Saying ‘No’ To Gifts This Year
Maybe you’ve been in the minimalist / tiny living world for a while now, or perhaps you’re just dipping your toes in, either way we’ve all been in situations when we are asked that fateful question of, “what do you want for…?”. I’ve often experienced that internal conflict of smiling and saying “I don’t need anything”, knowing full well that the person asking will either unfortunately feel slighted, or get something that is unnecessary.
Our loved ones expressing their love and appreciation with a gift, coupled with our society’s compulsion for consumerism means that there is always an occasion that someone will show up with something that is appreciated, but unneeded. It can sound ungrateful, but I know that there are many of us out there that look at the gift with a sense of panic. Something along the lines of “where am I going to put that?” or “we already have something like that” runs through our head as we smile and say “thank you”. Before you enter into that cycle this holiday season, read on to find a few tips to navigate the unnecessary gift-giving with ease.
Be confident in your ability to say no.
If you aren’t firm in your response to the “what can I buy for you?” question, be prepared to receive whatever the giver perceives you to want. If they don’t know you well, you may end up with something that does not serve you in a meaningful way. Be confident in answering the question honestly, even if your response might not be what they want to hear.
A fantastic response that I have found is simply to say “Thanks, but we’re good. We have all that we need right now.” It shows that you are appreciative, and you have left the door open in the event that a need arises.
You could offer an alternative. This is perfect around the holidays, especially. Ask the giver to instead donate to a charity of your choice in your name instead. Let them know that you do not need anything this year, and would prefer it instead if they gifted something to someone in need instead. A local women’s shelter or animal shelter would be a fantastic alternative.
If none of the above works, follow the “one in, one out” rule. For example, if you receive a new sweater that you love, donate an old one to make room. This especially applies to children’s toys.
Lastly, give the item a chance, but set some sort of time or use constraint on it. Maybe you have been gifted a kitchen appliance that you didn’t particularly need. Plan on trying it out 3 times before donating it. If it makes your life easier, it’s a win, if it doesn’t you can donate it knowing that you honored the gift and the giver.
These ideas are not fool-proof, but hopefully they will help you to navigate gift receiving a little bit easier.