Following on from Tuesday’s post, Sentimental Clutter I wanted to bring forward some interesting points brought up in the comments and emails about gifts with strings attached.
Cindy had suggested about a week ago in an email to me that I should write a post on this very subject. Then MmmYarn made a comment about how she gives gifts in a very thoughtful way that I felt we could all learn from. So here goes..
There seems to be two kinds of gifts with strings attached…
- Items gifted down through the family which you feel obliged to accept (whether you want them or not) and keep until you are at an appropriate age to pass them on to someone else. Or as Cindy so nicely put it “things that other people own but that live in your house”.
- Gifts that are given to you with the intention (whether imagined or real) that you should keep forever.
Items in category one usually include things like china, crystal, furniture, silverware, jewellery, medals etc. Items in category two include some of the items in category one (usually new rather than antique) with extras thrown in like handmade items, gaudy trinkets, souvenirs and many more.
These gifts are often received happily and greatly loved and appreciated. Sometimes however they are accepted graciously and dutifully kept regardless of personal taste. Like I said the intention for you to accept or keep these items can be either real of imagined but either way you do not want to rock the boat with the giver (usaully a loved one or family member) in case you hurt their feelings.
In the case of family heirloom type gifts the chances are that if you just explained at the time that they are not to your taste and you would rather see them go to someone who would appreciate them more it may not come as such an affont to the giver as you might think. You have to weigh up which option you can live with the most, a little disappoint for the giver or a lifetime being stuck with the item you don’t want.
In the case of the other kind, it can’t hurt to accept graciously and use/display it for a reasonable length of time then pass it on. It will appear that you have enjoyed it as intended and like your not refusing the gift in the first place the giver usually won’t question where it has gone. No harm done. If they do ask and you think they can’t handle the truth I really think a little white lie may be in order here.
The one thing we do have control over is never to impose this stituation on anyone else. This is where MmmYarn’s thoughtful giving comes into play. Here is what she had to say in her comment “I should add I’m a knitter and give away a lot of my finished items. I actively encourage recipients to pass the items on when they are outgrown or no longer needed”. Willow was impressed with this sentiment and said “I give away most of my knitting as gifts. Thanks for the reminder to tell people that they are welcome to pass the items along without guilt. My girls bring back their old sweaters to me and sometimes I unravel them and reknit the yarn into something else. Recycled and repurposed knits!”
Thanks ladies for your contribution to today’s post and let’s hope open guilt free gifting catches on.
Make sure you read the comments for this post as there are some great examples coming through of other readers experiences in this matter.
ITEM 182 OF 365 LESS THINGS