Houzz Logo Print

What do you do with gifts (decorative) you don't like?

14 years ago

My mom is always giving us stuff that doesn't really suit our tastes or decor - like the stained glass cactus window hanging, the white ceramic statue from Tuesday AM she thought looked like Lladro, the "carousel horse" made from a plastic rocking horse, etc. Some things I've managed to tell her we don't have a place for, or wrong color, some I've managed to tuck away in closets.

The latest is a very tall cylindrical piece of pottery, about 4-5" in diameter and a foot high. I know she paid quite a bit for it at shop in NC when she was on vacation in Nov. She had gotten me a spoon rest a couple of years ago from the same place and she has a few bowls from there - she's on a "kick" apparently. I asked what it was, a utensil holder and she acted shocked, told me it was a wine cooler. We got *rid* of a terra cotta cooler (with coaster) when we moved b/c we never used it - we're not white wine drinkers, in fact we rarely drink wine at home b/c a bottle lasts forever. It's not something that I would put on a formal table when we have people over for dinner either.

So, do I use this in my kitchen anyway (goes well with the counters even if it doesn't suit my canisters - I can pull the spoon rest out of the drawer too!)? Do I stick it away in a closet for a while, then suggest to her at some point that she may get more use out of it than we will, since it matches her other pieces? Do I keep it until she's passed away (like the statue), then get rid of it? I almost asked my dad if he could return it when he passed through on the way to FL last week, but never got to speak to him alone and I'm not sure he could return it (esp. since my mom probably has the receipt, or threw it out). I hate for my mom to keep spending money on things that I'll never use!

Comments (34)

  • 14 years ago

    Well, it would be sad, just sad, if that piece of pottery were left a little too close to the edge of a counter and while you were cleaning, your arm just happens to ...

    But really, just re-gift it, with a bottle of wine, maybe for Valentine's Day. I'm sure you could find someone to give it to. If you put it into the closet "for a while" before trying to push it back on her, that "for a while" will last your lifetime.

    And the next step is the biggest: Be a big girl now--be honest with your mother. Tell her you don't want her spending her money on you, that there's nothing you need--EXCEPT HER TIME. Tell her that you'd rather spend time with her (lunch, a movie, a little art exhibit, a visit to a garden show) than she spend money on you. Will her feelings be hurt a little bit to know that you don't share her taste in things? Yes. But both of you will get over it.

    Unless you really want to have a closet full of plastic statues.

  • 14 years ago

    I'd probably take the passive aggressive approach and say Thank you! then give it to good will.
    What I think you are missing is that she enjoys shopping let her have her entertainment. Somewhere in her subconscious she knows you don't need or want these items but she rationalizes it consciously that you do she can continue to shop.
    Cheaper than lots of hobbies.

  • Related Discussions

    What do you do about daylilies you don't like?


    Comments (27)
    I bring them to work and give them to my co-workers. I do that with a lot of the extra divisions and seedling plants in the spring. This year I brought in 10 or so divisions of Siloam Doodlebug and 8 divisions of Snowy Eyes and a few of some others. I also bring in other plants, like Lady's mantle, iris, perennial geraniums and stuff. I hate composting perfectly good plants and I'm too lazy to sell them. Most of my co-workers are not die-hard gardeners like us and don't care about things like names and genetics - they're just happy to get a nice plant with neat flowers for free! I've been doing this for a few years and it's always fun to have people come back to me and rave over a plant I gave them a year or 2 ago.
    ...See More

    What do you do with the ones you don't like?


    Comments (11)
    I dig them up and trade them at the local plant exchange. There is a never ending line of people who want hostas, they don't care what kind. Some I even sell clumps at the Farmer's Market. That gives me enough money to buy corn and squash there (which I don't have room to grow on account of the hostas taking up every spare inch of space.) I've got some beautiful Ragged Robins, Centaurea, Bleeding Hearts, and daylilies in trade that way too. Lainey
    ...See More

    What do you like in decorating when most don't?


