Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Chelsealady on December 09, 2013, 01:54:22 PM

Title: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Chelsealady on December 09, 2013, 01:54:22 PM
Is the bag part of the gift?

B/G--I over do it at Christmas.   I have multiple nieces and nephews and I spoil them rotten.  I also like to wrap presents so everything they get it wrapped.  In years past I organize things with gifts bags.  So when we pass out presents I just give them their gift bag with the wrapped present inside of it.  Well this year I found some cloth Santa sacks that will do just nicely.  But I was wondering if I could ask for them back where I can use them next year.  They are not expensive but more expensive then the regular bag at the dollar store.  I plan to bring several regular gift bags for them to transport their goodies home.

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Harriet Jones on December 09, 2013, 01:58:05 PM
I think you're fine if you say *up front* that you'll be taking the gift bags back so that you can reuse them.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: esposita on December 09, 2013, 02:01:31 PM
If you're going to hold the Santa bag and distribute the gifts, or pass them out; if there are gifts for more than one person inside the bag, I think you could ask for it back or it would be understood that it belongs to you.

But if you're going to give someone a bag, and then ask for it back I see that as very awkward and confusing, though perhaps not rude.

I know that if someone gave me something like that, with only my gift inside, I'd be all "WooHoo! A bag!!" (I have a thing for totes...lol.) And my initial reaction would make it very awkward for whoever wanted the bag back. It would be confusing.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: SamiHami on December 09, 2013, 02:01:42 PM
Yeah, nothing wrong with saying, "Now, make sure you give those bags back to me so I can refill them for you next year!"
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Two Ravens on December 09, 2013, 02:29:04 PM
If you're going to hold the Santa bag and distribute the gifts, or pass them out; if there are gifts for more than one person inside the bag, I think you could ask for it back or it would be understood that it belongs to you.

But if you're going to give someone a bag, and then ask for it back I see that as very awkward and confusing, though perhaps not rude.

I know that if someone gave me something like that, with only my gift inside, I'd be all "WooHoo! A bag!!" (I have a thing for totes...lol.) And my initial reaction would make it very awkward for whoever wanted the bag back. It would be confusing.

I agree with this. I think it would be very awkward to be handed a gift bag, and then be told to promptly hand the bag back. I would wonder why you bothered to put the wrapped present in the bag in the first place.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 09, 2013, 02:32:06 PM
Yeah, nothing wrong with saying, "Now, make sure you give those bags back to me so I can refill them for you next year!"

I'd do this.

But I'd also buy a few extra in case you don't get them all back.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 09, 2013, 02:34:05 PM
Is the bag the gift wrapping or is it just a carier for a bunch of gifts for each that are individually wrapped?

If the wrapper, then I'd find it odd to ask for it back. It's like the aunt who asks for her bows back or taking a bottle of wine as a hostess gift but asking for the wine bag back. You migh offer the giver the items "Aunt this bow is beautiful and I'm afraid I'll crush it. Why don't you keep it to use again." or "We have several wine bags, would you like to keep this one to use again?"

But asking for any type of wrapper back seems unusual.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Betelnut on December 09, 2013, 02:38:39 PM
I would consider the bag part of the gift.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 09, 2013, 02:56:54 PM
Generally I consider the bag part of the gift. Therefore it would be a little weird to be given a gift, then have part of it taken back. I think it emphasizes the "show/presentation" aspect of the gift--"Yeah, I wanted you to be impressed with my packaging skills. Those bits aren't actually part of your gift, though, they're part of the 'scenery' and I need them back."

I don't know that all that actually makes it rude, though. Especially among family. I think it would start to get rude if you demanded the bags back, but if you were low-key and didn't throw a fit about it, I think it would be fine.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: GreenBird on December 09, 2013, 02:57:29 PM
I would think the bag was part of the gift, and would be a little puzzled that you wanted it back.  Particularly since past gift bags have been part of the present.  Maybe you could bring the gifts in the bags to keep them organized, but then take the gifts out of the bags as you distribute them to the kids so you're not handing them the bags? 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 09, 2013, 03:13:01 PM
Yeah, nothing wrong with saying, "Now, make sure you give those bags back to me so I can refill them for you next year!"

This is exactly what I was going to say. Make it part of the tradition, you show up with the gifts in the reusable bags!

I do wonder, after they open their gifts, do they put the gifts back into their gift bags to make carry them home easier? Or is that not a concern? (thought of this while I was typing)
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 03:19:29 PM
If you're going to hold the Santa bag and distribute the gifts, or pass them out; if there are gifts for more than one person inside the bag, I think you could ask for it back or it would be understood that it belongs to you.

But if you're going to give someone a bag, and then ask for it back I see that as very awkward and confusing, though perhaps not rude.

I know that if someone gave me something like that, with only my gift inside, I'd be all "WooHoo! A bag!!" (I have a thing for totes...lol.) And my initial reaction would make it very awkward for whoever wanted the bag back. It would be confusing.

