Christmas is over. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably both given and received a bunch of gifts. Some of these might have been fantastic. Others, not so much.
And much of the time, the “not so much” come from the same people – as part of a recurring pattern.
Aunt Ethel gives you a clock for your wall. The first year she does this, when you’re 18 and just starting out, that’s awesome! You have no furniture, no wall decorations, and something to hang on your wall – anything, really – brightens up your apartment.
But then you hit your mid twenties, and get a slightly better job. You’re buying your own furniture, picking out your own decor, and possibly doing so with the help of a husband or boyfriend that’s now sharing your space. It’s nice that Aunt Ethel appreciates you at Christmas, but gifts of home decor are starting to become problematic.
Yet rather than just junking the offending stuff, you feel trapped.
Maybe Aunt Ethel visits from time to time, and you’re afraid of what’s going to happen if you take down that clock. Maybe you just feel that it’s wrong to get rid of something that Aunt Ethel clearly spent so much time picking out.
Your feelings are that it’s wrong to get rid of this stuff, but here’s the reality:
You’ve decided that Aunt Ethel is allowed to fill up your space with whatever she wants.
That might be manageable with Aunt Ethel, but most of us don’t have just one Aunt Ethel. We have a dozen. Or three dozen. Mothers, fathers, aunts, cousins, in-laws, coworkers, bosses – many of them have staked at least an emotional claim over our space.
Having other people decide what we’re allowed to have in our space is a completely dysfunctional way to live.
If you’ve gotten a bad gift this holiday season, there are four steps to being free:
- Thank the giver for the gift. Don’t yell at them, don’t be upset – even if it’s something you expressly told them you didn’t want. Be thankful that they got you something.
- Realize that the gift is not the feeling. The gift is an expression of a feeling, which would exist with or without the gift. So the gift is neither here nor there – if you like it, keep it. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to dispose of it.
- Consider what you can do with the gift. Food you won’t eat? Re-gift to somebody who will. Sweater that doesn’t fit? Maybe you have a friend who would love it. Or if it came from a store with a generous return policy, maybe you can get something you will like. Worst case scenario, your local thrift store will always take it.
- Act on your decision. Re-gift the food. Give the sweater to the friend. Take it back to the store. Drop it at Goodwill.
I’m not going to lie – this can be hard. But I can tell you that it gets easier over time, and it’s completely within your control.
This is possible!
If you’re stuck with a Christmas gift you don’t want and you’re having a hard time working through the process of getting rid of it, drop me a line via the contact form. Also stay tuned to this site – we’ll be discussing this more during the coming year!