    Comments (131)
    Jane, why would people throw up over using coasters? I have several nice sets (mostly from ebay), including some stone ones with fossils in them, hand-carved wood, tooled leather, miniature Oriental rugs. It gets so humid here in the summer that a beverage glass will sweat a big puddle all over a table, and the hot mugs we slurp from all winter long make nasty marks on wood, and the rough bottoms of handthrown pottery can scratch something fierce. DH pretty much wrecked the top of his ~150yo Victorian nightstand leaving a cup of hot coffee on the unprotected surface, I could have killed him because now I'm going to have to fix it. (I had glass tops cut for them when I first bought them, but I hate the "clank" sound of something like a glass or mug being put down on a glass surface, and that glass is a dust magnet.) Most of our tables are antique in the sense of "old stuff" rather than "valuable" but it doesn't mean I still think it's okay to trash them. I'm not one of those people who scurries around sticking coasters under people's drinks when we have people over though, that's just rude IMO.
    ...See More

    Researching refrigerators, what do you like (or don't) about yours


    Comments (19)
    I over planned and bought too early. It was an error. Appliances sat around in the garage for months and I lost warranty time because that counts from date of purchase usually. When you buy too early everything is months old by the time it's installed. Take the list of must-haves to a big appliance store. Shop those features, take pix and make notes on prices. When you get down to actually designing the kitchen and know space requirements for various pieces that's the time to get more specific with actual picks since you will need exact dimensions for the cabinet order. Meanwhile, there is plenty of time for the inevitable learning curve. There is one no matter how many suggestions you might get. Now to answer your question: I have a built in Miele refrigerator. What I love about it is the amazing lighting, the sturdy build quality (no clattering or chattering doors when they close) and the door storage. I have a bottom freezer that's excellent and very cold. My fridge doesn't stick out much from the cabinets -- I don't care for that look. No big grill either. It's super easy to clean -- everything comes apart in just the right way and goes back in a minute. Very quiet and very reliable. But bi fridges are a huge cost commitment. I extensively researched bi fridge styles and didn't want storage loss with FD. I don't care for the taste of fridge water -- I have an excellent filtered water faucet which gives me terrific quality water that I know is OK. That's used for all drinking and cooking. No way to do that with a fridge door dispenser. Just a thought if there will be kids in the house.
    ...See More
  • 14 years ago

    I like to think my daughter would tell me if I gave her a gift she didn't like for exactly the same reason you gave: I don't want to spend money on something the recipient doesn't like or want to use. I never buy decorative items for others because taste is so individual, but my DIL sometimes buys items I wouldn't buy for myself. For example, she gave me a set of candlesticks for Christmas which might be described as "old world"--not my taste. I have them on my sofa table for now. The way I've dealt with other items she's given me is to have them out for a while, relegate them to the closet, then bring them out for a while again. I change accessories frequently, so I hope that seems normal to her. I think different families have different norms about gift giving. In my family, the receipt goes with the gift. In my husband's family, you keep whatever is given you.

  • 14 years ago

    Sounds like your DM doesn't live nearby and won't pop in without a call? I don't think I'd re-gift it, store it till when she next visits. Make a nice dinner and use the wine cooler.

    I really feel for you as I know all too well how it feels to have DM or DMIL bring me a "must have" gift that is no where near anything I would want or need.

    However, being a mom, I can relate to that feeling of picking something up for my DD only to have her not hide the fact that she neither wants or likes it. We have a different relationship than mine with my own mother as you can probably tell. My own DM & DMIL would be hurt if I wasn't on the same page as them about their gift. So I thank the gift giver graciously, make a nice comment about the gift and put the darn thing in a closet once the giver has gone home:)).

    Your DD is young and you are the total rockstar in her world at this point. There will come a day when you will buy her something that she will be less than thrilled with and she may let you know. Kids these days are funny that way. Any event, it will give you some pause as to your thoughts of your own DM's gifts.

    So, my advice would be to thank DM graciously and then put the item away if you can't use it.

  • 14 years ago

    "Kids these days are funny that way"

    I'll never forget my 16th birthday (1976) - Mom got me (some ugly 70s-ish) clothes. How unimaginative for a 16th birthday can you get? I cried and said what I really wanted was a watch. Got the watch instead, thanks mostly to my stepdad.

    I told my sister just before Christmas this year, Mom doesn't want to give us what we want, she wants to give us what she wants us to have. So, when Mom gave us both "stair baskets" for Christmas (neither of which were wanted or needed), my sister and I just looked at each other with a wink and a smile.

