Gift-receivers shouldn’t return presents after holiday season

Photo by Jessica Johnson.

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Now that we’re settling into the new year, we’re debating what to do with our unwanted gifts from family or friends. Do we return it? Find a use for it? Stash it away in a box at the back of our closets? Or you could do what a close relative of mine is famous for doing: re-gift it the next year. Are you really going to be that person in the family or friend group who returns gifts without even giving them a chance?

Returning a gift shows that you are unappreciative, and as Ross from “Friends” puts it, “[someone who is] devoid of sentiment.”

Oftentimes, people are quick to judge a gift by what it is and forget to think about the meaning behind why it was given to them in the first place. Do we even think about how the person will feel about us returning their gift? Yes, it would be in your favor to exchange it for something better or to get money back. However, would you rather do that and hurt the person’s feelings or just suck it up and thank them?

In an episode of “Friends,” Ross asks Rachel to wear the necklace he had bought her, but she comes out with a completely different necklace.

“Oh my gosh, you actually exchanged it,” Ross said.

For the next little bit, they fight over the fact that Ross spent time finding that gift for her and putting thought into it, but because Rachel didn’t like it, she returned it without giving it a second thought.

This is similar to any real life scenario. Whoever got you a gift obviously cared enough about you to a) spend money on you and b) spend the time to find something and wrap it for you. The least you could do is be grateful for it and find some way to make a use out of it. You don’t even need to tell the person that it may not be something you will use or wear.

Just like me, you may have had times where your mom would attempt at clothes shopping for you in your early teens. Our moms don’t exactly have the same style as us, especially at their age. But when I open a perfectly wrapped box and see a turtleneck sweater that I would never wear in a million years, am I going to cringe and say something like, “Really mom, why would you get me this?” Or “I hope you have the receipt for this.” No, I wouldn’t say that because she’s my mom and she tried; it’s the thought that counts.

Think about it this way. That would be like your parents throwing away the handmade gifts you made in elementary school for them. Wouldn’t that just crush your heart a little bit? There’s definitely no need to reject a gift you are given just because it’s not what you wanted or pictured that person giving you.