Yeah, I'd expect the bag to go with the gift.

I -have- been known to say to someone, "Oh, I'd like to take that box back; it's a useful size" because I know that it's about to be tossed away.

But the bag, I'd expect to travel with the gift.
And if I were the recipient, I'd think it was weird and ungracious.
Not "rude" the way we usually use that term. But "bad form," which is one of the things governed by Etiquette.


Plus, I'd have been thinking I'd use the bag for Christmas next year.

I have cloth gift bags that are really handy for wrapping odd-sized presents in. I won't use them out of the house. My kids and I and DH can use them to wrap presents for one another, but I won't allow them to be used for gifts that are being given out of the family.

Why not just wrap the gifts and hand over the packages?
Or, skip the wrapping, except for tissue, and put the gift in the bag, and give the bag away.

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 03:20:13 PM
Oh--I did once deliberately give bags as part of the gift--I bought four matching nylon grocery totes and put the "no-wrapping-paper bridal-shower" bakeware in them.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Amara on December 09, 2013, 03:20:41 PM
This is timely! I am wrapping my gifts and with the regular ones (not the stocking stuffers) I am adding bows and ornaments and other goodies to the beautiful ribbons. So I do plan to re-use them and will ask for them back. I wouldn't view this as rude at all as long as you don't grab the bag out of their hands while saying "gimme!"
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 03:22:45 PM
This is timely! I am wrapping my gifts and with the regular ones (not the stocking stuffers) I am adding bows and ornaments and other goodies to the beautiful ribbons. So I do plan to re-use them and will ask for them back. I wouldn't view this as rude at all as long as you don't grab the bag out of their hands while saying "gimme!"

But I really think the ornament should be part of the gift! What if they want to take it home and hang it on their tree, or something? I'd be really offended if you wrapped up a present for me, and then told me you want the ornament back.
   If I'm going to toss the bow and ornament in the trash, yes, by all means, say, "oh, I'm going to salvage that!" Or say, "If you aren't going to take the ornament home, toss it over here!' -once it becomes sort of clear that they aren't going to do something with it.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Amara on December 09, 2013, 03:24:36 PM
Well, that never occurred to me but I think in my family it wouldn't be a problem. Plus, it's to make the package look more festive but not intended to be part of the gift.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 09, 2013, 03:26:30 PM
This is timely! I am wrapping my gifts and with the regular ones (not the stocking stuffers) I am adding bows and ornaments and other goodies to the beautiful ribbons. So I do plan to re-use them and will ask for them back. I wouldn't view this as rude at all as long as you don't grab the bag out of their hands while saying "gimme!"

But I really think the ornament should be part of the gift! What if they want to take it home and hang it on their tree, or something? I'd be really offended if you wrapped up a present for me, and then told me you want the ornament back.
   If I'm going to toss the bow and ornament in the trash, yes, by all means, say, "oh, I'm going to salvage that!" Or say, "If you aren't going to take the ornament home, toss it over here!' -once it becomes sort of clear that they aren't going to do something with it.

The first year I got my BFF's husband a Christmas gift, I put a little ornament on the front of the package (I do this often), he commented "Oh, what a nice ornament, I like that" opened his gift, thanked me for it, then tried to give me back the ornament. I had to explain that no, that was part of his gift! Which made him so adorably excited because he really loved the ornament but didn't realize it wasn't just part of the packaging.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: POF on December 09, 2013, 03:32:02 PM
Oh--I did once deliberately give bags as part of the gift--I bought four matching nylon grocery totes and put the "no-wrapping-paper bridal-shower" bakeware in them.

LOVE IT - I am so sure that is what they meant by no wrapping paper.. You are very clever !
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 03:37:51 PM
Well, that never occurred to me but I think in my family it wouldn't be a problem. Plus, it's to make the package look more festive but not intended to be part of the gift.

I have to say, I don't understand this.

If it's not intended to be part of the gift, why put it on there? Sure, it makes it look nicer--but it's part of the gift! The whole package is theirs; you gave it to them. It's a gift.

If you don't want to give it to them, you shouldn't put it on the gift.

It's not the same thing, quite, as putting non-edible ornaments on a wedding cake or a birthday cake. Well, maybe you're thinking that it is.

But it's not to me. It would ruin the mood for me, for you to treat -my- present (as opposed to a -shared- cake) as a piece of decor, or as something that is only "on loan for a moment while you admire how pretty it is." I would feel that the experience of "ooh, a wonderful gift, and it's for me--someone fussed over me!" was only being loaned to me; which is disappointing, because I consider that emotion to be part of the gift.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 09, 2013, 03:45:48 PM
Well, that never occurred to me but I think in my family it wouldn't be a problem. Plus, it's to make the package look more festive but not intended to be part of the gift.

I have to say, I don't understand this.

