Thursday, August 20, 2015

Do You have a Gift Closet?

The Headlines:

Many of us have one.

Including me.  

Is there something wrong with it?

One woman thinks so...

Ever since I was young... my Mom had a gift "closet".  She would buy things when she saw them on sale - for a good price.  Because in life, especially with kids... things pop up, right?  I have always thought this was a good idea.  I have one now.  Many people do.  Even Oprah!

So that's why when I was having dinner with a friend a few weeks back and she told me this story... my jaw dropped to the floor!  Get ready - it's a doozy.  Got popcorn?

Let me start at the beginning: my friend got a birthday party invite for her 2 girls.  But the invitation was given less than 2 days before the actual event.  My friend is a busy, working Mom currently going through a divorce.  There's little to no time to run out and buy a gift at the last minute.  So she reached into her gift closet and pulled out 3 things.  A Kids Pedicure set, a very recently bought 3-in-1 lotion from Ulta and a wallet.  I think that was it.  Anyways,  the kids went to the party and the next week at school... everything but the wallet was RETURNED!  Yep you heard me right - RETURNED to the girls.

They proceeded to tell their Mom that their friend didn't like part of the gift so their mom/my friend sent this apology text to the other mother:

In my humble opinion, a perfectly written text.  The other mother then decided to reply saying:

"Yes a couple of the gifts were returned but the blue wallet was a keeper.  Thank you for contacting me about this ------ felt sad and bummed about it.  I packaged it up for return.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I think ----- would be happy to receive a replacement gift.  I think it would bring a smile to her face."

When my friend read a COUPLE gifts were returned she asked her girls who said, "yea she gave us back everything but the wallet because she didn't like the stuff!"  Well, that was a little disgusting.  Who GIVES BACK a GIFT to the person WHO GAVE IT TO YOU because you don't LIKE IT!????   Ahhhhhh... lame people.  So she decided to write the woman back again.

She ends it with "thank you for this opportunity for a teachable moment."  The other woman wrote back, obviously annoyed:

"Your explanation isn't logical or needed.  It was a kids birthday.  With all your years of motherhood I would expect you to be able to shop for a kids gift.  How unfortunate.  Also, speaking and involving kids in a matter you dislike is a very interesting parenting method.  I will continue to keep children out of this matter.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so thank you for voicing yours.  I hope you have a great day." 

Wow!  What is this world coming to?  The bottom line for me is exactly what my friend said:  when you get a gift you graciously accept it because the reason you invited those friends to your party was for their company.  NOT the gift you expected to receive.  Returning gifts - to the giver - is just not an option.  End of story.  

As far as my friend involving her children... SHE HAD NO CHOICE.  The other woman is the one who went down that road in the first place by letting her child give back the gifts.  I agree with involving them from there on out because the door was opened.  They are forced to walk through it... and hopefully learn a life lesson along the way.

For the record, as I stated above, I too have a gift closet.  

I try not to stash too much in it because I know kids are fickle and sometimes want to return items they receive (to actual stores that is) so I often like to include gift receipts if I can.  But there are times and occasions (like this one) that a gift closet is very necessary and incredibly helpful!  

Look guys, parenting is hard enough - we all need to support each other - giving back a gift is not only un-supportive to parents but it's downright cruel to a child.  Imagine being the 3rd grader who had to accept the returned gift at school?  That could have been devastating for a little girl.  All because the birthday girl didn't like her gift... sigh.

In the end, I just couldn't get over the nerve of this woman!  I just couldn't get over the whole thing.  It makes me sad, angry, confused, frustrated and worried so I had to write about it.  Now, what do you all think?  Tell me.   Plus, I'd like to know:  do you have gift closet?

**Here's my 2nd Periscope ever.  My new thought is I'll do a "live hit" on each topic I cover.  See how it works.  At one point maybe more than 5 people will watch it!   If you get the email posts & can't see it then just go to the actual blog at ONEPICKYCHICK.COM it will be attached there too.

Nice still, huh?



