DEAR MISS MANNERS: As someone who doesn’t eat candy, I don’t know how to handle holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Easter, when co-workers and neighbors often give out small bags of candy.
If they’re handing it out to everyone, I’ll often say something like, “Thank you so much for thinking of me! I don’t eat candy, though, so maybe you could give this to someone who will enjoy it more.” My problem occurs when someone leaves candy on my desk or they give me a personal card with candy attached.
I’d like to give the candy to a friend, but should I let them know that I’m regifting it? I don’t want to take credit for a cute bag and candy that I didn’t pay for, but I also don’t want my friends to think I’m just trying to get rid of the candy, especially because I know they’ll genuinely enjoy it.
What would be the best way to handle this?
GENTLE READER: It is true that secrecy is an important element of regifting. The original donor should not know that the present has been given away, nor the recipient that it was given to you and rejected.
But if you were to run around redistributing all these treats, wouldn’t you be turning into a well-intentioned candy person who perpetuates the problem?
Before you conclude that the garbage can is your only polite choice, Miss Manners assures you that such small, edible tokens -- we are not talking about 5-pound, heart-shaped boxes wrapped in red bows -- do not quite rise to the level of serious presents. You are free to accompany the regifting with an offhand, “I can’t eat this -- would you like it?”
Just be ready to accept graciously a reply of, “No, thank you; I can’t, either.”