The Manners Guy: Gifting and Re-Gifting

Did you get a gift that you're just not into? The Manners Guy has some advice for that.

Woman looks at a small gift with a sour expression
(Dean Drobot / Shutterstock)

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Deja New

When is it okay to “regift” an unwanted present? —Naughty in Florida

You’re certainly not alone in your desire to find a new home for your coffee-table books and unused candles, but there are rules to regifting. Or one big rule, rather: Make absolutely sure your creative gift recycling won’t make it back to the original giver. So, regift only in discrete social circles to avoid hard feelings. The practice of regifting might feel dishonest, but life is too short to beat yourself up over some unwanted trinkets. Regift away!

Omega Mail

Does anyone still send thank-you cards? It feels as though I might be the only one doing it these days. —Behind the Times in Minnesota

This depends entirely on the gift-giver. Traditional types will be delighted to receive a thank-you in the mail (and they might feel slighted in its absence), but plenty of people are okay with a phone call instead. (An email or text won’t do under any circumstance.) The split is generational, though it’s difficult to pinpoint the break in gratitudinal doctrine. If in doubt, send the dang card (and call a week later to make sure they received it).

 The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

This article is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

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  1. Good advice Manner Guy on the ‘regifting’. It’s the least of some of the socially awkward situations I’ve run into, personally and professionally I’ve written of on this site before, especially at the Holidays. In both areas it’s usually something I can fix with either booze, hot chocolate (with mini-marshmallows) laughter and a smile!

    I still send thank you cards here and there precisely because almost no one else IS doing so as mentioned, and it makes a wonderful impression that YOU took the time and effort to do so. It helps to have beautiful handwriting to up the ‘wow’ factor. It’s helped me get some great jobs in the past, definitely.


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