Kim Kardashian is thumbing her nose at etiquette by promising to donate "the money from all the gifts to the Dream Foundation."

According to TMZ, that means she's keeping the gifts and making a contribution to this worthy foundation for adults facing life-threatening illnesses.

But that's taking the easy way out, according to Minneapolis Civility & Etiquette Centre prez Laura Barclay, co-author of "The Power of Civility." In a flat, civil tone, Barclay told me Wednesday: "She should return the gifts. Etiquette guidelines are that if you are married less than a year, then you should return the gifts to the gift-givers. "

To be fair to the 72-Day Wife, I then read Barclay the full sentence about the planned donation. It was part of a message to fans posted Tuesday on Kardashian's website, where she tries to explain away her husband remorse over marrying Minnesota's Kris Humphries.

With a soft sigh, Barclay repeated herself: "Technically, the appropriate thing to do would be to return the gifts. She should write a note to each person. By saying I'll make a donation, which is important and good to do, she is taking the easy way out, putting it in one lump sum so she can move on: I'm done with this, washing my hands of it and moving on to the next thing.

"If it's not a personalized item, as in engraved, and not already used, it's appropriate to return the gift to the gift-giver," Barclay said.

And then she added another twist to this discussion: "I've been thinking the money they made from the episodes [of E!'s 'Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event'], if they want to donate that to a charity maybe, that's something they could consider donating."

Spoken like an innocent who's unacquainted with how the Kardashians respond to dollar signs.

When this romess became affianced, I suggested that this marriage become an occasion for charity and philanthropy. Kris and Kim are millionaires who don't NEED anything. That, of course, did not stop her from registering for $172,000 worth of gifts at Gearys of Beverly Hills.

With a cool-your-jets civility, Barclay told me:

"When you get married, it is nice to still receive gifts. There isn't anything wrong with people's generosity of heart to give gifts for special occasions. It doesn't need to be outlandishly expensive."

Puhleeze. When the bride registers at Gearys, she's not looking for inexpensive tokens to go along with that 20.5-carat engagement ring.

Which, by the way, Kardashian is also planning on keeping as part of the prenup, according to reports. And why not, since she probably paid for it? But if she didn't?

"If the engagement ring was given as a gift -- birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas -- essentially that's considered a gift and that would be hers, from what I understand of more recent [legal] case studies," Barclay said.

Informed that Humphries gave the engagement ring to Kardashian in a rose petal ceremony on bended knee when he proposed, Barclay said: "That's not the same as a gift on a traditional gift-giving-designated day. It would be appropriate and gracious of her to return the engagement ring." "Appropriate" and "gracious" -- not words most would associate with the $10 million dollar bride who became the 72-Day Wife.

And the sliming begins

The next exciting act of this melodrama could be titled: "Demonizing Kris Humphries."

It's already starting.

"Kim Kardashian's friends are scoffing at Kris Humphries, claiming he's full of BS when he says he wanted to have a simple life with her in Minnesota, because once the marriage fell apart he immediately began 'chasing fame,'" TMZ reported on Tuesday. "We're told Kim was especially put off that Kris hired a Hollywood publicist over the weekend to work on his image."

Harvey Levin, take off your Radishes costume and ask a TMZ staffer to check my April 11 column in the Star Tribune about the PR firm Humphries hired and subsequently cut loose. Did Kardashian have a problem with Humphries hiring this L.A. PR firm to elevate his profile during the height of their hot-and-heavy made-for-TV romance?

Wednesday's salvo from TMZ (which has at least one staffer who is out front about being pretty chummy with the Kardashians) carried this banner headline: "Kris' Parents Hated Me."

For more on this, please see an item posted on startribune.com Wednesday.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.