    Oh, and I accidentally stepped on mine while vacuuming the stairs the other day - for real, not on purpose... the stairs are too narrow for such a thing! But I left it, had them over the other nite for dinner and as soon as they were gone, put it in the garage.

  • 14 years ago

    In our previous house, anything from DH's parents that he liked I felt I had to display, even though it usually was not my taste and generally didn't go with the way the house was decorated.

    In this house, DH has some built in shelves in his office, so he can display whatever he wants. The only problem has been that his parents gave us a gemstone globe/paperweight. I think it's very pretty and wouldn't mind displaying it on the bookcase in the family room, but he won't give it up.

    Anything that doesn't work and DH doesn't care about usually ends up in a closet or drawer until it's eventually donated to Goodwill or whatever.

    Totally Confused

  • 14 years ago

    Well, I did thank her, it's not like this pottery is horrible (unlike the cactus and the horse). It's just that I'm sure it was expensive, and I really have no use for a wine cooler. She doesn't want me using it for kitchen utensils, maybe I could use it as a vase but it doesn't really go with my decor. She *does* live nearby, wouldn't expect to see it displayed (since it's for wine and we rarely drink wine - when we do the bottle goes in the fridge). I don't know if she'd be shocked to see me use it as a vase - if I could find a place where it didn't stick out like a sore thumb.

    I have told her in the past when something really didn't suit my decor or taste, and told her we don't want/need anything other than to finish the house LOL! I repeated that comment this past Xmas when she asked what DH and I wanted, and I told her he could use a Thermos for coffee, but that's it, and she *did* buy me a wreath when we were shopping at Walmart and I was saying I wanted a pair but they were $25 so that was quite enough, but she had already bought this a month earlier. I guess she asked too late

    I feel really bad that she didn't buy this locally so even if I told her I had no use for it, she can't return it (even if the potter allowed returns). How can I keep her from wasting her $ on us (not to mention all the things she spoils the kids with - DD ended up with way too much this Xmas by her "keeping up with the cousins")?

    I do hope that DD lets me know if I do something like this. Cheap little things, let slide, say thank you, and then donate them or whatever. It's not worth hurting feelings. But something more expensive? I hate to think how much my mom has spent on things like the horse (which was huge and hideous and I think *very* $$$ and nonreturnable - I think she ended up donating it to Sr Center auction b/c I *really* had no place for it) and this "art pottery" wine cooler (which BTW is only 7.5" tall - I haven't looked at it in a month and was going by the size of the box).

    Do you think I could regift it to *her* after a while? Say maybe her bday in July? Since it's really to her taste, not mine? She'd be really hurt if she knew I gave it away (to charity or to someone else) when *she* really likes it, maybe she'd rather have it (and use it when she has people over to dinner) than have me give it away, or stick it in a closet?

  • 14 years ago

    My sister came to visit and brought a leather cd player holder I'd given her for X-mas. She said I must have liked it because I bought it for her & she hated it. :0) She asked for a cd player I purchased the nicest one I could find. :0)I only spent $20, any less would have been a dollar store purchase. :0) My train of thinking had "nothing" to do with MY liking it or wanting it. Sooooooooooooo..........I'd give it to Goodwill. :0)

    Buying people gifts is difficult. Donating them to a charity keeps the peace.

  • 14 years ago

    I think you need to post a picture of it here...any chance it might look nice with something like long branches in it, you know using it like a vase?

    Or, another idea--

    I have a friend who is a teacher. Teachers get the weirdest gifts, totally "what were you thinking?" kind of gifts. She has her Christmas party for friends at her house every year, and all of those presents go into a 'Dirty Santa' game. (If you're not familiar with this, everyone pulls a number 1 - x, then starting with #1, the person chooses their gift, unwraps it, number 2 can either choose the gift #1 opened or open one they if you have the last number, you can pick any of the gifts.) It's a really funny thing to do, especially with lots of "unusual" gifts, because what one person has no use for, someone else does.

    So, start saving up those unwanted gifts, and have a holiday party next year! Just don't invite your mom to the party.

