Imagine my surprise to find this on page six of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth Narnia book, regarding a painting:
Aunt Alberta didn't like it at all (that is why it was put away in a little back bedroom upstairs), but she couldn't get rid of it because it had been a wedding present from someone she did not want to offend.That was written in 1952, and it's the same issue people confront today. No matter how we try to avoid getting gifts of things we don't like, some of them sneak into our lives, anyway.
First of all, it is perfectly OK to not save every gift you've been given. As Don Aslett writes, a gift is a "message of love and appreciation" and "its message will live with us, be part of us - forever, possibly" without holding onto the gift itself.
If there are no issues about hurting someone's feelings, it's easier to let a gift go. You can exchange it, donate it, re-gift it, or sell it with no qualms.
But what about gifts from people who will both notice and care if their gifts aren't displayed in your home, or if you don't wear the jewelry they bought you? And what if the gift is handmade? As Juli Culbertson and Marj Decker write in Scaling Down, "Fewer items create greater guilt than lovingly crafted gifts you can't stand."
There are no simple answers here. As much as I don't like my home to be filled with things I don't like, I'd be hard pressed to give away something if that would seriously hurt the feelings of a beloved friend or relative.
One common approach is to keep and display such items for a while, and then move them along. If you have ideas on how best to handle such gifts, please share them in the comments.