If it's not intended to be part of the gift, why put it on there? Sure, it makes it look nicer--but it's part of the gift! The whole package is theirs; you gave it to them. It's a gift.

If you don't want to give it to them, you shouldn't put it on the gift.

It's not the same thing, quite, as putting non-edible ornaments on a wedding cake or a birthday cake. Well, maybe you're thinking that it is.

But it's not to me. It would ruin the mood for me, for you to treat -my- present (as opposed to a -shared- cake) as a piece of decor, or as something that is only "on loan for a moment while you admire how pretty it is." I would feel that the experience of "ooh, a wonderful gift, and it's for me--someone fussed over me!" was only being loaned to me; which is disappointing, because I consider that emotion to be part of the gift.

I have to admit I'd feel the same way. If it's a pretty ornament, I'd expect it to be mine and would be dissapointed I had to give part of my gift back.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: esposita on December 09, 2013, 03:52:32 PM
Well, that never occurred to me but I think in my family it wouldn't be a problem. Plus, it's to make the package look more festive but not intended to be part of the gift.

I have to say, I don't understand this.

If it's not intended to be part of the gift, why put it on there? Sure, it makes it look nicer--but it's part of the gift! The whole package is theirs; you gave it to them. It's a gift.

If you don't want to give it to them, you shouldn't put it on the gift.

It's not the same thing, quite, as putting non-edible ornaments on a wedding cake or a birthday cake. Well, maybe you're thinking that it is.

But it's not to me. It would ruin the mood for me, for you to treat -my- present (as opposed to a -shared- cake) as a piece of decor, or as something that is only "on loan for a moment while you admire how pretty it is." I would feel that the experience of "ooh, a wonderful gift, and it's for me--someone fussed over me!" was only being loaned to me; which is disappointing, because I consider that emotion to be part of the gift.

I have to admit I'd feel the same way. If it's a pretty ornament, I'd expect it to be mine and would be dissapointed I had to give part of my gift back.

Me too. Most of the time I give a bridal shower gift in a pretty, reusable shopping tote. The bag is part of the gift, and like toots said, I'd feel like the wrapping were loaned.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Amara on December 09, 2013, 03:55:13 PM
Wow, the reactions are ... strong. I think I will just leave it at the fact that no one in my family would expect, and may not be interested in, the ornament (which is just a simple ball one).
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Erich L-ster on December 09, 2013, 04:08:22 PM

I have to admit I'd feel the same way. If it's a pretty ornament, I'd expect it to be mine and would be dissapointed I had to give part of my gift back.
Me three....or four or five....or POD.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Chelsealady on December 09, 2013, 04:17:59 PM
Thanks for the replies.  I think I will just give them the bags and not worry about getting them back.  It would be nice to get them back and reuse them but not nice enough to hurt anybody's feelings on the matter.

This is not my holiday hill to die on.  And there are much harder emotional landmines to negotiate.  But that is another thread.  ;D
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 04:43:39 PM
Wow, the reactions are ... strong. I think I will just leave it at the fact that no one in my family would expect, and may not be interested in, the ornament (which is just a simple ball one).

I can certainly believe that is true.
As a recipient, even *I* might not want the ornament. But I wouldn't love the "here's your present; give me part of it back" message.


But I think I'd caution someone in your position to just wait. And when they seem to be discarding the wrapping (and the bow, and the decoration), then simply "tidy up" and salvage the ornament as you do so.
   Or, wait, and when all the excitement part is over, then say, "were you going to take the ornament home?" and if they dither, then say, "Oh, I could put it in my wrapping-paper stash if you don't want it."

It's totally OK to take it back, once it's clear they don't want it. But I would want to be sure there's space between the gifting and the salvaging.

Even though it's just a box, that's what I do w/ those. It means I'm not always willing to let some boxes out of the house (like those gift bags). But it's a risk I accept--that I might not get the box back. (and it's the box, which doesn't have an emotional function)

And Chelsealady; keep an eye out--if they sort of toss the bag aside, you can always say, "did you have a use for this?" and then see if it would fit to say, "Well, maybe I'll use it again next year."

I also think that using the bag as a recurring theme isn't bad--it has a "somebody fussed over me" feeling.

For the ornament and the bag, you could write on them:  "To Bill, from Susie"--then it would be clear that you should get it back and use it again next year.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Arila on December 09, 2013, 05:00:05 PM
What about -- this one time, getting two sets of cool santa bags. This year, don't ask for them back. Next year -- "You got to keep the fancy bag last year, so you already have one -- I'm keeping these for reuse this time!"

Then, they get to keep the cool bags, AND you get to reuse them.

I did read that they are a bit more expensive, but it didn't seem like they were so outrageous that this wouldn't work.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 09, 2013, 05:17:04 PM
How about making the bag(s) part of the unveiling of the gifts.  So you have the bag(s) full of wrapped gifts and you take each person's gift (or gift bundle) out of the bag and pass them to that person.  So each person gets their gifts, but you get to take the bag(s) home as well.

