Posted by: Ellen Hankes | January 19, 2009

Hand-Me-Down or Heirloom?

istock_000002114947xsmallA recent seminar audience had great questions about hand-me-downs and heirlooms. Young women, as well as older women, were unsure how to accommodate household items that were passed down through several generations. Some individuals expressed a sincere appreciation for the historical significance of some items. Others told of the sentimental value of special pieces of china or photos. There were also stories of unwelcome hand-me-downs that came with hangtags of seemingly unfair expectations of others. The question asked was, “Do I have to keep it?”

Just as relationships are personal in nature and there are no two alike, so it is with hand-me-downs and heirlooms. Recognize that a gift is a transfer in ownership. The recipient of the gift, theoretically, is free to decide what to do with the gift. We know there may be more emotional strings attached than the ribbon that ties a gift. Consider value of the relationship as well as the gift before making a decision about the fate of the hand-me-down or heirloom. Sometimes things are more loved in the hands of someone else!

I would like to hear your stores of hand-me-downs and heirlooms!


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