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by Abigail Van Buren

Expecting Mother Seeks Kind Way to Refuse Hand-Me-Downs

DEAR ABBY: I am pregnant with my third child. There has been a large gap between baby No. 2 and baby No. 3. With my second child, my husband and I were just starting out and used hand-me-downs. But now we are established and can purchase items to suit our preferences.

Many well-meaning family members and friends have started inundating us with hand-me-downs (some ask first; others are just dropping things off). I really don't want any of these items. However, I don't want to seem ungrateful or rude because the well-wishers seem so excited to give me these things. The way I was raised, I have a hard time turning down offers such as these. How do I kindly tell these people I don't want their hand-me-downs? -- CONFLICTED IN PHILLY

DEAR CONFLICTED: Thank the donors warmly for their thoughtfulness and generosity, and say you already have all the things you need for the new baby. It is not necessary to allude to the fact they are "hand-me-downs." If the person insists on giving them to you anyway, donate them to a charity such as a homeless shelter. (Warning: To avoid possible hurt feelings, do NOT include them in a yard sale.)

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Family & Parenting