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Emergency Gift Giving

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Q. Not just for the holidays but for birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations, many of us get caught off guard when we are occasionally forgetful and someone reminds us of a family or friend's birthday for whom we normally give a gift and have forgotten the date. Just last week, my son reminded me that my middle-aged granddaughter's birthday was coming up next week. I had forgotten the date, and dashed to my emergency gift closet in which I stash away possible gifts. We all are given gifts we do not like or even want. I stash them in case I get need something to re-gift. Last year I was able to able to locate and re-gift an item the receiver considered a treasure.

I feel a little guilty passing on something given to me. Should I?

A. We have all experienced memory losses and learned in an emergency that having a gift stashed away is a winning trait. We tell ourselves it will never happen again! Good luck with that comment. Patricia C. Washington on the Morning Show agrees that it is OK to re-gift. However, she offers some doable guidelines. She recommends NEVER allowing the person who gave the gift know you've re-gifted it.

Check the item carefully to make sure it looks unused. Remove the price tag, making certain the receiver won't be able to detect it isn't new, and make sure nothing has been taken out of the package and that the seal isn't broken. Patricia, there is a difference between re-gifting and passing down a hand-me-down, according to Washington. Re-gifting involves giving away a gift you've never used and passing it off as an original gift.

Giving a hand-me-down is giving away a gift you've used. She also recommends never passing on any item you have used. Clip the price tag, make sure a book has not been personalized, and the packaging is in good shape, no unbroken seals or anything broken.

I would also recommend you consider purchasing a gift card to carry in your purse should you find yourself at a celebration that requires a gift. — BETTY.

Q. My husband and I differ how we treat our health. Other wives and I have discussed that problem over the years. More frequently, wives monitor their health more faithfully and see their doctor on a recommended basis. Husbands prefer to "man it out" and sometimes to their own determent. Sometimes they do not even tell wives they have a health issue. What health issues should we be most concerned about, for which we should insist on making our husbands doctors appointments? The knowledgeable Mayo Clinic recently released a study that ranked why individuals chose to see their doctor. Here goes:

1. Skin disorders: cysts, acne and dermatis

2. Joint disorders, including osteoarthritis

3. Back problems

4. Cholesterol problems

5. Upper respiratory conditions

6. Anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression

7. Chronic neurologic disorders

8. High blood pressure

9. Headaches and migraines

10. Diabetes

Do not forget the need for regular exercise, staying off the couch, not watching too much TV and overeating. — DOUG

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at deardoug@msn.com. Betty is a friend of Doug Mayberry, whom she helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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