Alice, Do I Have to Hold Onto a Homemade Wedding Gift Forever?

Alice, Do I Have to Hold Onto a Homemade Wedding Gift Forever?

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Ask Alice
Jan 12, 2016
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice,

Ten years ago a family friend built us a bookcase as a wedding gift. It was extremely generous. We used it and moved it across the country twice. A third cross-country move is coming up. It is huge, heavy and no longer our taste. Can we sell it? Do we have to offer it to other family? What if they accept, and then he sees it in their house and is hurt? We did not ask him to make this bookcase and we haven't seen him in about a decade. We live across the country from him and he never visits our home.

Signed,
Ready to Say Goodbye to the Bookcase


Dear Ready,

I'm sorry to tell you that not only do you have a moral duty to move this bookcase with you cross-country, overseas, etc., but, if you consider yourself a good person, it should be refashioned as a coffin for you or your husband, whoever departs this earth first.

No. I firmly believe that if a gift becomes a burden, then it isn't a gift. Ten years is a good run. If you were expecting future visits from this person I would say that it would be nice (but not necessary) to thank them again, but let them know that you've decided not to take it when you relocate. But since a visit seems unlikely, I think it's fine to sell or pass the bookcase on to another family member. If another family member wants it and you anticipate awkwardness if the bookcase maker visits them, just send a simple note to the gifter explaining your move and how pleased you are that the bookcase can stay in the family.

Love,
Alice

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