Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To return or not to return, that is the question?

Christmas is over and the house is filled with new toys, cardboard boxes, and a million garbage bags filled with wrapping paper. What now?

After the wonder and chaos of Christmas is over I take a long look around at what I have, what I need, and what needs to go. How can I better organize my life? Do I have multiple of something? It is essentially a mini spring cleaning.

If I or the children have gotten multiple of something, one of the items will be returned. For example, this year my toddler received two Leap Frog Tag Junior sets. We opened one Tag Junior to play with and returned the other Tag Junior, buying more Tag Junior books with the money we received for returning this item. I think that this is a simple solution for the problem of multiple items. No one’s feeling really get hurt when you return an item you received multiple of. But what do you do when you just don’t want the gift?

Is there proper etiquette for returning an item that you do not want? Should you just keep it and smile, tucking it away in the deep dark recesses of storage never to be seen again? Or do you return it and get something you want in its stead?

I think that this is a problem that most people struggle with every year. This is not limited to Christmas gifts… Nope, I have struggled with this decision through wedding showers, baby showers, and birthday gifts as well. I usually do not tell people what I want for my gifts because I like to be surprised. This is usually fun and the gifts are usually creative and entertaining, something I would never have found on my own. But sometimes this goes to bite me in my bum when the gift is completely NOT my style or something that I would never in a million years need or want. What do you do then?

One of my favorite episodes of Friends (Yes, that phenomenal television show about a group of friends just living in Manhattan) is the episode in which Rachael {Jennifer Aniston} is told that she is a serial returner. She is known for returning every gift everyone ever gets for her. I don’t want to be a “Rachael” when it comes to gifting. In fact most of the time I love my gifts, I appreciate the thought that went into creating them or picking them out. At the same time, I also want to get rid of all of the clutter and streamline my belongings into items that I want, need, and use regularly.

I got some seriously awesome gifts this year; I must have been a good girl! I mean really, who wouldn’t love a Yoda, Darth Vader, and Storm Trooper pancake mold? Please note that there is NO sarcasm being used here – I did receive this as a gift, have already used it, and totally love it!

When all is said and done, the gifts that I don’t want, need, or plan on using will most likely be returned and replaced with items for the kids. When making decisions that could possibly hurt people’s feelings I try to think about how I would feel in their place. If I bought someone a gift that they already had or did not like, I would want them to return it for something that they did want or need.

At the same time, I would not flaunt this decision or make inappropriate comments about returning gifts. That attitude is simply in bad taste and will quickly get you booted from Santa’s nice list. I try to be polite and graceful. Smile and say “Thank You” because no one had to buy you a gift in the first place. Returning the gift is completely up to you and your own discretion.

Feel free to weigh in on this dilemma. What do you think about returning?

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