My mother does something a bit similar.  She wraps each persons gifts in different paper then stacks and ties them together.  When it's time to open gifts she points each person to their individualized bundle of presents.  She doesn't put names on the bundle, she writes each person's name on a scrap of wrapping paper and carries it around in her wallet :D
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Julsie on December 09, 2013, 05:48:42 PM
She doesn't put names on the bundle, she writes each person's name on a scrap of wrapping paper and carries it around in her wallet :D

~gasps~  PastryGoddess, thank you!  That is brilliant!

I have eight children and I don't put their names on their Christmas presents because I don't want them to "investigate" them ahead of time.

Each year I've been using a different secret code, known only to myself.  For instance, all of Susie's presents will be marked by a "20" because that is the day of the month of her birthday.  Then I went to Billy being the #2 because "B" is the second letter of the alphabet.  Then I took their birth year and divided it by two, etc...

I'm out of codes and they're getting too smart for me!  But I like the idea of different wrapping paper for each child and keeping their names on a scrap of their paper.  Thank you, thank you!
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 09, 2013, 06:08:19 PM
I'll say thank you because it was MY idea all those years ago.  My mother thought it was a bad idea at first and complained for 5 freaking years about how difficult and annoying it was

I'm thinking of printing this out and showing it to my mother to gloat ;)
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: POF on December 09, 2013, 06:24:46 PM
My mother one year just didn't write the names on it because she thought she would remember.  ( We are all adults, no kids, living in our own households ).  it was awesone - you would be opening something - she would grab it and give it to someone else ...... we still laugh ourselves sick over it.

Back on topic. yes the bag is part of of the gif.t
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: VorFemme on December 09, 2013, 08:32:16 PM
Several years ago now, I made Christmas stocking for a whole family of relatives and filled them with small things - doll dresses for the girl (now a mother herself - so it's been "a while"), candy canes, whistles, a couple of Match Box cars for the boy, and things like that.  The stockings were part of the gift.

Reminds me - I need to FIND the stocking makings for Wonderful Son-In-Law & WonderfulDGS (found kits to coordinate with Ambrosia Hino's original felt applique stocking) and make them.  Then get around to making ones for VorSon, VorGuy, and myself that aren't just red velour with white faux fur trim from the dollar store....

I have an embroidery machine now - I need to use it!

It is going to sound odd if you ask for the bag back...to most people.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 09, 2013, 08:39:52 PM
She doesn't put names on the bundle, she writes each person's name on a scrap of wrapping paper and carries it around in her wallet :D

~gasps~  PastryGoddess, thank you!  That is brilliant!

I have eight children and I don't put their names on their Christmas presents because I don't want them to "investigate" them ahead of time.

Each year I've been using a different secret code, known only to myself.  For instance, all of Susie's presents will be marked by a "20" because that is the day of the month of her birthday.  Then I went to Billy being the #2 because "B" is the second letter of the alphabet.  Then I took their birth year and divided it by two, etc...

I'm out of codes and they're getting too smart for me!  But I like the idea of different wrapping paper for each child and keeping their names on a scrap of their paper.  Thank you, thank you!

I have also done themes--not w/ kids, but with "places presents are going": those to be taken to the ILs' were snowmen; ones for home were penguins (yay!); ones to be mailed were holly.

But if you did want to keep the kids from guessing next year, you'd not want to keep the themes the same. But you could do a similar thing just to increase your options for wrapping paper.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Dr. F. on December 09, 2013, 09:11:51 PM
On a related note, I'm going to some extent to make origami boxes for gifts for various people (http://www.origami-instructions.com/modular-square-box-p2.html) that will contain various cookies. I don't want the boxes back, but I *would* like to indicate that said boxes could be reused by the recipients. Is there a way to indicate that the nice, hand-made boxes are part of the gift?
(Note: I will pack the cookies in wax paper or plastic bags, such that they won't stain the boxes.)
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: NyaChan on December 09, 2013, 09:15:21 PM
If you're going to hold the Santa bag and distribute the gifts, or pass them out; if there are gifts for more than one person inside the bag, I think you could ask for it back or it would be understood that it belongs to you.

But if you're going to give someone a bag, and then ask for it back I see that as very awkward and confusing, though perhaps not rude.

I know that if someone gave me something like that, with only my gift inside, I'd be all "WooHoo! A bag!!" (I have a thing for totes...lol.) And my initial reaction would make it very awkward for whoever wanted the bag back. It would be confusing.

I agree with this. I think it would be very awkward to be handed a gift bag, and then be told to promptly hand the bag back. I would wonder why you bothered to put the wrapped present in the bag in the first place.

