Flood of Flowers: How can I tell my relatives I don’t need another gift with my favorite flower on it?

Q: A few years ago I mentioned to some family members that I love a certain flower.  Now most of my gifts consist of something with that flower on it.  I’m being overloaded with these items.  How do I politely say, ” Thank you, but enough!  I’m going to have to open a museum soon.”  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have so much I’m going to have to start getting rid of things.



A: You might casually and tactfully mention that while you still love the flower and appreciate their past thoughtfulness in remembering this, it is not necessary for them to continue to find gifts with a reference to the flower.  You might add that you are just appreciative of their gifts no matter if there is a reference to the flower or not.


  1. Joanna

    I had a similar problem, only with turtles – I used to collect all kinds of little doodads that had turtles on them, and so it got to the point where EVERYTHING people gave me was turtle-centric, as though I couldn’t like anything else.

    Even worse, people seemed to assume that I would like anything they gave me, just BECAUSE it had a turtle! But, like anything else, you get selective – some figurines, for example, were just plain ugly. It didn’t matter that they were turtles, y’know?

    Unfortunately there was very little I could actively do, other than wait for it to peter out…

  2. David

    Saying anything would be like saying you no longer like the color red, or chocolate, or artificial fibers. It’s dismissive of a well-intended gift. They’ll wonder just when you started disliking this flower and which gift was the catalyst. You’re in too deep now. Just set aside a part of a closet for these things and fish them out when the gift – giver visits. I’ve gotten the most hideous candle sticks for the same reason and wouldn’t bring them out in a power outage. But, when I know someone’s coming over, I drag out the horseshoes fashioned into candle sticks and suffer a bit.
    It’s our burden.

  3. Ann C

    I had the same problem, I collected bunnies. To make it worse, my birthday was usually around Easter, therefore there were many bunny items to choose from. I appreciated that they were fond enough of me to give me a gift. To be polite, you just say, “thank you,” then as suggested, tactfully mention at other times that they don’t need to always find something with the flower/item.

    I believe that people latch onto something like the flower, turtle or bunny collection because it gives them concrete ideas, they are genuinely trying to please you with the gift because it shows that they listen to you or have observed something about you. It may also be a touch of laziness for some. You could try to talk about other interests you have or restaurants that you like to go to, for those who normally give you gifts, that would give them other ideas.

    After the age of forty, (I have no children), I began to give away the stuffed bunnies to little kids or charities, as the stuffed bunnies had never been played with (although I had to dust them off!). And another year I gave away small bunny figurines as Easter gifts to my Toastmasters club members. It may be difficult to cull your collection, especially if someone who gave something to you expects to see it displayed when they come over… that issue has been discussed in other threads I am sure.

    Not sure if this would work for others: I solved my problem by casually/tactfully/jokingly letting family and friends know that I no longer collected bunnies as I had found another thing I preferred (only if the topic of gifts or collections came up). Of course they would ask what that was. In an obviously joking voice, I would say, “Diamonds.” Then say that of course I could only expect that type of gift from my husband, and only on rare special occasions. It only took about two years for everyone to change their gift choices, now I get non-bunny things!

    Key is to be thankful that you have people who like you enough to give you a gift… and send a thank you.

  4. Nessy

    Chickens. I’ve learned to live with it and embrace the kitschiness. People just are wanting to please you and it makes gift giving easier. I’ve often been told “I saw this rooster and thought of you”(!) It is nice to be thought of in a nice way I guess! The really ugly ones that my MIL & SIL give me (interesting, no?) have their own home in the laundry room where no one but my husband and I go….

    Go the jokey, yet kind route if it really is bugging you.

  5. Jody

    I agree with the sentiment to “suck it up” and be gracious. If a gift-giver asks what you’d like, well that’s the time to say “you know, I think this time I’d like XYZ.” When I have a family birthday coming up I try to ask what the person would like or not like, and that gives the person a perfect opening to give me more ideas.

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