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Rules on the Re-gift

Posted by Anonymous:

My mother-in-law and I have very different taste.  She always wants to buy me a present for my birthday, which is so sweet, but I usually don’t like it and then feel badly returning it.  Is it rude to hint at a gift card, or should I just grin and bear it and then try to re-gift or donate it?

Answer by Dr. Laviage:
Let’s remember the definition of a gift: something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone.  If you have children, you have likely worked tirelessly to teach them how to handle receiving gifts at their own birthday parties – usually after wanting to crawl into a hole after one of them tells his friend upon opening a gift, “I already have that!” or “what’s this?” as he crinkles his nose.  The rules of graciousness do not change as we get older.  We accept gifts, knowing that they are usually given in loving and thoughtful gestures, with a smile and a “thank you.”  Now, what you do with it afterwards is completely up to you, but I wouldn’t be so quick to re-gift or donate.  You never know when that heart-shaped pillow may come in handy.

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