Given Moni’s post about gift cards and the fact that I am celebrating my birthday as I write this post I thought I would weigh in on gift giving, receiving and gift cards.
I’ll begin with the gift cards. As Moni briefly stated in her post, my thought was ~ Why is it thatÂ we find it hard toÂ part with things weÂ rarely if everÂ use, while at the same time we idlyÂ allow money to go wasted in the form of expired gift cards. It really doesn’t make much sense does it. I guess we see the gift card as something we don’t need right now while we are financially sound as opposed to envisaging a time in the future where we might not be able to afford to replace items that we once let go. The question you must ask yourself about the stuff is ~ “Did I ever really need it?” If not let it go and improvise in the future if necessary.
And talking about improvising… I did a three way radio interview this week and the other interviewee related a story of how she decluttered her rolling pin because she hadn’t ever used it in twenty years. The very next week she decided to bake something that required rolling, so she used a drinking glass for the task and didn’t waste time regretting letting go of that, next to useless to her, rolling pin. In fact there are a lot of single use householdÂ gadgets that can easily be managed without, particularly if used infrequently. The time saved, if in fact time is saved, doesn’t add up to much if these items aren’t in use on a veryÂ regular basis. More time is wasted rummaging through these item while trying to find the ones you do use. Because, like car keys in your handbag, the items you need seem to filter to the bottom.
And as one reader pointed out why has it become almost socially unacceptable to give money as a gift. Money that can be spent anywhere, anytime, while many gift cards given are shop specific and have expiry dates. Giving cash for weddings, bar mitzvahs, engagements and for kids birthdays seem to be acceptable so why not adult birthdays, Christmas and the like. Which brings up the thought that why do we insist on giving material gifts anyway. I prefer to give the gift of time and/or experience to my friends and family who live nearby, unless there is something they specific want as a material gift. Fortunately for meÂ my family who live a long way away, were only too willing to give up the gift giving tradition when I suggested the idea. With Facebook, phones and video chatting there are plenty of ways to give the gift of time spent catching up on those special occasions.
During the interview I mentioned above, the question came up of ~â€What was the first thing you decluttered when you decided to reduce your belongings.â€ I wasn’t certain about that but a silver tea set that I had received as a gift came instantly to mind. The only thing I had done with it over twenty plus years was clean it. This brings in the question of gift giving traditions still lingering from times gone by. With many generations existing within family groups there are a lot of old fashioned ideas about gifts and gift giving that don’t necessarily gel with current times. What once was thought of as a generous and fitting gift is now not necessarily going to be well received but is accepted graciously anyway. Which is of course polite behaviour on both sides but can lead to a lot of unwanted stuff.
Then there areÂ people, likeÂ myself, who prefer thatÂ othersÂ not buy them material gifts and yet some people refuse to comply with such wishes. It seems a little absurd that someone should insist on buying another person a gift, to satisfy their need for gift giving, even they know in advance the recipient won’t want it. No doubt this same person would then be offended if they knew the recipient had regifted, sold or donated the item in order to rid themselves of it.
In summary my take on gift giving and receiving is this…
- If someoneÂ I love likes to receive gifts on special occasions I either buy something I know they will want or give them a gift of time and/or experience.
- Those who live a long way from me receive a handmade card and usually a phone call depending of the level of the relationship. Some are happy with a Facebook message.
- Anyone who could do with some extra cash and are happy to receive that then I am more than fine with gifting money.
- For myself, regarding love onesÂ who like to buy gifts, I generally let them know in advance of something I would enjoy receiving. Be that a material, time or experience style of gift. Yes, even I don’t mind a little solid matter every now and again.
- For those items that I receive that I have no desire to keep I just donate them to the thrift shop. This is a very rare event because my loved ones know me well.
So I say, when it comes to receiving gifts make up, and let known, your own rules and stick to them. Don’t let anyone clutter up your space with things you don’t want.Â And when it comes to gift giving, be sensitive to the desires of others, but always try to gift things that aren’t going to become someone else’s unwanted clutter.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter a kitchen utensil or two. I decluttered two utensil holdersÂ that hadÂ served me well in the past.Â Iâ€™d kept them in the back of a cupboard for a while â€œjust in caseâ€ but am now satisfied that I have no further need for them.
â€œIf we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think weâ€™d beÂ happy withÂ more?â€ â€” Unknown