  • 14 years ago

    If they come from someone I really like, I use them. I would say most things like this have not been "leave out" decorative items, but, for example I have a bunch of decorative wine stoppers and decorative entertaining kind of gifts, (I don't ever have wine in the house, I only drink in restaurants, and I like white dishes and silver if its up to me)--but I use them because of who gave them to me, not because I love the item so much.

    My family has really moved away from gift giving just to give a gift, so my mother is now more likely to ask "what is the next project at your house? I'll pay for it or contribute toward it." Many people can't do this, and seem to need to present tokens to others regularly, but I feel lucky to have gotten out of the cycle of random scented candles, sets of two wine glasses, etc.

  • 14 years ago

    "She doesn't want me using it for kitchen utensils,"

    Not to disrespect your mother, but so what? It's your house, she gave you the gift, you don't drink white wine, you can use it however you like.

    If she says anything, smile but don't apologize. I know this is easy for a total stranger to say, but she might be hurt for a second, but she can get over it.

    Otherwise, break it, donate it or regift it. If you keep it, letting it take up storage space, you're letting her control your house. Every time you see it, you'll get ticked off, and that's not good.

    And with your own daughter--ask her! Find out what she likes, ask for suggestions, and don't try to get creative. My late MIL never gave a gift I didn't love, because she asked me. With 5 kids and inlaws, she said she didn't have time nor energy to guess what we liked.

  • 14 years ago

    OK, here it is (next to the cheap GW "junk bowl" that I love in the kitchen - it's not quite the same color, a bit more brown than the bowl, not too bad next to the stove as long as I rearrange things and have it on opposite side not next to white canisters, though I don't know how it'll look with the flow blue platter I plan on hanging over the range).

    I also tried it next to the leaf collage DD made me - many of the same colors, but does it look strange with nothing in it? Not enough room on shelf to put tall items in it - what about on top of the bookcase? Would it look lonely up there by itself? There's a couple of feet to the ceiling, this again is only 7.5" high, not a foot as I originally stated.

    Or maybe it would look OK in my "A&C" LR with the gold/brown drapes - maybe on the bottom shelf of the new "entertainment center" table with some twigs in it?

    colors in drapes

    table (mockup- needs to be stained and assembled)

    Just to show you that if I love someone I *do* display/use what they give me for a little while, even if it doesn't fit my decor (though DD didn't spend a lot on these LOL!). I think it's about time these come down now...

  • 14 years ago

    I actually like it. Looks nice on the shelf with your DD's leaf collection. I was expecting something much worse...

  • 14 years ago

    This is a great question.

    I would have to say,
    It depends on who (wait Whom..) gave me the gift.
    My kids, my husband or my mother, my sisters I treasure
    them all. It is the giver not the gift.
    If they are not to my taste I usually put them out when
    one is visiting otherwise back in the closet with memories.

    Now my BIL: Just gave me three of the most horrid looking
    vases I ever seen with maching candles. Just ghastly.
    One arrived in peices in the box via mail. I thought about
    dropping them all.

    I too am in a quandry. This BIL lives far away and has only
    visited 2 times in the last 4 years. We never see him. He
    will probably forget he gave them to me. I might donate
    them to good will. Still thinking about them. They are
    boxed up in a closet. I know, I know the giver not the gift.

    : )

  • 14 years ago

    Looks nice on the shelf -- fill it with ivy (real or otherwise) if you do wish to cover it up.

    Of course it could always suffer a nasty fall from such heights too! ((JUST teasing!! really!!!)


  • 14 years ago

    I actually love it, but I love all handmade pottery. But if you don't love it, give it back to your mother. I think she'll be happy to have it back. I think she'd be more upset to find out you gave it away or, god forbid, "accidentally" broke it. It's time to be honest with her or you'll have years and years of ugly, to you, gifts.

  • 14 years ago

    I never said the pottery was ugly - just that I really didn't have a use for it. The general question was what do you do with stuff that doesn't fit your taste, decor, or you don't have a use for? I think it goes well with the leaves too, guess I can "leave" it there but think it looks funny with nothing in it, since it's a container I think it should contain something. I was able to lower the shelf (lowered the shelf below it with the boxes of CDs), so I'm able to put something about 7" tall in the 7.5" tall "vase". Any suggestions?

