Monday Manners: Re-gifting unwanted Christmas presents
MOST OF US HAVE BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END OF A CHRISTMAS PRESENT WE DIDN'T LIKE VERY MUCH (OR MAYBE NOT AT ALL!) ... BUT SHOULD WE RE-USE, RE-GIFT - OR JUST CONSIGN TO THE BACK OF THE CUPBOARD FOR ETERNITY? OUR MOSMAN COLLECTIVE MANNERS EXPERT ANNA MUSSON HAS ALL THE ANSWERS!
We've all been there at some point.
Waking up on Christmas morning - and expecting a new handbag, or that pair of diamond earrings you've been dropping hints about for weeks ... only to find a brand new iron waiting under the tree!
The odds are that we will open at least one unwanted present this year (usually from a distant relative who thinks polyester undies, or perfume that smells like cats pee are great gift ideas!) - but is it OK to flick pass them on?
Well the answer, quite simply - is YES!
Recent studies show that about half of us are comfortable to re-gift, but there are a few guidelines to follow when it comes to socially acceptable re-gifting items.
My Top 5 suggestions for presents that get the re-gifting green light are:
1. Boxed candle
2. Wine or champagne
3. Luxury chocolates
4. An orchid (seriously these can be very impressive!)
5. Stylish key ring
If you do have a few unopened, unused and unwanted gifts stashed away at home (and lets face it, we all do!) consider these options before re-gifting to someone else:
1. Would they love it? Don't even think about giving Nanna that pair of flouro sunnies you got from the servo.
2. Remember to keep a list of who has given you presents in the past. There's nothing more embarrassing that re-gifting to the person who gave it to you in the first place!
3. Re-wrap the gift in some beautiful paper and include a card – this allows you to check for evidence left by the original gift giver (like a handwritten inscription in a book, or a card placed in between its pages!)
4. If in doubt, ‘fess up and tell the person receiving your re-gift that it is something you can't wear, or use.
WHAT IF YOU ARE ON THE RECEIVING END OF A RE-GIFT?
Graciousness is always your best option. A simple, “thank you Mary, it’s lovely” will suffice, even if there is a personally written card left in the box for Mary and her husband Steve (this actually happened to me!)
WHAT IF YOU RECEIVE A GIFT THAT YOU HATE? IS IT BETTER TO LIE, OR SHOULD YOU BE HONEST?!
It is always better to let a person down gently, or better yet - not let them down at all! While you don’t have to go over the top and say, “I LOVE IT” - try giving the impression that you do! A polite thank you is the absolute bare minimum.
SHOULD YOU OPEN PRESENTS GIVEN TO YOU BEFORE CHRISTMAS DAY?
If it’s a gift from a client, my advice is that it's socially acceptable to open it right away (so you can sincerely thank them). If a family member has popped over to give you a present, I suggest it's best to wait until the big day. And if a close friend is kind enough to give you a Christmas gift, I feel it's best to open it on Christmas Day. What you absolutely must do however, is to alert your friend of your intentions, so they don't worry about why you've not thanked them!
IS IT CONSIDERED GOOD MANNERS TO BUY A PRESENT FOR MY BOSS?
Only if you would like a Christmas bonus! But seriously, YES! Buy a gift for your boss, ideally something that also includes their significant other (like two Gold Class movie tickets - or two champagne glasses - or a picnic hamper). It is essential to avoid anything that could be misconstrued as personal or intimate. That means DO NOT purchase presents like perfume, a beauty salon voucher, or the "Fifty Shades Darker" DVD! You get the idea people!
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE SURPRISES ME WITH A GIFT AND I HAVE NOTHING TO GIVE THEM IN RETURN?
Avoid saying, “Oh I don’t have anything for you ... this is awkward!”
Instead, thank them for their gift and bring something in (of a similar price bracket) - the following day.
My top tip for unexpected Christmas visitors is to prepare an emergency stash of good quality chocolates, stylish candles and boxed wine or champagne (with extra Christmas cards!). Have them within arms reach on December 25th, so you are always prepared and can avoid any awkwardness!
Until next time,