Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

Dear Ginger:

At Christmas this year I was given a couple of very nice gifts which I cannot exchange (they were purchased in another state) and which I cannot use. I won’t be more specific for fear I would hurt another’s feelings. I’d like to know if it is okay to pass them on as a gift to someone else?

B.P., White Stone

Dear B.P.:

Ooops! You missed it! National Regifting Day, reported as having been established in 2008, is December 23. My limited research on the topic suggests that the day was chosen because it is the most popular for office parties, which are traditionally opportunities for the exchange of strange and useless gifts.

Of course, regifting for any occasion is acceptable, as long as the following caveats are met:

• “You didn’t use the words hideous, ugly or similar adjectives to describe the original gift.” – Emily Post

• You believe the gift is something the intended recipient would like to have.

• You are not giving it to the original giver, or to someone they know well.

• The gift is brand new, with box and instructions if applicable, and gift name tags removed.

• You re-wrap the gift in fresh paper.

One last thing, B.P., unless you happen to share the recipient’s initials, it would be most wise to be certain the gift is not monogrammed. Thanks for your pertinent inquiry!

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at