Gift Accepting Etiquette

Lounge By pinkyEm Updated 27 Dec 2006 , 1:20pm by berryblondeboys

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pinkyEm Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 12:33am
post #1 of 14

I hope this doesn't turn into a heated debate but I would like some opinions. I have asked/searched around many times for the answer to this but no one seems to know. My in-laws ALWAYS get me stuff that I don't need or even want. It's like they buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff. (These are not people who can afford to "throw away" money.) They put no thought what so ever into the stuff they buy me. (I know it's the thought that counts but not when there was no thought put into the gift.) I always nicely say thank you and never let them see that it's not something I want and then it usually goes in the very back of a closet or in the trash or to the thrift shop. (Example...My SIL bought me a sweater this year, like she does every year, ugly and 2 sizes too big. I took that to the thrift shop.) This year I even went so far as to tell them all, very straight forward, to not buy me anything. To take the money they would have spent on me and spend it on the kids. (Christmas is more for the kids in my opinion.) I even said I couldn't think of anything I wanted or needed and didn't want a bunch of stuff I had no use for. (When I need something or want something, I buy it.) But, they still bought me junk I have no use for or don't want. I really don't care about getting gifts. That's not what Christmas is about to me but they are all people that gifts are important to. (Last year I sat in a foreign country alone while my husband was in Iraq and the rest of my family was 6000 miles away in the states. This year my husband was home and my mom came all the way to Okinawa to spend Christmas with me and frankly, that was enough for me!)
Anyway, I think I have come to the conclusion that this will never change so what is the etiquette here? Do I continue to say thank you and keep throwing/giving everything away or do I be honest with them? I don't want to hurt anyones feelings but I sure hate for them all to keep wasting their money. There must be a solution to this. icon_wink.gif

13 replies
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khoudek Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 1:04am
post #2 of 14

If you donate the gift items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, they really didn't waste their money since someone will benefit from the item in the end. Smile and say thank you, knowing that even though you have no use for it, someone else will.

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ShirleyW Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 1:10am
post #3 of 14

Have you thought about asking them to make a donation in your name to a favorite charity? They would be doing it for you and helping other's at the same time.

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pinkyEm Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 1:11am
post #4 of 14

That's what I have been doing for the past 8 years. And I do think to myself, at least someone will get some use from it, but I don't think that's what the giver intended. lol This year, someone will get a brand new, never worn with the tags still on Liz Claiborne sweater for a good price. icon_wink.gif


Have you thought about asking them to make a donation in your name to a favorite charity? They would be doing it for you and helping other's at the same time.

That's a great idea and I would be all for it but they wouldn't go for that. icon_redface.gif

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vww104 Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 2:56am
post #5 of 14

I think that you've given them many hints and outright requests and they continue to do what they do. So, practice your acting, say thanks and then do whatever you want with the gift.

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mkolmar Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 3:32am
post #6 of 14

If they didn't follow your advice and suggested hints then just keep taking the gifts with a smile to donate it later in the week to a charity. Someone can always use it there.

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koolaidstains Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 3:57am
post #7 of 14

To keep it really simple, just keep saying thank you and donating the gifts! If you think they'll go for it then tell them specifically what you want and make it something you can use. For example, every year for Christmad we would buy my mother new wooden spoons, new kitchen scrubbers, new dishcloths and stuff like that, that needed to be replaced.

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dldbrou Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 4:09am
post #8 of 14

Do you buy them gifts that they can use? If so, try buying them gifts that they do not need or want. Or better yet, give them a card with a note saying that you made a donation in their name to XXXX organization. Maybe then they will get the hint.

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maryak Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 4:52am
post #9 of 14

I think you should re-wrap them and give them back to them on their birthdays or next Christmas and say, "I loved them so much I thought that you should have one as well" and look as sincere as possible when you say it!! icon_lol.gif

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pinkyEm Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 6:46am
post #10 of 14

So, I guess I will just keep smiling, say thank you and getting rid of the stuff. icon_smile.gif
I'm laughing here at the last 2 replies. I usually get them gift cards so they can choose what they get but just for fun one year, I can get them something really off the wall that no one would want. icon_lol.gif And, this year, my MIL gave my husband a nutcracker in cammies. (I Guess she figures because he is a Marine, he will like anything in cammies.) It was sitting on the table and I asked him what he was going to do with it. He looked at me funny and said ummmm, you find a place for it, knowing my place would be the trash can. lol Well, I was looking at it and she paid $25 for this thing and I thought, I can't throw that away. So I said to my mom, maybe next year I would give it back to my MIL and if she noticed I would tell her I had no idea where it came from but thought she might like it. icon_lol.gif Maybe he (the nutcracker, not my husband icon_wink.gif ) can make a trip to the thrift shop too. icon_wink.gif

Thanks everyone!

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SwampWitch Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 7:03am
post #11 of 14

Is it possible to give them a list of things you could use? Maybe your husband could tactfully write a list for them (with your help). But if they want to ignore your wishes, there is nothing you can do but give the items to charity, as everyone's said.

It took six years but my husband and I finally got my MIL to stop sending polyester clothes for our daughter. (For six years we donated!)

Cheers, from

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berryblondeboys Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 12:02pm
post #12 of 14

Well, if possible RETURN THEM. That's the only way they'll know that you don't like the gifts. My husband returns his mothers presents about 50% of the time (unless I help her pick it out). He can only use so many wallets! LOL

It is a waste to have them buy something and then not use it. Sure, it goes to charity, but it's still a waste of their limited resources. I would give them a list of things you might like because MAYBE that would work. If they decide to buy you a sweater and it's too small, TELL THEM... At least ask for a gift receipt or something. I would be honest and tell them that everything just ends up in the trash or charity otherwise.


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pinkyEm Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 12:58pm
post #13 of 14

How does your MIL react and/or what does she say when your husband gives the stuff back?

This is why I asked this question. Part of me thinks that they just keep giving me this stuff because they think I like it because I have never said otherwise. That same part of me wants to just say ummmm thanks but no thanks. Maybe not in those exact words. lol But the other part of me doesn't have the heart to say anything. I'm torn over what to do.

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berryblondeboys Posted 27 Dec 2006 , 1:20pm
post #14 of 14

My MIL accepts it and is glad that he said something. She always gets gift receipts and never cuts tags because she KNOWS it might not work out. I think she's a little disappointed, but she would rather get him something he likes, that something he'll never use. So, usually 1-2 weeks after Christmas, he goes with MIL to exchange the gift for something else.

This year she got him T-shirts, a Nike stocking cap and moisturing cream for his face. He won't use the cream (she keeps buying it, he keeps not using it , but you can't return a cream easily), he told her he boycots Nike because of them using sweatshops, but this time she actually cut the tags, so she is inheriting it for her own. The T-shirts, he'll use them, but he still has a 3 pack from last year that she bought that he hasn't opened, so I told him it's time to purge old t-shirts again. He has like 40 of them!!! (and many of them are threadbare, but he doesn't like me sorting his stuff and wants to decide for himself when to throw something out. This drives MIL crazy that I don't do it, but it's HIS stuff, so it's not my place and i respect DHs wishes... she just keeps buying them to make sure he has nice ones! LOL) Last year she bought him a cashmere sweater, he has two he never wears, so back it went. The year before she bought him a fur lined ear flap winter hat - back that went too... It's just too much money to throw away. If it's a 5 dollar cream, we just toss it or donate it, but for bigger gifts, we return it.


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