Friday, December 26, 2008

To Return or To Re-Gift?

Tis the season for gift-giving. From the first day of Hanukkah to the last day of Kwanzaa, people all over the world often kick into overdrive--making, buying, giving and receiving gifts from family, friends and colleagues. A time that people should be focused on the sheer delight of giving and receiving is often marred with stress and disappointment.

Have you ever received a gift you could not use or given a gift only to find out later the recipient returned or re-gifted it? We've all been there--on either end of the spectrum of this controversial issue. So what's the proper way of dealing with these sensitive situations?

Honesty can be the best policy…

I have found it is best to be honest. Find a gentle, tactful way to let the person know you don't like or cannot use the gift. Explain to them that you are honored they thought enough of you to give you a gift and you would in turn, love to honor them to make sure that the time spent making, or money spent buying the gift is not wasted.

Ask the giver if they would mind if you returned the gift for an item you really need or if you can re-gift the item to someone you know it would be perfect for. Usually, the giver will be very gracious and will appreciate the honesty.

Don’t get caught in a compromising situation…

There is nothing more embarrassing or deflating than running into the giver at the store when you are sneaking to return a gift or having them come to your home year after year and seeing the gift tossed aside--becoming a permanent addition to closet/drawer clutter.

If you are the giver, try to remember that if you have chosen a gift the recipient can't use, you should not take it personally. It is not a reflection of your inability to give a great gift. It's just that the recipient's taste or need may differ from your own. If we allow our pride and ego to get in the way, it could indicate we are more concerned with making ourselves happy than the happiness of the recipient. After all, is the gift for you or for the recipient?

Choose an outcome that honors all parties involved…

I don't profess to be an authority on gift-giving etiquette. My opinions are based solely on my experiences and the fact that I need to be truthful and completely authentic to whom I am as a person. I also realize each situation will be different and you should consider the personalities of the people involved. In the end, strive for an outcome that will honor all parties. If this is not possible, choose the outcome that will bring you the most peace while still honoring yourself and your spirit.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic as they may help someone else relieve some of the drama and stress surrounding holiday gift-giving.

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