I agree.  I would feel weird about it. 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Amara on December 09, 2013, 09:37:44 PM
For the record, I have never and would never hand someone a gift and immediately ask for the box back. I do ask after all the gifts are unwrapped and enjoyed. It's at that point that I ask for the good boxes, bows, ribbons, tissue paper (if not torn) and any decorations to be separated from the to-be-thrown-away paper so I can re-use them. Stockings are part of the gift if someone wants them, but no one in my family wants to store them for eleven months.

I am simply a high end re-user.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: katycoo on December 09, 2013, 10:28:38 PM
No, I think its strange.  It is part of the gift.  I collect ones I get and reuse them myself.

I might, if the bag/box was left with discarded paper for throwing ask the recipient if they wanted to keep the bag.  If they say no, then its yours.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Deetee on December 09, 2013, 10:53:43 PM
I have a friend who gives gifts and immediately claims the bags/box back. I never thought twice about it. She is a frugal environmentalist and it just made sense that she would keep and resuse the bags.

Though, now that I think of it, I might switch to reusable bags as wrapping this year. Our grocery stores no longer supply plastic bags so they are useful for everyone. I used to use my daughters artwork on a large roll of  paper,but she stopped doing that sort of drawing so I need something else,
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: daen on December 10, 2013, 08:09:40 AM
I have a friend who gives gifts and immediately claims the bags/box back. I never thought twice about it. She is a frugal environmentalist and it just made sense that she would keep and resuse the bags.

Though, now that I think of it, I might switch to reusable bags as wrapping this year. Our grocery stores no longer supply plastic bags so they are useful for everyone. I used to use my daughters artwork on a large roll of  paper,but she stopped doing that sort of drawing so I need something else,

My sibs will, on various occasions, use advertising flyers that the recipients will appreciate, or use the comics pages.  Fun, but requires a bit of cleaning up afterwards, due to the ink rubbing off on hands and... well, everything.

In my family, the gift bags usually stay with the recipient, but also usually show up at the next gift-giving occasion, so they circulate a lot.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: MariaE on December 10, 2013, 08:12:01 AM
Funnily enough we had a similar thread a couple of years back - but from the opposite perspective! http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=87975.0 :)
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Amara on December 10, 2013, 09:13:22 AM
This made me burst out laughing:

Quote
But then I'd always sign birthday cards to my mother with just my name. At the end of the evening she hands it back to me so I can reuse it for my friends. Wow, I am really cheap with this stuff.

That's something I never thought of. And never would.

I don't like and won't use gift bags. As someone on the old thread commented, it seems a cheap way to "wrap" a gift. I don't mind if others do--the gift is the thought, after all--but I never will. I love doing up pretty boxes with decorations. And I intend to keep asking for them back. Reuse, recycle: that's me.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: sparksals on December 10, 2013, 09:48:17 AM
I would think it very strange if a gift giver wanted the bag back.  I consider it part of the gift.  I save them to reuse. 

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 10, 2013, 10:00:21 AM
The bag is part of the gift if it is the sole wrapping for that gift.  But the OP uses the bags to gather multiple wrapped gifts for each person together.  In this case, I don't see it as being part of the gift the same way.  But, perhaps to avoid confusion, she could use her bag, take it over to the person for whom it is intended and hand them the individual gifts out of the bag, then keeping the bag to herself to reuse next year.

Many of my friends will offer the bag back, even if it was the wrapping for the gift.  Sometimes I take it; sometimes, I don't.

At Christmas, even though there are only 5 of us there, it is 3 different households.  We tend to pile all the bags, boxes and bows up and divvy them up between the three households.  And throw out any that are looking a little worse for wear.

I use gift bags year round for birthdays and other gifts but Christmas is the one time that I do use wrapping paper, rather than bags, unless it is a particularly difficult gift to wrap.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 10, 2013, 10:01:22 AM
We frequently reuse bows in my extended family; it's not uncommon to hear "save the bow!" called out at a mass family present opening, usually aimed at kids who haven't quite learned this rule yet. You know, I don't know where the bows actually go, though--certainly no one spends time fussing over whether the bow belongs to the giver or recipient, or who gave what bow, or anything like that. Whoever is most invested in reusing bows seems to get hold of the "bow bag" in the end, and sometimes there are multiple bow bags.

Personally, whatever I hand over to the other person--whether the wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, bow, decoration, bag, box, etc.--I consider to be theirs, as part of the gift. If they indicate they aren't going to keep it, I can then ask for it back; but I personally believe that by default it's now theirs. Among my immediate family (parents and me) we don't give out gifts in containers that we really want to keep (like the little square box covered in metallic teal paper with a window in the lid covering a silver snowflake on a spring...), because to us it seems "off" to then ask for it back. Though certainly it's understood among the three of us that if I get a present in the teal box, the box goes back to Mom to be reused next year. So I do think in certain situations you can have an understanding/make a tradition of it.

