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ibstubro's avatar

If someone gives you an heirloom that they believe precious, yet you find revolting, what do you do?

Asked by ibstubro (18804points) December 12th, 2015

Say your mother or mother-in-law wants to give you her gaudy pink and gold service-for-12 dinnerware set?

Decline politely?
Accept politely?

What if it’s something smaller?

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18 Answers

Pachy's avatar

I would accept politely, write her a nice thank you note, and put the thing away—until she comes for a visit, of course. Others will probably advise you to be truthful and tell her—politely—that it’s just not your taste or something like that. But I think she’s making a nice gesture—why risk hurting her feelings and possibly creating a family rift? Life’s too short.

Cruiser's avatar

I keep it and give it to my kids when they fly the nest. I would have killed for plates, glasses and silverware to replace my Big Gulp cups and plastic forks when I got my first apartment.

If they balk at them then I would them

marinelife's avatar

If it was a close relative as your details laid out, I would thank them politely and just put it out of sight (until they visit). When they are passed away, I would get rid of it.

ragingloli's avatar

It lands somewhere in storage.
Unless it is something morally revolting, like Nazi or Confederate memorabilia. That stuff lands in the trash. In front of their eyes.

Seek's avatar

Accept politely, and keep it in storage until she visits, at which point you cheerfully serve dinner on it.

Then, when the kids are grown, ask them what they’d like to do with it.

I have exactly zero family heirlooms. That kind of sucks, to be honest. I’d love to have some of my grandmother’s ugly dishes to complain about.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Pack that shit up and forget about it until it’s time to pass it on if anyone wants it.

jca's avatar

I say accept it and take it out when they visit. Avoid upsetting the family member. What’s the use? Just be gracious and express thanks.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

It goes in the storage closet with everything else to be forgotten.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve passed nearly all my heirlooms on.
It’s only the memories evoked that are important, not the items themselves.

If someone I much loved tried to give me a hideous set of dishes, I would accept and find a prominent way to display one place-setting. My ironic shrine. Shine if the person visits.

If they weren’t a significant person in my life, I’d defer to my S/O or try to deflect the gift onto someone else.
“OMG, I think Suzzie told me she was looking for ones just like these!”

ibstubro's avatar

Oh, and @Seek?
Not to be disrespectful, but I can send you heirlooms to adopt with provenance that could make you weep.
I might be able to provide you with an Adopt-A-History. Cheap.

Seek's avatar

Not quite the same, @ibstubro. I have no close family left alive. When my grandmother passed several years ago, I had hoped to get her recipe book and her krumkake iron. I have so many fond memories of baking Christmas cookies with her, and the krumkake were my favourite. Of course, I had no access to her “estate”, and my aunt let her mortgage default without ever dispensing with her belongings. No one got anything.

I have plenty of old stuff, probably stuff that has some stories… but they’re not my stories.

cazzie's avatar

I have several heirlooms from my ex’s family. Everything from small pieces of jewellery (which I don’t wear) to large pieces of antique furniture. I plan on handing them down to my son. Each piece has a history to it and I hope he will appreciate it. My home decor does end up having to revolve around the antique pieces, so things are rather eclectic, but I don’t mind. What I don’t personally like, I put away. I know it will increase in value and it may come back in vogue when my son is grown. He can use or sell it then. It will be his to do as he sees fit.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

It would depend on my available storage space.

Service-for-twelve china, even when compactly stored in those quilted, zippered cases, takes up a significant amount of space. If I really didn’t have anyplace to keep the gaudy pink-and-gold dinnerware, I’d explain and decline, and as gently and politely as possible. If I could find some room in a basement or attic, I’d accept and use the stuff when Mom or mother-in-law visits for a holiday.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Accept graciously. Delight in the fact that your grandchildren will have this same dilemma when you force it upon them.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

We can thank mid-20th century affluence for this surplus of “heirlooms.” Every couple had sizeable sets of china, crystal, sterling flatware, and service items, and so did their grown children. Now that grandmother’s gone and mom’s downsizing, it’s difficult to find new homes for these collections.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, and people today place a lot of value on mobility, @Love_my_doggie. You can’t be saddled with a house full of crap you don’t need.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Wait until they’re gone then unceremoniously dump that shit into the nearest dumpster.

cazzie's avatar

@Love my doggie my pieces date back a bit further. I have proper antiques from previous centuries so I don’t mind making the room. ☺

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