Roots & Wings.jpg

Parents give their children roots to grow and wings to fly. This may apply to family treasures as well!

How do we gift from our collections without placing heavy Expectations on the recipient?

Recent blog posts focus on gift-giving from our abundant collections and story-telling about family treasures.

While helping people through downsizing, I often hear:

“The next generations don’t want my stuff or won’t take good care of it." 

Rather than selecting a item that you feel is significant to gift to a family member, a starting place could be to ask each one: 

“If you were to choose 2 or 3 items, what would they be? 

The answer may surprise us. The choice might not be a china teapot or original art. The old roaster that has cooked a 100 turkeys for countless family get-togethers may be the item of choice.  

Remember when the turkey slid on the floor or the power went out and dinner was 5 hours late? Such memories attached to a particular item may be what gives it value to the next generation.

Perhaps the greatest gift you can give is only to pass on items that others truly want and need. 

Wisdom suggests that we check in with our selves about what Expectations we have about how an item will be used or preserved by the recipient. Expectations placed on recipients can be oppressive and hurt feelings can result on both sides without appropriate communication.

Beautiful side tables may get used for children’s crafts. Gram’s bone china may go in the dishwasher. In the busy lives of the next generations, the functionality of objects that could later be replaced can be one of the most important criteria in their acceptance of a family item.

If it is important that the items you gift be preserved, initiate a conversation with the potential recipient. 

If you are not on the "same page”, perhaps your treasured object needs to go elsewhere.

Or is this the question to ask yourself: Am I the one who needs to shift my Expectations? Perhaps seeing a family heirloom in regular use is more important.  Perhaps usefulness and new memories for another generation are more significant than hanging on to it and dusting it in my home. 

Consider the old saying: “Roots and Wings.” Tell the story of the gift's roots so the story can grow with the next family. Then let your Expectations go. Give the gift wings so it can grow new roots in another home!

Happy gift-giving!