I recently heard a statistic that approximately one-third of gifts given during the holidays are eventually returned.
Now, I know times are changing. And I know that people often give receipts with their gifts in the event that something is the wrong size or if you needed something different.
However, the idea of returning a gift goes against everything I was taught about Christmas etiquette as a child.
I remember one lesson in particular. (And I’m going to keep things generic here.) I had received a gift just before Christmas (we’ll call it Gift A) that could only be used by another gift (henceforth known as Gift B) that I did not have and did not know–at the time–that I would be receiving for Christmas. So, I did what any eight-year-old would do…I blurted it out.
“But…I don’t have a Gift B! I can’t play Gift A without a Gift B!”
I found myself being picked up very quickly and taken from the room very quickly for a not-so-quick lecture about accepting the gift you are given–graciously–and remembering that it’s the thought that counts. It’s not all about “me, me, ME!”
You wouldn’t return a hand-crafted, construction-paper-and-macaroni card from a five-year-old, would you? (If you said “yes,” I urge you to put the sarcasm on hold for five minutes and think about how you felt when you made a paper clip necklace for a treasured adult in your life when you were a kid and they never wore it because it didn’t match their sweater…but I digress…)
Yes, it might be a cliche, but the thought really does count. The best gifts I receive each year are usually the simplest ones. Handwritten letters and cards are awesome! Even a rock can be a great gift if the person who gave it was being thoughtful (and they weren’t throwing it directly at your face).
Furthermore, the gift you receive from giving is probably the greatest of all. I love to watch other people open the gifts I give them because of the thought I’ve put into each one for each person.
So, before you go asking for a receipt to return that gift you just received that you didn’t need before you got it anyway, think about the person and the thoughts behind it.
Besides…a rock makes a great paperweight.