Another exception, IMO, is something like a cloth gift bag with the kid's name on it, or a stocking with their name. In other words, something where the giver can say, "Okay, if you give me that back, I will fill it with gifts for YOU next year." It's still part of the gift, but kind of a long-term rather than short-term part; and the giver is doing an additional favor for the recipient by storing their bag/stocking for them until its next use. I think it really has to have the recipient's name on it, though, or in some other way be personalized to them; to me the point is that the giver won't use it for anyone but Susie.

I don't think it's a huge deal, personally. But it can feel a bit discordant if there's one person who's always asking for things back, whereas everyone else is more relaxed. And I do think it can venture into rude/tacky territory if the person who wants things back becomes preoccupied with it, to the point of seeming stingy--kind of like, "Why did you even bother to give us gifts and visit us, if you're just going to spend your time hunting through the trash for discarded bows?" Not saying anyone here would do that, just imagining the extreme end.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: jaxsue on December 10, 2013, 10:46:54 AM
I would consider the bag part of the gift.

Yep. And I, for one, would really like the bag. I'd be disappointed and a bit  :o if asked to give it back.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 10, 2013, 10:55:25 AM
Is there a way to indicate that the nice, hand-made boxes are part of the gift?


Not really, no. If they're the sort of person who would like to reuse them, they will. If it's a part of the present that they don't value, hey won't.

I suppose you could say, enthusiastically, "The boxes are really very sturdy! You can reuse them if you want." Sort of the way you'd say something positive about any gift you've given: "I bought you those slippers because they're really warm! And look, they tie on, so they don't slip around--I like feeling that I have solid footing when I wear mine."
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 10, 2013, 11:29:03 AM
So I know the OP has said she's just going to let them have the bags. But here was my thought process for why I'd be ok with asking for the bags back.

When I was younger my grandparents would bring my Christmas gifts over to me in a laundry basket. All the gifts were wrapped individually, the laundry basket was not part of my gift, it was simply the easiest way to transport gifts from Point A (their house) to Point B (our house).

I see the gift bags as the same as the laundry basket. Except as there are more kids it's easier to assign each kid a bag rather then just toss the gifts in a laundry basket and let them sort out who gets what. At the end the bags are regathered to be used again next year to transport the gifts from Point A to Point B.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Bookgirl on December 10, 2013, 03:53:20 PM
I don't think it's a huge deal, personally. But it can feel a bit discordant if there's one person who's always asking for things back, whereas everyone else is more relaxed. And I do think it can venture into rude/tacky territory if the person who wants things back becomes preoccupied with it, to the point of seeming stingy--kind of like, "Why did you even bother to give us gifts and visit us, if you're just going to spend your time hunting through the trash for discarded bows?" Not saying anyone here would do that, just imagining the extreme end.

My aunt is like that.  As she was handing you the gift, she would be saying that she wanted the box back.  It was always a kind of awkward moment and it did put a damper on the unwrapping of the gift because you didn't want to risk damaging the box in any way.  We don't exchange presents with her anymore so I don't know if she still does it but, knowing her, she most likely does.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: sparksals on December 10, 2013, 07:26:59 PM
So I know the OP has said she's just going to let them have the bags. But here was my thought process for why I'd be ok with asking for the bags back.

When I was younger my grandparents would bring my Christmas gifts over to me in a laundry basket. All the gifts were wrapped individually, the laundry basket was not part of my gift, it was simply the easiest way to transport gifts from Point A (their house) to Point B (our house).

I see the gift bags as the same as the laundry basket. Except as there are more kids it's easier to assign each kid a bag rather then just toss the gifts in a laundry basket and let them sort out who gets what. At the end the bags are regathered to be used again next year to transport the gifts from Point A to Point B.


In your case, the carrier of all the gifts would fall into that category.  If a gift, ITSELF, is housed in a gift bag, then it is part of the gift... in my mind.  If someone asked for the gift bag back in the latter case, I would comply, but I would also think the person is cheap b/c they don't ask for the torn wrapping paper back.

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 10, 2013, 07:44:44 PM

. . .  If someone asked for the gift bag back in the latter case, I would comply, but I would also think the person is cheap b/c they don't ask for the torn wrapping paper back.


Well, of course not, because it's not reusable.

Gift bags are very reusable; that's part of their appeal. And I see lots and lots of people reusing them.

That's not the problem, for me anyway.

My problem is that you -just- gave it to me, and it ruins the mood of the gift for you to ask for any part of it back, even the wrapping it was in or the ornament that was on it.
   Now, if I seem to be ignoring the gift bag or the ornament, by all means, ask if you can take it back for reuse.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: sparksals on December 10, 2013, 08:47:06 PM

. . .  If someone asked for the gift bag back in the latter case, I would comply, but I would also think the person is cheap b/c they don't ask for the torn wrapping paper back.


Well, of course not, because it's not reusable.

