might be thinking about re-gifting this holiday season. 7 On Your Side looks at why it may now finally be socially acceptable.

So many people do it, but few admit it. For years, re-gifting was considered tacky. But with the economy the way it is, the experts say, why not?

"I think a gift is a gift. Actually, when you come into possession of the gift, once you get it, you own it. You can do anything you want with it," says Syndi Seid, the San Francisco-based author of "Etiquette in Minutes."

Randy Cohen, an ethics columnist with the New York Times agrees.

"The purpose of giving someone a gift is to give them pleasure, is to do something kind for someone," says Cohen. "You don't have to adhere to a rule as long as you listen to the human heart."

Seid adds, as with any gift, you need to put some thought into a re-gift.

"The number one thing is that you should give a gift you would ordinarily buy for the other person anyway. It's not just something that you had, like you say, around the house and you're just giving it away," says Seid.

Good Housekeeping magazine reports more than half of those have re-gifted in the past or say they will in the future. The most important thing is not to make the following mistake.

"When I got married I received a Tiffany's bud vase from another couple and when I opened the box it still had the card to the other couple in it," says re-gift recipient Samantha Casetty.

Shoppers we talked to at Union Square had their own ideas about re-gifting.

"That's wrong. I don't think that's right. I wouldn't do that," says Kendrick Holson of Daly City.

"I usually suck it up and just say thank you... it's the thought that counts," says Sam Gardner of San Francisco.

"Just accept that they tried," says Alison Tittiger.

But it is for that very same reason others gave re-gifting their seal of approval.

"If I really wanted it, or the person who gave it gave it because he either couldn't afford anything or it wasn't a problem, I would be thrilled," says Sebastian Erikson of Faroe Islands.

We even found one person who admitted to re-gifting.

"Sorry, I'm busted. I didn't say who gave it to me," says a re-gifter.

Gifts that are OK to re-gift include anything with sentimental value, jewelry or even a book or DVD that your kids enjoyed.


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