Dear Christy,

I gave my teenage daughter a beautiful coat for Christmas. It was very expensive and it is absolutely stunning on her. Since giving it to her she has yet to wear it. She says that she likes it, but she still wears her old coat when she goes out. I offered to exchange it for her, and she said no. I hate to see it not be worn. I would have loved a coat like that when I was her age! I wish this didn’t bother me as much as it does. Any advice on this kind of issue?

Thank you,

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Generous mom

Dear Generous mom,

That was really kind of you to buy your daughter such a nice gift. It sounds beautiful. The thing with gifts is, when you give a gift away it no longer belongs to you. I’ll say that again. When you give a gift away it no longer belongs to YOU.

That means you have zero control over what happens after you give it to someone. It is now theirs to keep and do what they want with it. They may decide to hang it in the closet and never wear it. Or they may decide to regift it, or even donate it.

Having an attachment to a gift is very unhealthy. Giving should always be done out of the kindness of your heart. Never look for the “Thank you” when giving something to someone. There is a chance that your daughter just hasn’t found a reason to wear the coat yet. Or, maybe she doesn’t like the coat, and she is afraid to tell you that. Maybe there is a fear of her hurting your feelings. Has that ever happened in the past between the two of you?

Practice giving just for the sake of giving and notice how wonderful that feels. Take something that means something to you this week, and give that away. I know that sounds hard to do. But, you will be surprised at how empowered you will feel after doing it.

One step further, give it away anonymously. Drop it off somewhere with no note attached. Leave it somewhere for some lucky person to find it. Could you imagine finding some diamond earrings on a park bench? Or a Rolex in your mailbox? Wouldn’t that be magnificent? 

All the very best,