Most people keep linens in their closets. Jill's closets are filled with things—slippers, purses, hats, bracelets…the list goes on and on. "I would say that 75 percent of the things that I receive as presents go into the gift closet." From there, each trinket is passed on to another person, for a birthday, for Christmas, or for a special occasion. Jill admits she's a re-gifter—but she doesn't call it cheap. "I call it resourceful," she says.
She wants to know: "Is it rude to re-gift, and what in the world do I do when I get caught red-handed?
What the Experts Say
Kim Izzo, etiquette columnist: Well I hate to say it, but, yes, it is rude. It seems like a twisted form of recycling. You can absolutely pass it on, but be open about it. Do it in the moment. Don't reroute it! I would just never pretend that I bought something.
Ceri Marsh, etiquette columnist: It's not just rude, it's kind of tacky! I would rather see you give it to charity because then you're actually doing some good, not taking credit for having done something that you didn't. But really, just don't do it. It doesn't honor the thought behind the gift.
Harriette Cole, syndicated columnist: I don't agree. I think that the intention is important; the spirit of giving is very important. My husband and I have a gift closet with things that we have received over time that we re-gift. We don't always tell people—we don't usually tell people, "Somebody gave this to me." But we match up the gift with the right person. So if there is somebody who would absolutely love something that I cannot use—I give it! I don't think you have to say, "Somebody gave it to me." But you talk about getting caught. That shouldn't even be an issue. It's just, "I'm giving you something that I think you will value." If they discover that somebody else gave it to you, so what? But if you give it to your little group of friends, that doesn't work so well.
E. Jean Carroll, Elle magazine advice columnist: I love the concept of re-gifting—I think we should do it with our men! When we get tired of our boyfriend, give him to a girlfriend. Don't let a good man go to waste!
Published on July 14, 2004