Author Topic: How to receive gifts with grace  (Read 4344 times)

thedayisbrave

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How to receive gifts with grace
« on: October 06, 2014, 12:54:28 PM »
I will admit I need A LOT of help with this.  Like most Mustachians, I enjoy living simply and I believe that everything has its place.  Growing up, my mom was a single mom so I learned to be very independent quite young.  Our relationship has been very rocky in the past, just due to coping with emotional difficulties and honestly not understanding each other.

She is the one who taught me to be frugal, so I have her to thank for that.  I am moving to a new city 3 hours away and for some reason today when she tried to give me stuff (that I don't need), it just drove me insane.  What doesn't help is that with a live-in boyfriend now she has 3x as much stuff.  What I thought I was doing was going over to pick out some plates etc. that I might need, but they had put together a whole box of his old dishes including butter dishes, etc. to give me.  I felt like an extreme bitch but I turned them away.  I mean, I think I've only ever bought butter once in my life. 

I've always loved horses, and bought 2 pictures to put on the walls at my new place.  She knew about them because I had them shipped to her house.  But today she gave me a 3rd.  Obviously, I don't know where I'd put it but I feel like I HAVE to take it and HAVE to put it somewhere - and she was so emotional about giving it to me that I wouldn't dare try to turn this one down but this is overwhelming me. 

This is a very "first world" or "Mustachian" problem, I'm aware.  I have a horrible guilty conscience that kicks in when I have stuff I don't need.  On the other hand, my wonderful boss gave me a toolbox that has already come in handy - that I accepted gratefully because it contained stuff I would have otherwise needed to go out and buy - stuff I needed. 

I know I can't be the only one.  I may never be able to master this skill.  I've read the book about love languages and I think this may be a huge case of us speaking the wrong languages to each other.

MikeBear

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 01:07:46 PM »
You're making FAR too much of this. It's easy, at a bare minimum, you simply say "Thank-you!" and take them to make THEM happy. To do otherwise in a situation like this, is very much a SLAP in the face of the giver. You feel guilty because you know YOU were in the wrong, yet you did it anyway.

If you don't want them, you still take them, and then you can give them to Goodwill or something where people will appreciate them. Except for the horse picture of course. You hang that sucker on the wall, and keep it as long as your mother is still breathing...


Timmmy

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 01:11:23 PM »
I struggled with this for a while.  The thing that helped me was to realize that the gift is secondary.  The giver is giving in the best way they know how. Just smile, thank them for their generosity and move on. 

You are under no obligation to use/display/wear whatever they gave you.  They likely won't know the difference anyway.  Most of their joy from giving comes from the moment you receive it. 

4alpacas

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 01:25:37 PM »
I struggled with this for a while.  The thing that helped me was to realize that the gift is secondary.  The giver is giving in the best way they know how. Just smile, thank them for their generosity and move on. 

You are under no obligation to use/display/wear whatever they gave you.  They likely won't know the difference anyway.  Most of their joy from giving comes from the moment you receive it.

I agree with Timmmy.  Say thank you.  Write a nice note.  If you don't want the items, donate them to Goodwill and appreciate the tax write off.

trailrated

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 01:28:15 PM »
You could always take it, then donate to good will for the tax write off?

Cpa Cat

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 01:40:27 PM »
I feel your pain.

My husband's grandma always gifts us random crap she finds in her house or buys at estate auction. -She- doesn't want it, but she is certain that someone in the family will need it. She even tried to give us her late-husband's underpants (waste not, want not!). One of my husband's brothers was gracious enough to jump on the grenade and accept the underpants. We escaped with some filthy undershirts.

I've just learned to say "thank you" and throw out or donate the items when I get home.

For years, my dad insisted on buying me earrings - even though my ears aren't pierced. Eventually, I stopped correcting him and just regifted the earrings.

