DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel really fortunate that I got a lot of gifts for Christmas. I know that not everybody is so lucky. The thing is, I do not like most of the gifts and really have little use for them. I was given gift receipts for most of them so I can return them if I want to. But I feel kind of guilty. I don't want to be that person who is ungrateful. But what's really happened is that now that I'm in college and living on my own, I have developed my own sense of style, and it is very different from what my family or family friends know. So they gave me stuff that I would never wear. If I do take them back, should I tell the people? I would hate for this to happen again next year. -- Out of Style, Chicago
DEAR OUT OF STYLE: Yes, you can return the gifts that had gift receipts. It was smart on the part of those who gave the items to you to include the receipt so that you could return or exchange independent of them.
As far as telling your loved ones that they don't get your style anymore, proceed with caution. Yes, you should tell your mother. Thank her for the items she bought for you and point out that they aren't in sync with your current style. Suggest that she not buy you clothes anymore. For the other people, chances are that your mother will pass the wisdom to some. Others will figure it out over time. I do not recommend doing an all-points bulletin to tell your people you don't like their choices for you.