Regifting Over the Holidays?

Considering “regifting” this year?  Etiquette experts say  it is perfectly okay to regift if you give with good intentions and thoughtfulness. You won’t be the first one nor likely the last. Mary Agnes Tincker, a nineteenth-century author from Ellsworth, Maine, wrote a short story on regifting called “From A Garden of a Friend.”

First published in The Atlantic in October 1888, it has been “regifted” to readers over the years through short story anthologies. I first read it in middle school or high school. Writing styles changed since 1888 and I found it hard to read. However, I remembered the basic story when I came across it as an adult. A young couple in Italy gifts a basket of mandarin oranges picked from their backyard to a friend. The friend cannot eat the mandarins and regifts them to someone else the next day. The basket of mandarins is regifted over and over until the couple receives it back again.

“From A Garden of a Friend” can be found online at The Atlantic’s archives. In print, it appears in American Christmas Stories: The Library of America Collection (2021), edited by Connie Willis, and in Julia Livshin’s Mistletoe and Holly: Classic Christmas Stories (2014).