Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gracious Gift Receiving...

Have you ever given a gift to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or acquaintance and felt as if your gift was more of a bother than a blessing?  It doesn't make the gift-giver feel very good.  It doesn't make the gift appear thoughtful.  It doesn't help to nurture that warm-fuzzy feeling gift-giving usually brings...

I remember one specific time I gave a very nice gift, a hand thrown pottery, custom glazed, custom inscribed mug to someone.  It wasn't an inexpensive gift, to say the least.  In fact, it was quite pricy for my gift-giving standards.  There was a personal inscription in the pottery on the bottom of the mug.  I was so terribly excited about giving this gift.  But when the recipient opened the gift box, unfolded the tissue paper, she barely lifted the cup from the box, said, "Oh.  It's a coffee mug."  And put it back in the box... I don't think she ever saw the inscription on the bottom.  My heart was crushed, my feelings were hurt...and I had spent so much time picking just the right one...

Truth is, sometimes gifts aren't our particular taste.  They aren't our color, our size, our style, or fit our new "simplified" lifestyle.  That doesn't give us the right to be rude, or ungrateful.  Here are some tips about receiving gifts when you're in the process of decluttering and reorganizing your life.

When your space is limited and you've decided to declutter, often those tangible gifts feel more like a curse than a blessing.  If you're focused on reducing your stash of stuff and having "a place for everything and everything in it's place," then you might find yourself hesitant to bring something new into your home.

Talk about your decluttering process.  If you're passionate about your new organized self, talk about it...with everyone!  When you decide to make a change in your lifestyle it's good to talk to people about it.  You might start a trend and may even have a few people join you on your band wagon.  Let them know the types of things you're getting rid of, the types of things you're keeping, the types of new things you're getting excited storage boxes and desk accessories...

Suggest Experience gifts.  If you enjoy dining out, going to the movies, attending a play or the ballet, those are great gift ideas that won't bring extra clutter into your home.  If you're saving for a vacation, you can always suggest that people contribute to that experience - and that every little bit goes a long way.  I had a friend once who was dearly longing for new drapes, but they were far too costly for her to afford on her salary.  When family members asked what to buy her for Christmas, she asked them to contribute to the purchase of the drapery panels, by saying, "Well, what I really want are these draperies for my dining room." By suggesting an experience gift, you don't have to make room in your newly organized home for extra items, and by asking gift-givers to contribute to a specific item or project, you both know you're getting exactly what you wanted.

Ask for a donation for the needy.  This one is pretty straight forward.  Knowing you're helping someone in need without getting anything in return is very rewarding.  I know families who vow each year to adopt angels from the angel tree instead of buying unnecessary things for one another.  I know of one young lady who hosted her own birthday party - the invitation read, "No gifts for me, please.  Let's help the animals at the shelter."  She then printed a list of items her local animal shelter was in need of.  Guests brought dog food, blankets, towels, kitty litter, etc.  The young lady was thrilled with "her gifts."

Lastly, Accept graciously the gifts you receive.  Truth is, some people will always be gift-givers.  When those occasions arise, graciously accept the gift, send a thank you note, and then take some time to decide how this item can be useful to you.  Maybe it needs to be repainted, maybe it needs a little tweak.  Often times we can repurpose an item after giving it a little thought.  After a second look, if you decide the gift doesn't suit you or your lifestyle, donate that item to someone who will love it, or to your local charity.

If you do receive gifts as your organizing and decluttering, remember that gift-giving is an emotional experience.  The gift-giver is probably very excited about giving you this particular gift, as I was about the pottery mug.  Be kind, say thank you, write a note of gratitude.  Continue to discuss your newly found love of organized, uncluttered spaces.  Talk about the peace of mind an organized space brings to you and how happy you are that you decided to purge all the unnecessary things from your life.  Eventually, people will hear you.  Maybe they'll even join you.

Only By His Grace,


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