  1. Wait what?! So that's just plain odd. But my step mother in law does that, she gives me back gifts all the time. I just don't take it personally. I have a gift closet too! Once I gave my same niece the same two years in a row. Oops! We need a gift closet log!!

    1. funny! and odd - yes! and i get returning things (like your MIL) but this is way DIFFERENT!

  2. I think gifts are such an emotionally charged issue.
    I guess it depends on the gift, but I've received those lotion sets and they always come across to me as tacky and not thoughtful - I have sensitive skin, I spend a lot of money on my creams, so obviously I'm not going to use a cheap, highly scented product, but it's almost like I'm being gifted the item JUST so the person can give me a gift... and now I have to fake appreciation and arrange to donate the item. LOL I know that sounds bad, but we've received some truly horrible gifts over the years - ones where you can't possibly imagine the person would have thought it was your taste or something you would keep in your home. I think giving unthoughtful gifts can be just as bad as showing a lack of appreciation. (And when people say "it's the thought that counts" - well, exactly, and when no thought is put into a gift, that's the issue)
    I'm not the type of person to return a gift, but I've been in the awkward place of being asked if I actually liked something and that's awkward...
    Returning the gift through the children is cowardly -- UNLESS the child was the one who wanted to return it. If I was disappointed by a gift, I'd probably just quietly dispose of it, but if something needed to be said it should have just been said between the moms.
    It is hurtful to receive a gift that lacks thought - especially if gifts are a love language for the recipient. The receiving child may have been really hurt and this was their way of expressing that - "you really hurt me by giving me this unthoughtful gift" OR "I'm not going to use this, you can have it back." For someone whose love language is gifts (and it's a valid love language), receiving a gift that lacks thought is equivalent to someone ignoring you or treating you callously. I think that is missing in this dialogue. The focus is on the givers - when a gift is supposed to be about the recipient.

    1. Absolutely AGREE Jennifer about the love language gift thing (you a psychologist?) my mom always spoke her language with her gifts & was incredibly saddened/hurt when it wasn't returned by my dad in the way she thought it should be... so I get your point...

  3. This story really irks me, I can't believe a mother could be so rude! While the focus is rightly on the birthday girl, the birthday girl also needs to learn how to treat others respectfully. Returning gifts to the giver is awful! The very fact that the giver chose to bring a gift in the first place deserves gratefulness and respect. The kids could have gone to the party empty-handed because the invitation was so last-minute, but they didn't.
    I'm guessing though, that if other kids received their gifts back, there won't be too many of them going to the next party!

    1. right - NOT a way to win a popularity contest! ha! ;0

  4. did she "not involve" the kids? By handing them the gifts and telling them to take it back?? I hope your friend sent her the Emily Post handbook. That's the most terrible thing I've heard today.

    1. That's my point exactly. Kids were involved from the start of this mess!

  5. I'm actually okay with the gifts being returned if the sentiment was, I love this one and I don't need these other two. There's no need to take something you're not going to use, it seems wasteful (that being said if my kid did that I would want the ground to SWALLOW ME WHOLE). I read the first text sent as, yeah I it was basically rubbish and I put no thought in. This was not the case! She spent her hard earned money on it and placed thought into it at some point in the past. I think she bowed to some pressure/guilt to be apologetic and this left the door open for the other mum to pretty much agree with her.

    1. No question. I don't mind kids or adults returning things they won't use or need... TO THE STORE! not to the child who gave it to them!


  7. The Mom who returned the gift makes gift-giving unfun! It is the THOUGHT that counts and who cares if it's from a gift closet or whatever... I personally am not expecting gifts when I invite people to a party..yes it's customary, but not mandatory. I would be mortified if a Mom gave a gift back to my kid after we gave it to theirs....eek!! On another note, I don't have a gift closet, but I do keep stuff we bought and didn't use or a stash if you will for when you might just need something..I guess it's kind of one in the same!!

    1. so true! gift giving is supposed to be fun and somewhat "unexpected!"


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