    Maybe I should repost the question (rephrased) over on Conversations - "How do you tell a loved one to stop spending money on things you won't use?"

    Nicole, she *did* ask for a CD player holder, she can't blame you for picking one out that wasn't exactly what she wanted. Hope you have the receipt and can return it.

    For the record, I never asked my mom for anything remotely resembling any of this stuff (OK, I collect Tobin Fraley carousel horse figurines and *if* someone ever gets/had gotten me an authentic antique wooden carousel horse I *would* (have) found space for it even if I had to climb over it to get into bed each night...).

    She gives "random" gifts for Xmas, anniversaries, etc. *I* on the other hand like to surprise people with carefully-thought out gifts based on what I think they would like/could use (she says smugly) - like the crystal wine glasses I gave *her* for Xmas ;-)

    Oh, but the cracked (bases) 40-yr old Mediterranean ones "go" with her dishes (they're brown stoneware) and she has a whole bunch of wineglasses (that she's never used b/c they don't "go" - I've never seen them)....well, we all make mistakes. She's got the new ones sitting in the (really crowded now) cabinet with the old ones, won't get rid of either set but won't let me buy her 2 more new ones so she has a *matching* set of 8. Next year I'm going back to the tried-and-true - either get her what she asks for, or if she doesn't say, then get her restaurant gift certificates (to the one restaurant they go to, my uncles give my dad certificates every year), or to the movie theater (she goes to the movies at least a couple times a week - she should be a critic!). I'm sure she doesn't want *me* wasting DH's $ on things she won't use either LOL!

  • 14 years ago

    Well, as a Mom who has purchased things for her grandson that the kids don't seem to use I'd rather they tell me right when I give it to them instead of it going unused especially since often times it's been clothes that I could return instead. It's to the point were I will not buy our grandson anything unless it's to stay here for his use when I babysit.

    With that said I'd say come right out and tell your Mom that you love her and the thought behind the gifts but it's just not your taste and you'd rather she either keep it for herself, in this case anyway, or return it. It may hurt her feelings at first, but I'm sure she's hoping to eventually find something that suits your tastes. I know that's how I felt until finally I just said to "773H" with it. I won't say you won't hurt your Mom's feelings because you probably will, but it will be just this once instead of over and over again. She'll soon realize, I'm sure, that you did this because you love her and be proud that you were strong enough to let her know in a loving way instead of tucking away all she'd bought that she thought would please you.

    I hope you understand what I'm saying ajsmama. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings. I think it's wonderful that you asked for help and want to find a way to use what your Mom has given you in a way she'll appreciate. It's shows what a wonderful heart you have in that you want to find a way to please you both.

  • 14 years ago

    I *did* tell her I liked her handmedown Hummel (boy and girl) she gave us for our 25th better than the "Lladro" she gave us (belatedly - like 4 yrs later - she misplaced it) for our 10th! I don't have a place for that yet either - just stuck it in the (empty) china cabinet so it won't get broken until I *do* find a place for it in MBR.

    I think that if the "vase" looks OK in the bookcase for now (with the color I think it's getting a little lost - maybe some fake ivy?) I'll display it for a while, if she notices it and says something about that's not what it's for, I'll offer it to her to use for wine at her house.

  • 14 years ago

    I'm with ideefixe, repurpose it into a vase or utensil holder or whatever. If she thinks about it, I'm sure your mother would much prefer you used it for something different than not use it at all. It's pretty on the shelf with the leaves. I wouldn't feel that it *had* to have something in it, but something dried would work well with the leaves. Cattails, reeds, wheat, something like that would be pretty.

    The older I get and the more stuff I accumulate, the more sensitive I am about getting gifts for other people. For relatives who have very full houses I've been giving gift baskets of semi-gourmet or interesting foodstuffs, and trying to make the "basket" something functional. Last year it was insulated cooler bags, this year it was Home Depot buckets!

    One of the young relatives said she and her friends have an after-Christmas party where they each bring the unwanted or tacky (in their eyes) gifts they get and everyone swaps.

    You have to figure out how to deal with your mother, but it's been quite interesting to read the variety of responses.