Gift bags are very reusable; that's part of their appeal. And I see lots and lots of people reusing them.

That's not the problem, for me anyway.

My problem is that you -just- gave it to me, and it ruins the mood of the gift for you to ask for any part of it back, even the wrapping it was in or the ornament that was on it.
   Now, if I seem to be ignoring the gift bag or the ornament, by all means, ask if you can take it back for reuse.


Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that even if the paper isn't reusable, people don't ask for the gift wrap back, so why the gift bag?  Because the wrap or bag is part of the gift and for whatever the recipient wants to do with it.  No one should ask for the gift bag back if it is housing the actual gift.  I recycle my gift bags I receive and I'm sure people recycle the gift bags I give them.  I wouldn't dream on asking for it back.

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: KenveeB on December 10, 2013, 08:52:10 PM
I think it's fine to ask for bags, bows, or other wrapping doodads back, so long as it's done during the clean-up process as a "if you didn't want that, I'll re-use it" if they're throwing it away. We have bags that reappear every year among my family, and we always joke about where they're from. But it just feels ungracious to me to hand someone a gift and ask for part of it back at the same time.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: kudeebee on December 10, 2013, 11:02:54 PM
i agree with other posters who said to put the gifts in the bags for transportation and to help you keep organized.  Then when it is your turn to pass out the gifts, take the wrapped gifts out of the bags and hand them to the recipients, keeping the bag in your hands.  Then you can reuse them the next year. You could even say something like "Let's see what Santa AAA has in her bags for you this year." as you hand out the gifts.

i would guess most kids don't care about the gift bags or keeping them (I am sure there are some that do, just saying most don't).  I would hate to see those nice bags thrown away when you could reuse them the coming years and have the gifts easier to transport and looking prettier under the tree.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on December 10, 2013, 11:19:38 PM
When my family opens gifts, they tend to put the stuff they're keeping in one pile and the discarded wrapping in another pile (I'm assuming this is normal).  At the end, I volunteer to pick up the "trash" and as I do, I separate out things I can reuse, like gift bags.  If something's in the discard pile, it's fair game; otherwise not.

Family knows I reuse, and it's a bit of a joke.  Sturdy gift bags can get reused many times, and if there's an attached tag, I simply cross out the previous name and put the new name.  Favorite bags may wind up with 5-6 names before they finally bite the dust. 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: peaches on December 10, 2013, 11:39:04 PM
I love to use fancy gift wrap, bows, ornaments, gift bags, and I consider them part of the gift. Please don't give them back. I don't have space to store all of that stuff.

Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: sparksals on December 11, 2013, 09:14:37 AM
I use a 31 tote to carry things.  In fact, just this weekend we went to an Xmas party.  I used my 31 bag to carry the gifts that were housed in gift bags.  I also had cute wine bottle holders that looknlike santa's pants holding two bottles of wine. The 31 bag is not part of the gift.  It is what I am using to carry everything.   The gift bags, Santa's pants are part of the gift.  It would make me look pretty bad handing the cute holder for wine to the hostess, then turning around to ask for Santa's pants back. 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Sophia on December 11, 2013, 09:57:06 AM
I think it would be odd to ask for the gift bags back, UNLESS it was clear that the bags were personalized to be used only from you to that person.  So, then it would seem natural for you to ask for them back to be reused next year. 
In my family, we have gift boxes and gift ornaments that are only used from a certain person to a certain person, so that tags aren't needed for those. 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Biker Granny on December 11, 2013, 11:28:08 AM
I'm in the bag is party of the gift group.

HOWEVER....if during the clean-up you see them laying there, then they are fair game...I personally would ask just to be sure.

We are a "save the bag" family as they are used over and over again.  Every year a different person get's the "special" one....after 10 years it's held together with more tape than glue lol.

I laugh becuase I too used some burlap bags as wrapping this year.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 11, 2013, 11:32:29 AM
My friend Amy makes chocolate-covered goodies at the holidays and gives them to people in tins. That tin is THEIR tin, with their name on the bottom. (Mine is blue with snowflakes.) The rule is that if you give the tin back (CLEAN!) before next Thanksgiving, she will refill it with chocolate goodies for you. She needs to have all the tins together so she can make sure she parcels out the goodies evenly, and all at one time. Also, the size of the tin is deliberately matched to the individual. (Bigger tin for a family of five, for example, smaller tin for a single person.) The tin is still part of the gift, but a part that's meant to be reusable. At one point I was assigned a new tin due to my original one having a loose lid, and I got to keep the original tin and she bought me a new one to be reused. Okay, it was now a tin with a loose lid, so not very useful to anyone, but it was still considered MINE, i.e., part of the gift.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: IWish on December 11, 2013, 12:04:43 PM
I'm in the "bag is part of the gift" camp. Had two occasions where I was given a gift basket and the giver took the wicker basket back. I did give them back of course, but it left me feeling a bit disconcerted.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 11, 2013, 12:28:29 PM
Okay, it was now a tin with a loose lid, so not very useful to anyone, but it was still considered MINE, i.e., part of the gift.

