Not another one: dealing with gifts you get again & again

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ADORABLE! Too bad I already have a half dozen of these… Ness Teapot in Romantic Print © by NessByPost, used under Creative Commons license.
As part of spring cleaning, I’m sifting through closets and trying to figure out what I need and what I’ve got too much of. As part of this process, I’m realizing that I’ve got an overabundance of certain objects … all of them gifts. See, Andreas and I seem to attract certain types of presents, and while each gift has been deeply appreciated and a great idea, I have several boxes full of duplicated great ideas that I’m now guilt-battling to say “I don’t need all of these, get rid of some.”

When I looked at the gifts that just kept on coming, patterns emerged. Once I’d identified the gifts we got over and over again, I decided to start dropping hints about related alternatives…


Total number we have: Six (and this is after giving away several)
Why do we have so many? Because in a coffee drinking world, everyone finds it novel that Dre and I chug tea in the morning. We do indeed love our teapots, but one can only drink so much before getting saturated.
Alternative gift idea: actual tea!


Total number we have: Approximately 20 sets
Why do we have so many? Because we’re known to enjoy sushi, pho, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. This has made us an easy target for chopstick sets.
Alternative gift idea: gift certificates to local Asian restaurants.


Total number I have: More than I can count
Why do I have so many? I got a dragonfly tattoo on my right arm in 1996, inadvertently identifying the insect as some sort of totem animal. I now own dozens of bits of dragonfly jewelry, clothing, art, stuffed animals, dishes, lamps, etc.
Alternative gift idea: gifts for my REAL totem animal, my dog Sassy D.

As for these alternative gift ideas, they get tastefully mentioned around friends and family during visits to our home, or around holidays. I’m always grateful when I get a familiar gift, but I’m finding that my campaign to mix things up a bit has been pretty effective.

So, which gifts do YOU get over and over again?

Comments on Not another one: dealing with gifts you get again & again

  1. Sketch books! I haven’t drawn in years! Stop buying me art pencils! Stop buying me sketch books! I have not used the last 4 years worth of sketch books, why would I use new ones?

    And one year I got blankets from basically everyone. Delicate, small, handwash, no dryer, blankets. I have cats. These blankets will last 2 weeks before they’re covered in cat hair. It’s winter and it will never dry on the drying rack.
    I don’t think I have any of those blankets any more. I left them when we moved cross-country.
    Then last year, I got blankets. Useful blankets! Machine wash and dry blankets! Warm, sturdy, BIG blankets! Blankets I will likely use until they fall apart at the seams.

    Note to everyone: unless they asked for it specifically, don’t get a young adult a handwash/dryclean only thing. They won’t handwash it or dryclean it. They will either hide it in a bag when it starts to smell and never deal with it, or they will wreck it in the machine. Or is that just me?

  2. Oh, just discovered this post and want to comment too! I think my life has gone in phases with respect to gifts.

    1. As soon as I got my ears pierced at age 8, the next few years every relative gave me earrings. Some of them are lovely, but I still wear my first-ever studs pretty much every day.

    2. I love books, and many people gave me gift cards. However, my dad and step mom decided to give me books about whatever random activities I happened to be interested in, including karate books, running books, books about activism and vegetarianism…it’s great that they knew about my interests, but reading a book about karate isn’t as exciting as doing the karate.

    3. Did anyone else have a time during high school when all their friends gave them candles? Maybe it was just me. I never actually burned any of them and I think they got dusty and thrown away.

    4. Now it’s all about clothing and purses. Most of it isn’t quite my style, though actually my mom is brilliant about getting me things I really like but would never pick for myself. Oh, and bath stuff and cosmetics. I think it’s because my sister has always been suuuuper into makeup, though I only wear any maybe a few times a year.

    • Omg, candles, yes! I had soooooo many. And I never felt comfortable lighting them cause I have cats that like to throw things off of tables.

      Anyone else have, like, a billion scarves? Not nice warm ones (I live in GA, they are worthless here) but decorative ones with fuzz or giant holes. I have pounds of them!

  3. I gotta comment here on how pinterest has ruined my holidays :P. I know I’m “indie” and love to make DIY versions of lots of things from shampoo to window cleaner, but I swear if I get another mason jar with random junk in it I’m gonna lose it. Just give me a gift card or something instead of putting all the dry ingredients to a very small batch of cookies in a jar. It’s just getting weird.

  4. I had this weird birthday when I was about 9 or 10, when *everybody* got me clowns or clown-related things….

    I don’t like clowns…. I’m not affraid of them perse (one did chace me at a carnival-thing once when I was small, and I find them mildy creepy) and I’ve never really voiced an opinion on the matter, so I don’t think it was a “haha, you don’t like clowns so lets everybody get you clown things cuz it’s hilarious” thing, but also, I’ve never really voiced an opinion on the matter… so I’m still not sure why clowns…

    Lately it’s been tea infusers… I have four now. I love tea. I drink a lot of tea. Mostly I drink just teabag tea, but I do occasionally enjoy a pot of tea made with loose leaves. Tea infusers are rubbish though. The metel ones make my tea taste like metel, the silicone ones don’t have enough holes in them for the tea flavour to get out. One is handy for incase I run out of teabags and can’t be assed making a pot (or more specificly cleaning the pot afterwards) but WHY DO I NEED FOUR?

    My Husband has the opposite problem. Every Christmas, every birthday, all he wants is clamps for his workshop “you can never have enough clamps” he says. Every Christmas and every birthday people ask me, “what should we get (Husband)?” and I say “Clamps”. Apparently “Clamps are too boring”. He never gets clamps, but instead gets all manner of novelty t-shirts or useless novelty shit like condiment guns, and BBQ tools with handles shaped like pirate sword handles…

  5. Can I comment a second time 3 years after my initial comment? 🙂

    For Xmas last year, I asked for a gift card from the WWF to sponsor a polar bear. My MIL made this a theme and bought me said gift card, plus a teddy bear (I was 29 right?), plus a bear pyjama.

    This year, I asked for a bear safari. I’m not even into bears that much, it just happened that bears are a thing where I live now, and were non existent in my home country, so I definitely want to see them in the wild. I got the safari, and a… bear pyjama (from the same store, so at least they match), and a teddy bear hot water bottle.

    Since I’m into dinos and dragons, what should I ask to get matching stuff? 🙂

  6. I’m afraid I’ve thrust this upon my forthcoming child by mentioning that I love monkeys; we’ve received like 4 different sleepers that say some variation on “mommy’s little monkey” plus other monkey attire, blankets, and toys.

    • I get monkeys too. I love monkeys, but mostly I like live monkeys, not any old thing with a monkey printed on it. I own so many monkey things… I know people will just assume I want a monkey theme when I have kids.

  7. One of the best things I got out of reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is Marie Kondo’s stance on gifts. She says that the purpose of a gift is to be received, and once you have graciously received the gift – you can do whatever you want with it! Give it away! Throw it in the trash! Drop it off a Goodwill.

    The person who bought you the gift had the joy of giving it to you, are they really going to follow-up on where it is in your life now? If they knew that seeing their gift in your house caused you constant annoyance, surely they would want you to get rid of it?

    I am a huge fan of the KonMari method, and definitely recommend checking out her book to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by the “stuff” in their lives.

  8. I got some cute doggy themed glasses and a (slightly less cute but still fine) dog door topper this past Christmas from my lovely new mother-in-law. She commented that she’s ‘never really known a dog person before’, so now she has a recipient for all the dog-themed gifts she keeps seeing everywhere. And it begins . . .

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