Although the holiday season is over, you may find that you’re still receiving gifts from friends and acquaintances.   It’s nice to be surprised on a dismal Tuesday, after the holiday hype, with a giftbag vomiting sparkly tissue paper.  In fact, here at Bourke Accounting, we just received a box of chocolate-covered Oreos from a vendor; gluttony is generally looked down upon, but I am (shamelessly) engaging in it at the moment.

Anytime someone thinks of you – and spends their time and money – the gesture should be met with nothing but gratitude.  However, sometimes the gift-giver doesn’t really know you and the gift reflects that.  Even though you might not even want the gift, you obviously can’t throw it back with a gruff, “Do better next year.”  So, while keeping your manners firmly in place, what should you do if you’ve received an unwanted present?  As Bourke Accounting likes to keep up on etiquette, here are a few options for the unwanted/unneeded gift recipient:

  1. Donate it. Although we live in a society that loves the disposable, that doesn’t mean wanton waste should be condoned.  Even if you received a sweater that makes you look like you’re suffering from jaundice, remember that it won’t look the same on everyone.  When you receive an item that could benefit someone else, it’s petty to simply dump it in the trash and forget you ever saw it.  Driving to your local donation center takes more effort than ditching the thing, but if you can do some good, it’s worth it.
  2. Thank the giver profusely and stuff the item in a neglected corner of your home. Mel Magazine suggests that, if you are constantly receiving “horrible” gifts from a friend, you should take steps to make sure it stops.  Mel advises that you send your friend links to things you do want, drop hints or even post wistful photos of your heart’s desire on social media (Issue 38).  Don’t do this.  You will come across as an entitled beggar, convinced that everyone around you is just clamoring to know what to lavish upon you.  If you don’t feel comfortable admitting that you don’t like the contributions, suggest to your friend that you both donate to a common cause in each other’s names.  You’ll look like a nice person and your gifted taxidermy squirrel collection will finally stop growing!
  3. Learn to love your taxidermy squirrel collection and display it proudly. While communicating your displeasure is the adult course of action, someone is going to end up with hurt feelings.  No matter how gently you pose your position, the other person is only going to hear: YOUR TASTE IS TERRIBLE.  Mel Magazine suggests re-gifting as an alternative while warning against re-gifting amongst your social circle.  This practice is just too risky – you don’t know everyone your circle knows and embarrassing situations could arise.  As far as Bourke knows, there is no way to innocently (and believably) defend against a re-gifting accusation, so just don’t do it.

Getting gifts is fun.  Even getting “bad” gifts is fun.  The main thing to remember after receiving an inappropriate present is that it’s not important.  If you find yourself disappointed with your holiday season haul, buy yourself the present Santa neglected.  It should be celebrated that someone thought to get you anything at all, ugly, useless or otherwise.

Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers are givers.  While your Bourke pro might not give you a new car, their expertise might make it possible for you to buy your own.  Besides knowing what they’re doing, Bourke Accounting representatives love giving their advice and making sure you understand every step of your financial journey.

Come see us any time.  Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com.  See you soon!

Written by Sue H.