The only time I've had to actually draw the line is when my grandfather died. We needed to clear out his apartment and my uncle's girlfriend was there to "help," but kept crying whenever we tried to donate or throw out anything. There were only a couple of us, and we were mostly international - we weren't going to ship his old desk home or pack up the china. We each took a couple of keepsakes - that was all we needed. But she had this hangup about us throwing out our heirlooms. Again, -she- didn't want it, but she was sure that we would regret not taking it. We ultimately had to have a (gentle) discussion with her, because we were on a tight timeline and she was really interfering with our ability to get it done.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2014, 03:30:34 PM »
You have no moral obligation to objects. A person giving you a gift is NOT creating a moral obligation.

Now, if your mom asks about the gifts she gives you and comes to visit and looks for them--then you might need to make some gentle explanation. Otherwise, Goodwill/Craigslist/Freecycle and move on.

Greg

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 10:01:50 PM »
"Thank you". Then do what you want with the gift. If you give it away, you can say you knew someone who wanted/needed it more than you, and the "hint" may eventually be perceived.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2014, 02:26:40 AM »
Read the website or book "Five love languages".

It deals with how we as humans show our love in five ways, and prefer one over the others. The way we show love is our favorite to receive love.

Eg

Words of appreciation
Time spent together
Gift giving (even tiny items like a flower picked from the yard)
Doing thing for others- giving of self or taking care
Touch (hugs, arm touch, hand holding, sitting close while reading MMM, etc)

I bet your Mom is either a gift giver, or more likely a " do things for others" person.

So when you reject the time she took to put the box together, you are rejecting her offer of love.

The point is once you figure it out, you know if you can say:
" How wonderful of you to do this for me!  I can hardly wait to go through it when I get home to see which pieces I can really use.  Is it okay if I give some away if I can't use it myself?"

Or,  if the primary language for your mom is gifts, just show lots of appreciation, take it away, donate secretly, and bring your mom small gifts when you come over.  " I was thinking of you and wanted you to have this pretty rock I found on my walk yesterday..."

smalllife

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 04:58:02 AM »
I've learned to NEVER mention that I need something, may do "x" in the future, am replacing something, or express desire in any material good in front of my mother.  She'll take that and get something tangentially related, that she thinks is going above or beyond, but so far beyond as to be useless to me.  Avoiding calling anything "cute" or discussing my house has helped a lot, although with moving it's hard to avoid.

It's frustrating that we have to put up with the gift givers while gift givers tend to be the love language that doesn't understand or want to understand that other people express things differently, but that's life.  Just donate, avoid material discussion, and make multiple references to having donated previous gifts (bonus points for "I know you used to use this and it no longer has a purpose in my house, do you want it back?").

Apples

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 06:01:23 AM »
I agree with everyone else that first you need to smile and say thank you, then take it home with you.  My MIL and SIL are big gift givers (which is sooooo not my family) so I had to learn how to graciously accept things all. the. time. that I may or may not want, while they both make mention to my husband of how much time/money they put into it.  Since you say you have to hang the picture somewhere, etc. do you think your mom is manipulating you a bit with her emotional shows?  My MIL does this.  She got about 7 picture frames that she used for my bridal shower, then gave them to me to take home.  God forbid we don't have all 7 out with pictures in them and on display when she visits.  And she and my SIL will ask about other gifts-did you like them/where are they/etc.  Big emotional deal if you don't have them.  So we're learning to pick and choose.  Put up the 3rd horse picture.  Throw away the butter dishes.  If/when asked, gush about the horse picture and say you couldn't find a use for the butter dish but found a way to pass it along.

GuitarStv

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Re: How to receive gifts with grace
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2014, 06:47:18 AM »
For the first five years of our courtship, my wife's (tiny Asian) parents would give me clothing.  But they never actually asked for my measurements.  There appear to be few people who are 6 ft tall where they were living and certainly no clothing made for those who are.  Just get used to dropping off unwanted stuff at your nearest charity.  It's the gesture that counts.