Finally. Some news we can use.
Thanks to The Wall Street Journal, we have been reintroduced to a study done last year by American Express that found 79 percent of the 2,000 Americans surveyed said they think regifting during the holidays is socially acceptable.
Whew. This is such a relief. After years of feeling guilty and sneakily rewrapping a gift, we are being told most people say it’s OK to pass on those perfectly fine but somewhat disappointing (to us) gifts we have received and left in the original box.
You know them well: little leprechaun tea strainers; pink-and-green striped wool mufflers and matching mittens; a set of six iridescent liqueur glasses; books on every place you need to visit before you die and every book you ought to read before you pass on and every soup you must make before you meet your maker.
Those of us who read Emily Post, mistress of etiquette, may remember that she frowned deeply on regifting. (She called it recycling.)
That said, the Emily Post Institute reluctantly says regifting is acceptable under three conditions: the gift is something you know the new recipient would be delighted to receive; the gift is pristine and never used; and the item is not something the original giver took great time and effort to choose or make by hand.
We might offer a fourth condition: The gift was not given to you by the person to whom you are now giving it. (We remember with shame the year we wrapped up a hand-carved chess set for our favorite chess player who had thoughtfully presented it to us in a previous year.)
The idea is not to hurt anyone’s feelings. As Emily Post says, if in doubt, don’t do it.