  • 14 years ago

    How about hanging the leaf collage on the back of the cabinet (almost to the top) then put some short willow branches in the pottery to the side of the collage (where you have it now).

  • 14 years ago

    I love that pottery! I'd have it filled with wooden spoons and sitting next to the stove in a NY second!

  • 14 years ago

    I think it's beautiful. I'm another one who'd use if for fact, I do use one for my utensils. Your mom means well, and she probably gets a kick out of seeing things she's given you in use. My mom always does.


  • 14 years ago

    In my family we would just tell each other like christmas presents. why buy something that gets returned or never used. so try suggesting in a casual conversation about you have decide to live simply and you love her gifts but your friend house you went over is so simple and beautiful. Try mom we are living simply would you like any of the beautiful things you purchased for us before I give them away to people. This is true my friend kate is from england and they live simply they have smaller spaces. We went over her house we have less and live so much simpler. I can clean faster and don't need alot of what we gave away. We also just had a flood and we are not replacing stuff we don't need. We have five children and we need alot less. My mother in law keeps buying for the things for christmas we already have we have told her but she does it every year. So now we bring them home and some give them to charity. Maybe buy her something not expensive that won't go with her decor see what she if she tells you. In my family we are really open about what you want and don't want . MY mom and dad even know what we each want when they die none of us want the capodomonte (octopus) chandelier. We tell them we are going to sell it. my mom even jokes back shes going to leave it with specific instructions to hang it or no inheritance to who hates it the most. which I told my husband to stop telling her lol. What ever you do. Years ago my mom bought me stuff I didn't like or go with my decor.
    Tell her you love her and appreciate the care of picking them out but your running out of space. most of all good luck and in today's economy you don't want to see her waste money.

  • 14 years ago

    I agree that I would want to know and I usually do ask or take DS and DDIL with me to pick out things. Some people just aren't like that for whatever reason. It is what it is. Occasionally, I buy something just for fun with the clear understanding that they are welcome to trash it or donate it or whatever (bought one of those silly metal scrap animals-a puppy-for Christmas this year just because they had been talking about getting a real one and this was too fun and goofy to pass up). DS said "No, you really didn't get that for us, did you?" I laughed and said they didn't have to take it, I just wanted something silly to make them laugh. I can hear them telling their friends, "yeah, John's mom gave us that-can you believe it???" Makes me smile and no hard feelings when they get rid of it or give to me for our garden.

    That said, my mother used to give me awful gifts-clothes I would never wear, mostly. Some house things, too. It would have done absolutely no good to talk to her. Nothing would have changed and she would just have been put out over it. So maddening. Dad always tried to get us either fun and silly stuff (guess that's where I got it) or something he had really put a lot of thought into. Now that my parents are both gone, I am glad that I usually kept what my mother gave if it was something for the house and I would put it out when they visited. Made her feel good, didn't cause me any trouble, and once I knew they had passed the point of being able to visit, we donated the stuff. The clothes-well, I would tell her how pretty and then donate. I think that would be the route to take only because it sounds as though she will continue to buy what she likes and it never hurts to be kind. We should always be kind to one another while there is time.

  • 14 years ago

    If you can find a place for it - any place - and make it work, then keep it. If not, have a chat with your Mom and let her know that you've tried and tried to make it work for you, to no avail. Then gently offer to pass it back to her so that she may enjoy it. Tell her you'd feel so guilty storing it away waiting for the occasional opportunity to use it, when you know she would use it frequently.

    As others have suggested, a gift given is YOURS to use (or not) as you choose. I think it makes a killer utensil holder and also a vase. I think its sweet that you are trying so hard not to hurt your Mom's feelings.

    Just my .02

  • 14 years ago

    Justgota--here's a place where you can type in those words you dare not speak.

    I think it's okay with the leaves--or you could find fake leaves or Japanese lanterns or money plant and put in it.

    Me? Ë"Êı É¥ÊÄ±Ê llÇÉ¥ oÊ" ÊÉs ı

    Here is a link that might be useful: How to Type Upside down

  • 14 years ago

    ÊsÇÊ É s,ÇɹÇÉ¥ 'ÊÉÊo

    That's so cool!!!

