Downsizing Family Stuff.jpeg

Gift-Giving from Your Collection (last week’s blog posting) suggests how gift-giving during the holiday season from one’s ready-made collection can help the downsizing process. 

Perhaps you have chosen family treasures to pass on. Or family members have asked if they can eventually have an item, and you have replied “Yes! Now!”   

Telling the story of the gift may help ensure that it is treated with some of the respect that you hope it will be. Reminiscing can also help you emotionally let go of your possession with your best wishes. 

Choose a time when you have the recipient’s full attention (at a family gathering or over a cuppa). They may wish to video you telling the story with their phone.

Consider supplementing your oral words with a written version of the story that can be enclosed in a plastic sleeve to add to a file or a 3-ring binder at the recipient's home.   You may wish to keep a copy for yourself! Some of us also write on the back or bottom of such a gift as well. 

Some questions that can help tell the story:  When did I obtain this object? Who owned it before me? Do you know where they got it?  How did they use it?  If it is an older article of furniture or homemade object, what can a Google search tell you about its era and popularity? How and when did you use it? Where was it kept in your home? Are there any memorable stories about its use?

Here are two examples of telling a story in even more detail:

The Story of the Press Back Chair:  Was there more than one chair?  Who fell off it at a family dinner?  Was it restored after sitting in an old shed?  

The Story of the Needlepoint of Wild Flowers: Did Great-Gran do that fine work as part of a class?  Did she learn as a child?  Had she grown up with those wild flowers near and dear to her? 

Items to be passed on have been chosen and you have remembered their story.  What’s the next step in your letting go of a treasure that may mean a lot to you?  

The Expectations that we place on the next generations to honour our possessions can lead to disappointment all around. How do we let something go without emotionally burdening the recipient or ourselves? That’s a topic for another blog post!