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by Abigail Van Buren

Should Unwanted Gifts Come out of the Closet During Mother-in-Law's Visit?

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law keeps buying us decorator items that don't have a place in our home. While I appreciate the effort and the thought, I have no more closet space in which to store them. I was taught to accept gifts and express gratitude, even if you don't like them.

My mother-in-law is coming to visit in a few weeks, and my husband insists we should display the items she's purchased for us. This would entail putting holes in my walls, as she tends to get us items that need to be hung. I don't think we should have to go through this charade just to appease her. It will only encourage her to buy us more things. What should I do? -- NO MORE CLOSET GIFTS

DEAR N.M.C.G.: It won't destroy your home to display one (or two) of the items your MIL has given you while she's visiting. But while she's there, make sure she opens the closet where you have stored all the other items she has sent "because she's such a generous doll you can't possibly use them all." When she leaves, sell the gifts or donate them, then pray she takes the hint.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics