"Living Feng Shui" magazine
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Feng Shui and Holiday Gifts: Six Gifts to Avoid Giving for Christmas and Hanukkah
According to nationally-recognized Feng Shui Practitioner, Carol Olmstead, the gifts you choose may have a lot of hidden meaning in Feng Shui terms.
“When you give gifts that have sharp edges they symbolize cutting a relationship, if your gifts are empty they represent lack of financial resources, and when your gifts show time they symbolize limited life span,” Olmstead says.
Feng Shui is a design system for arranging your surroundings in balance with the natural world around you.
Here are Olmstead’s top six gifts to avoid giving, and options for turning around the hidden message in these gifts if you receive them:
1. Sharp Objects. “Never give knives, scissors, letter openers, or can openers as gifts since they represent cutting a relationship,” says Olmstead. She recommends that if you are the recipient of any of these as a gift hand over a coin to the giver to symbolize that you bought the object, and restore the bond between you.
2. Empty Wallet. “Avoid giving an empty wallet, purse, or briefcase,” says Olmstead, “since it represents the lack of prosperity.” Instead, fill it with dollar coins or a $50 bill if you can afford it, to send the message that your gift will always be overflowing with wealth for the recipient.
3. Thorny Flowers and Plants. “Never give cactus or other spiky plants, and avoid giving roses with the thorns still on the stem because these can pierce a relationship," Olmstead advises. She recommends that if you receive roses be sure to remove the thorns to symbolize a smooth romance or relationship.
4. Stunted Trees. “Bonsai trees or other miniature plants make poor choices as gifts since they represent stunted growth,” says Olmstead. “Instead, choose full, healthy plants with rounded leaves that symbolize prosperity and long life.”
5. Clocks and Timepieces. “Gifts that show the time symbolize a limited life span or stealing time from others,” says Olmstead. But because watches are often seen on wish lists, Olmstead says the modern Feng Shui application is to give a gift certificate and a picture of a watch so the recipient can choose his or her own timepiece.
6. Handkerchiefs. It is best to avoid giving handkerchiefs because they symbolize wiping away tears and could suggest that you expect the recipient to be doing a lot of crying in the future,” says Olmstead. But because collecting antique handkerchiefs have become a trend, she recommends that if you do give one, wrap it around a bar of sweet smelling soap or an orange and tie it with a red ribbon to balance any negative connotations.
Re-gifting is Feng Shui-friendly according to Olmstead because it removes things you do not want from your home and sends them to a place where they are welcome. “Just be sure to avoid re-gifting if you have negative feelings about the gift or its original giver, since you might be passing along your negative thoughts to the next recipient,” she says.