My In-Laws Bought Us Housewarming Gifts They Like | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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My In-Laws Bought Us Housewarming Gifts They Like 

Published January 18, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge ID 242775741 © NICOLETA IONESCU | DREAMSTIME
  • ID 242775741 © Nicoleta Ionescu | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

My in-laws visited our new house and were excited to buy us some things that we needed, like hand towels. But my mother-in-law picked out stuff she likes that we don't and refused to give us receipts! She just said, "You can put them out when I visit." What should I do?

DIL Pickle (woman, 40)

Dear DIL Pickle,

This reminds me of an old joke: Why did the mother-in-law cross the road? She thought it was a boundary.

Mothers-in-law have long been stereotyped as Bossy Betties who meddle in their adult children's lives and make their children's spouses crazy. Whatever truth that may hold, anyone can be a bad gift-giver. It's a fairly easy situation to work around.

While it could be cute to put out the hand towels when she comes to visit, how often does that happen? Most of the time, the towels — and her other gifts — will just be taking up space in your house, and that's bad feng shui. Besides, it would probably encourage her to keep giving you things that are her taste, not yours.

Your best bet is to off-load the unwanted items. Donate them to a thrift store that raises money for a good cause — and don't forget to get a receipt to take a tax deduction. If you'd rather get some cash to help buy things you do want, list the items for sale on Facebook Marketplace or another site.

You've already tried to address the issue head-on with no luck, but it may be worth another shot. You and your husband should let her know that, although you are grateful that she gives you gifts, they would actually get used if she kept your taste in mind. Give her some suggestions of what kinds of things would be more practical. Better yet, the three of you could go shopping together and make a day of it.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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The Reverend

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What's your problem? Need some irreverent counsel on life's conundrums? You can always just "Ask the Rev."

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