We’ve all done it haven’t we?  Given a present to someone without considering if the recipient will appreciate it?

Whether it’s the last minute wrap-up-job at Christmas, a hostess gift or the office Secret Santa, giving a thoughtless present is not pleasurable to the giver or the receiver.

I can hear you saying, “Yes, I’ve done that, but I didn’t know anything about him/her” or “They are so difficult to buy for” or “well you didn’t say what you wanted so I just guessed”.

Consider how it feels when you open a gift and realize its wrong for you. Recall the sparkle of anticipation when the parcel was handed to you, the expectation in the giver’s face, the forced smile as you realized you were going to be stuck with this item… uncomfortable huh?  Unless you have a slightly nasty streak, that’s not a feeling you want to force on anyone else is it?

In clutter and interior therapy terms however, this goes a lot deeper.  If the recipient feels obliged to keep an unwanted gift because they think the giver will be offended, then it instantly becomes clutter. For the record, just because your elderly aunt or mother-in-law gave it to you, there is no contract stating you have to keep anything which doesn’t make you feel good.

A particularly brilliant holistic therapist friend had shelves groaning with ‘little treats’ given by happy clients.  The hotch-potch of individual items didn’t bring joy but each time clients turned up for a session, they expected to see the crystal, china cat, candle (or whatever!) on display.  It took a big shift in her thinking to send them where they would be appreciated.

Unwelcome gifts immediately develop a little burst of negative energy around them.  You resent them subconsciously. You might ask yourself “What made her think I would love this vase shaped like a cacti?” or “Why a huge box of chocolates when I’ve just lost 2 stone at Weightwatchers?”

The reason I’m explaining just how disappointing it feels to receive something which has no place in your life is twofold;

Firstly, from now on promise yourself to only buy or make gifts you can be sure the recipient will appreciate.  If in doubt, choose something inoffensive.  If you must make a bigger gesture, discreetly offer them the receipt so they can change it for something else, or better still choose a voucher from a store you know they genuinely love.

Secondly, you are not required to keep anything you don’t want or which makes you feel anything less than happy to have it in your life – regardless of who it came from! If you are given something you simply don’t like, pass it on to someone you know will love it, donate it to a good cause or if it has sufficient value, sell it!  Whichever option you choose, remove it from your space as quickly as you can.

Once a gift is freely given to you, it becomes your property to do with as you please and it’s none of anybody else’s business.  If however it is a gift which comes with strings attached and you don’t want it in your life, offer to return it to the giver without making a fuss.

To get a little ‘woo-woo’ about it, when something is given to you freely, the energy becomes yours.  A loved gift exudes positive energy where an unwelcome gift has a negative impact.

Of course it’s kindest not to tell the giver you won’t be keeping something, especially if they are a bit sensitive.  Thanking them and being grateful that they thought of you is essential to maintain your positive vibe.

Giving is about spreading joy and happiness.  It tells someone “I like you” or “I respect the effort you made”.  When you hand over your carefully chosen present, do so without attachment to what happens to it and the world will be a little brighter for everyone.