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Gift Etiquette: Do You Really Need To Display The Gifts You've Received?

12/29/2016 11:39 EST | Updated 12/29/2016 11:39 EST

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Ah, gift giving. So many good intentions, yet it can get so complicated.

You are not obligated to display these gifts permanently, nor are you obligated to keep them for long. Decluttering is a fact of life today, and if you already have quite a few pictures or paintings or decorative items around your home, it’s easy for people to understand that you can accommodate only so much.

To avoid the trap of feeling obligated to display gifts tell frequent guests a gift really isn’t necessary.

Said sincerely and with a loving smile, it might sink in: “We are always so thrilled to have you visit. Please know that you are now part of the family, so do not worry about bringing a gift each time you come.” If she says something like, “Oh, but I have to bring something — I just wouldn’t feel right.” You can counter with, “Well, we will graciously always accept a card. How’s that for a deal?”

You can also opt to display gifts when the guest re-visits. While displaying the item could run the risk of encouraging your friend to keep bringing gifts, she might take the hint if only one item is on view and she knows that she’s bought you seven or more over the past few visits.

But what if she’s the type of friend who asks, “So where did the picture of the Scottish Highland cattle end up?” Well, you can either say, “We haven’t found the right place for it yet” or “We are just terrible about working in new decor.”

Finally, you can always leave the items in the guest room that she uses.

No matter what you decide, try not to fawn over the gifts if she does bring them. “How thoughtful — we are so happy to have you here” is all that’s needed.

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