  • 14 years ago

    I, too, really like it with your leaf picture, or on the counter (put that bottle of oil inside the container,) or for untensils. In fact I'd probably be emptying out the untensils and putting a bottle of wine in it out on the patio once in a while.

    Having said that, my Mom (who had very little and has now passed on) would give us tacky, inexpensive things quite often for no occasion whatsoever. She'd also give some nicer things for birthdays, etc., usually after asking for suggestions. I'm sad to say that I only recently realized that giving gifts was her primary love language, and this was her way to say "I love you."

    Now that I'm older, I love seeing things that don't necessarily go with my current decor but that hold happy memories for me. So I work them in one way or another or rotate them in and out for different seasons. If they bring me a smile, who cares if they don't "go?"

  • 14 years ago

    I'd use it for a utensil crock, too!

  • 14 years ago

    I think she'd just *die* if she walked into my house and saw it by the stove (with utensils or the big bottle of balsamic from the pantry in it). So I'll find twigs or something to put in it where it is, see how she reacts to that. I think it's better displayed (even if not being "used") than sitting in a closet, or even in a cabinet waiting for a bottle of wine...DH says maybe we'll use it this summer, even though we don't have a patio yet, or even a table for the front porch.

  • 14 years ago

    Call me dense, but how are "twigs" less insulting than wooden spoons/utensils ... something that actually serves a purpose?

    I could understand if that were some piece of Hobby Lobby crap, but that's hand thrown pottery with a beautiful glaze. Don't be afraid to use it for something other than its intended purpose.

  • 14 years ago

    natal - I'm *hoping* twigs (and using the thing as a decorative piece) would be more acceptable to my mom than using it in the kitchen, just based on her reaction to my "what is it, a utensil holder?" question. Maybe she was afraid it would get knocked off the counter and broken. Though the same thing could happen if we used it for wine. I'm also concerned about using it on a table with no coaster, since the bottom isn't glazed. Hopefully it will be safe where it is now, and at least be seen, and be serving *some* function (though a purely decorative one). We'll see, maybe she'll be shocked at seeing "yard waste" in it ....

  • 14 years ago

    My mother is one of those people who loves to give gifts, but unfortunately, has no sense of what the other person likes. She orders junk out cheap catalogs, re-gifts (for instance, a make-up case where an eyeshadow or two was used), or wraps up prizes she won at bridge tournaments (keychains or BBQ tools marked "Delta Dealin' Regionals"). She is well-to-do, (maybe because she doesn't spend much on presents? ha) so she's not giving inexpensive items out of necessity. She just doesn't get it. Christmas is tricky--but my family chuckles. (My husband got a Humane Society calendar this year, the one they send for free if you've donated. He also received a plastic Thomas Kincaid corkboard/keyholder thing in a busted box that he immediately took to a "Dirty Santa" party.)

    But then I am left with boxes saying "As Seen on TV!," useless kitchen gadgets, hideous plastic decorative items and heavy sense of guilt for wanting to get rid of it all. "Gosh, it may not be much, but she chose it with love and wrapped it with me in mind. I can't just put it in a yard sale."

    I was wringing my hands over my quandary, as my closets slowly filled with unwanted items ("but my MOTHER gave me this!"), when a wise friend had a talk with me.

    She reminded me that when a gift is given to me, it is now mine to do whatever I like with it. It is not Mom's, with strings attached or say-so about what should be done with it. It is MINE. I own it and I have the authority to decide where it goes. And it is perfectly okay if I think it should be donated to Goodwill and be enjoyed by someone else who might love it and think they found a treasure, instead of sitting unopened and disliked in my closet.

    So I no longer feel bad about "recycling" her unwanted presents. The only time I've ever spoken to her about the issue was when I had to gently ask her not to give me clothes anymore, since her taste was so different than mine. Now I thank her And sometimes she does hit the mark and I am delighted by her gift.

    You cannot control someone else's desire to spend money on your presents. They enjoy shopping for you and they like thinking they found the ideal gift, even if it's expensive. Of course, if you don't like it, it makes you feel bad that they invested in it, but every so often you might get something you want and then the cost doesn't bother you, right?

    I think you're being very gracious about trying to decorate with this item to spare your mother's feelings. But it's not up to her what you do with it, because she transferred ownership when she gave it to you.