I get around the loose lid by putting a piece of plastic film over the top of the can then putting the lid on.  Works great!

My nephews played highschool basketball.  When they were in a tournament close to where I lived, I'd drive to watch them and I usually made them some chocolate chip cookies to enjoy after the game(s).  I took them in tins and I always got them back eventually.  Nephews weren't stupid; they figured if I ran out of tins, they wouldn't get cookies any more!  This year, I'm using those tins to give away my Christmas cookies.  And I hope I don't get them back.   ;D  The boys are out of highschool and I'm trying to declutter.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 12:34:03 PM
In my family, you keep bags, but you reuse them for gifts you are giving next year.

There's a Thor bag that's been making the rounds for quite a while. It's become part of the tradition to see who got the Thor bag this year  ;D
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: VorFemme on December 12, 2013, 06:59:55 PM
I save certain sizes of plastic buckets for my dad to pass out his chocolate peanut clusters, oatmeal cookies, and whole or shelled pecans (they have two trees in their yard & it depends on how much time he has whether or not they are shelled or if only some of them are shelled & the rest are whole).  Either way, they are from Grandpa & Grandma!

Reminds me - I might need to make some bags...
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: CakeEater on December 12, 2013, 08:16:46 PM
I think the OP is in the clear, because the gifts are individually wrapped in the transportation bag.

To me, asking for a gift box, or bag, or decorations back immediately upon giving the gift (rather than waiting until the recipient is obviously going to throw them away) says 'I want credit for giving beautifully presented gifts, but I'll take the presentation back so I can get the credit again next year at no extra expense.'
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: gramma dishes on December 12, 2013, 09:01:10 PM
I think the OP could get by with this as long as she starts out right up front with an explanation.  "I bought these special bags to help me keep everyone's gifts all together so that I could carry them more easily.  But I'll be needing the bags back after you all have opened your presents so that I can refill them for you again next year!" 

If they know up front that leaving the bags with you is for their future benefit, I don't think they'll be terribly disappointed. 
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: Thipu1 on December 13, 2013, 08:57:11 AM
If the bag is the wrapping, it's part of the gift.  If the gift is wrapped inside the bag, it may not be. 

Some years ago, a fabric designer provided small, drawstring silk bags in pretty solids and prints as gifts at a museum function. There were a lot left over and the bags found their way into the annual rummage sale. I snapped up a bunch and have been using them for gift bags over the years.  They always go over well.     
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 13, 2013, 11:17:54 AM

. . .  If someone asked for the gift bag back in the latter case, I would comply, but I would also think the person is cheap b/c they don't ask for the torn wrapping paper back.


Well, of course not, because it's not reusable.

Gift bags are very reusable; that's part of their appeal. And I see lots and lots of people reusing them.

That's not the problem, for me anyway.

My problem is that you -just- gave it to me, and it ruins the mood of the gift for you to ask for any part of it back, even the wrapping it was in or the ornament that was on it.
   Now, if I seem to be ignoring the gift bag or the ornament, by all means, ask if you can take it back for reuse.


Yes, but the point I was trying to make is that even if the paper isn't reusable, people don't ask for the gift wrap back, so why the gift bag?  Because the wrap or bag is part of the gift and for whatever the recipient wants to do with it.  No one should ask for the gift bag back if it is housing the actual gift.  I recycle my gift bags I receive and I'm sure people recycle the gift bags I give them.  I wouldn't dream on asking for it back.

You know, I totally agree with you. We saved the wrapping paper when I was a kid--but we never asked other people to give it back to us.
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: magicdomino on December 13, 2013, 11:38:13 AM

. . .  If someone asked for the gift bag back in the latter case, I would comply, but I would also think the person is cheap b/c they don't ask for the torn wrapping paper back.


Well, of course not, because it's not reusable.


Not according to my mother.    :)  She used to get annoyed at anyone who merely ripped the paper instead of carefully working the tape loose.  Then the paper would be flattened and stored.  A year or two later, a package would appear with strangely familiar paper.  Damaged edges were trimmed off, so the paper from a big box might be used several years in a row on smaller and smaller boxes. 

I like gift bags, myself.   ;)
Title: Re: Is the bag part of the gift?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 13, 2013, 12:20:30 PM
For me, the bag is not only part of the gift, it's probably the best part.  One of my hobbies these last 2 years is making bags for gifts.  I paint them, decoupage them, add decorations & paper flowers, wrap the handles in ribbon, and shellac them.   My family really only wants gift cards, and food, so the bag is where I get to express my feelings.

I also make my one gift tags, and will throw in one or two blank tags into the bottom of the bag so that the recipient can forward it on to someone else (after all the painting and shellacking, they are pretty sturdy).