Christmas has come and gone. So have gifts. You are now the proud owner of some new things, some that you love, hopefully, and some that you probably wish you didn’t have to deal with. Such is the reality of the gift giving holiday! My question to you is, what are you going to do with the gifts that you don’t love and will never use?
In my work as purge coach I see what happens to gifts that didn’t hit the mark. They get stashed in drawers, closets, cupboards, attics, and basements. Or, they become part of the architecture of a clutter puddle. I think many people just feel guilty for not liking or needing something they are given. Rather than getting honest with themselves* and immediately donating, re-gifting or pitching the gift, they avoid the issue, and ignore the gift, whereby it becomes part of the clutter surrounding them, or they stash it somewhere. The gift, which when given was intended for good, then immediately creates a pocket of static negative energy where it lands.
*By the way, “getting honest” with the gift giver can be unnecessarily hurtful. It’s best to keep it to yourself.
Why Letting Go of Unwanted Gifts is So Difficult
You Love the Giver
People seem to get hung up on the fact that they love the giver of the gift. If they toss the gift they think they are in some way being ungrateful or indicating a lack of love for the giver. The truth is that givers of gifts cannot always get it right. People tend to give the kinds of things they like, not necessarily what the recipient might like! Often the giver has no clue about what the recipient might like. Therefore, they are guessing when they give gifts!
So, you get a gift from someone you love and you hate it. The giver did the best he or she could. Now you have to decide what you will do with the item. Do you have to keep it (only because it was given by someone you love)? Why would you keep an object you hate (pure negative energy) even if it was given by someone you love, which affects the love?
The Gift Holds the Energy of the Giver
Another complicating factor is that a gift holds the energy of the giver. When you look at a gift, you think of the giver. If you look at it, smile and feel good feelings, because you care about the giver and like the gift, keep it! But, it you look at the gift and feel good feelings about the giver but hate the gift, what should you do? Tossing the gift can feel like you are tossing the person. In most cases you have received other gifts from that person that you do like, gifts that can hold the giver’s positive energy in your space. If you want to keep that person’s energy in your space, keep the gift(s) you do like and let go of the hated gift. If it’s the first gift given by a significant person, I still recommend letting go of it because the negative energy of the gift will be an irritant that could affect the energy of the relationship. Let it go and give the giver another chance at another time!
The Gift Was Given By Someone With Whom You Have a Complicated Relationship
What if the gift was given to you by someone with whom you have a complicated relationship? If he or she gets the gift right and you love it, the gift holds a positive energy about the relationship. If the giver goofs and gives you something you hate, even though you think he or she should know what you like, keeping the gift will anchor the conflict in the relationship. Is that what you want?
The Giver Went to the Trouble to Send the Gift
Just recently I heard another reason people keep gifts. Bob and I had received two mugs from a very special family member. When I suggested that we give them away, since we don’t need any more mugs Bob said, “I hate to do that. He went to all that trouble to send them.” Should we cram two more mugs into our cabinet just because the person expended effort on our behalf? It’s physically impossible to keep everything we are given just because people spent their time and money to give things to us. Life is too long and our space is too small! What we can do is express our appreciation to them and then make a decision about each gift that works well for us and our space. In this case I plan to evaluate the mug collection and release two mugs if I intend to keep these two.
Criteria for Keeping a Gift
Each time I get a gift I evaluate its energy. I ask myself the following questions.
–Do I love it?
–Will I use it?
–Will I eat it (if it’s food!)?
The recipient has no idea that all this evaluation is going on. I thank them. I add their name to my to do list so I’ll remember to write a note thanking them. We really have very limited space for incoming new items in our home. What I receive has to have “Lexus” energy–meaning top of the line! Awesome! If it does, it stays. If not, I move it along. I am lucky that none of my family comes looking for the gifts they have given me. But, if they did, I’d tell them that I passed the gift on to someone who needed it more than me. That’s the truth!
Responding to a Gift, Wanted or Unwanted
When you are given a gift, any kind of gift, the best thing you can do is say thank you. Write a thank you note if that’s what seems right to do. You aren’t thanking them for getting it right. You are thanking them for the effort they made to remember you, for the time, effort and money they expended. Then, the gift is yours. Do with it whatever you wish. If the trash seems the best location for it, pitch away! If you love it or will use it, find a place for it in your home. If you don’t want to keep it and donating it is a good option, take it to the Goodwill bag or box you maintain for just this type of thing. The most important thing is to move the gift along to the next spot, whether it that’s the trash, the donation box, your gift area or the shelf of treasures.
So, if you get a gift you don’t need, want, or like, disconnect the gift from your feelings for the giver (no easy task at times!) and the money and effort they expended. Then move it along. You’ll be honoring yourself by being honest and not holding on to something that doesn’t serve you. And, you’ll keep your life moving forward by refusing to create negative energy blocks throughout your space and your life!