Did you or your children receive unwanted gifts this Christmas? Are you not sure how to go about getting rid of them without feeling like a heartless and unappreciative person? I hope this post helps.
I have received unwanted gifts for myself and my daughter on several occasions: a stuffed animal, an electronic toy, a blouse, or a decorative item. The issue was that for someone who lives in a small space and who has put a lot of effort to pair stuff down, having unnecessary things just doesn’t work.
My space is designed to serve me and my family everyday. Many of the things we own have a specific purpose in our daily routines and activities. I don’t have much space (physically and mentally) for things that I don’t use. I have to be very intentional about what I keep and what I discard. If I kept everything that I ever received, my apartment would turn into a storage unit and that’s no fun to live in.
If we received an unwanted gift and wonder whether we should keep it or not we must face a difficult question: do I want to have this item around all the time just in case someone who gave it to me comes over?
Most of the time my personal answer is that I don’t. I need to be willing to take the risk of having a difficult or awkward conversation with a friend as the cost of living in a space that makes me happy, in a space where I feel like I can exercise some sort of control and in a space that’s not filled with stuff I’m not using. As much as I hate to think that I could offend or hurt someone’s feelings, I get rid of stuff for practical reasons not personal.
My advice for dealing with unwanted gifts without ruining your friendship is this:
- Keep in mind what a gift symbolizes. People want to show their care and love through gift-giving.
- Consider the monetary value. Don’t treat a stuffed animal or a set of shampoos like an iPad or Tiffany’s ring.
- Remember the value of your friend’s gesture. Focus on showing your appreciation for the thought and effort to give you a gift.
- Look at the gift objectively. If you can use it, have space for it, like it, by all means, keep it. But if you don’t, find a new place for it. You can donate it, think of someone who really needs it, or maybe even sell it (I know that one sounds pretty heartless).
As you deal with unwanted gifts, continue investing in your relationships and deepen them. Devote time to your friends and find ways to show them your care in ways that you find appropriate. Relationships are more than stuff so focus more on how you treat your friendship, not the stuff.