Gift giving is a minefield.
You want to spend about the same amount as the person with whom you’re exchanging gifts, (or at least appear to spend the same amount.) You also want to spend the same amount as you did last year, but not more lest you escalate those vengeful gift giving gods.
Yup, a minefield. And what do you have when it’s all over?
A bunch of new stuff that you neither chose nor would have chosen.
Okay, okay, sometimes the gifts you receive are absolutely wonderful, the stuff of dreams. Luxury items you could not have afforded yourself, a gift card to your favorite store or theater tickets and a massage gift certificate. But what about the resin figurines, the awful DIY projects and for the love of all that is holy, what to do with all. The. Sweaters?!
Is it wrong to get rid of the gifts that others have kindly chosen for you? Because, let’s face it, it is very nice of people to buy things for us.
I know people who feel like they are required to keep a gift until the day they die, and their houses reflect this point of view. A hodge-podge of knick-knacks that do not enhance the recipient’s life.
When I receive a gift, I will often try to find a better owner. You know, a medium-sized person for that medium-sized sweater. I have worked very hard to declutter my house, (mind you, it’s far from a completed project) and I like to think that I’ve become more deliberate about what comes to live here. Not everyone is excited about this turn of events. (My older sister has told me she’s not buying me any more presents, although she has yet to make good on this threat.)
Although I have no solution for this matter, I do suggest that you choose your gifts carefully. And veer towards experiential gifts or consumables whenever possible. (I know I would love to receive a couple of movie tickets and a box of Junior Mints!) And there’s enough time between now and the holiday season to start that uncomfortable conversation about gift limitations with your loved ones.
And please, do not feel like to need to keep something just because it was a gift. And if that pisses off your friends and family, you have my permission to blame it on me, The Non-Consumer Advocate. I’m okay with being the bad guy.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”
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