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Christmas Gift Guilt

We GIFT BOXmade it through another Christmas!  I hope yours was filled with laughter and the love of family and friends.  We are still in the midst of our celebrating and planning visits from children and grandchildren, enjoying family as we see them and missing those who we will not be seeing this season.  I ended up giving our adult children a big “CC”.  I typed up a poem of sorts explaining that while some may refer to the “CC” as a “Christmas Cop Out”, I preferred to think of it as a “Christmas Choice”.  Basically, I gave them cash so they could choose a gift they would not need to return.  It is a good idea, but at the same time I did feel a little guilty that I hadn’t stood in line for that perfect and exciting present to open.  I was thinking about this last night and I realized that my experiences helping clients sort through and make decisions about their clutter had inhibited my ability to choose a gift!  Some of the biggest delays in making the decision to part with an unused item that is robbing someone of precious real estate centers around that fact that it was a gift. They hold the item, maybe even clutch it to their chest, but cannot say yes when asked the questions, “Do you use it? Do you love it?” However, placing it in the donate pile causes anxiety because it was a gift. Eventually I am able to help them understand that the special giving moment happened when they opened it — and that feeling of sharing and being thought of was the gift — not the object.  There is no value in an item taking up precious space when it could possibly be a treasure to someone else.  The thought of not letting the gift go to waste usually allows the receiver to release the guilt as well as the gift. So, this Christmas I want to encourage everyone to use me as your reason to release any thoughtful items that (however well intended) may not fall into the category of “I will love this and I will use this”.  You can lift the guilt from your shoulders and say “a professional organizer told me it was wasteful to keep something I would not be able to use”.  Go ahead — get in line — return that gift and be happy knowing the giver cared about you and that was what it was really all about.

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