My MIL gave me a gift several years ago. Let's say it was a pie plate - but not just any pie plate. She traveled extensively in her younger days, and this was a high-quality, handmade, colorfully painted pie plate that she got during her travels. She bought it to give to someone as a gift (though she didn't have a particular person in mind at the time) and held onto it for a long time, and finally decided to give it to me. Let's also say that it is virtually indestructible, so claiming that it broke wouldn't fly.
Here's the thing. I am not at all into making pie. I cook when I need to, but spending time in the kitchen is not something that I do for fun. MIL has never seen me make a pie, and I've never given her any indication that I would want to spend my time that way.
When I was given the pie plate, I oohed and aahed, saying how pretty it was and thanking her. (The colors and pattern aren't to my taste, but I kept that to myself, of course.) Normally, I'd just quietly give the unwanted gift to goodwill and be done with it, but she explicitly said when she gave it, "Now, this is very special to me since I picked it up in [country]. I don't want it to just sit in a drawer! I want you to use it." I wasn't sure what to say so I just smiled and nodded.
I've held on to this thing for years - and it has been sitting in a drawer. I have yet to make a single pie. I am running low on space and clearing things out, and I really want to get rid of this thing. My MIL does bake pies, and she does a lovely job, and I really think she'd rather have the plate herself than have it given to goodwill.
I know that returning a gift to the giver is rude, but she *is* family and I think things can be more flexible there. What I worry about is hurting her feelings. Do you think this is a gentle way of putting things?
"MIL, I was reorganizing the kitchen the other day and came across this pie plate. I feel terrible because it's such a great plate, but I've never made a pie, so it's just going to waste. Is there someone that you know of that would be able to take advantage of the plate? Perhaps you might want to use it yourself? It would make me really happy to see someone using it."
If you think I should just give the pie plate to goodwill and not say anything (even though MIL would be REALLY hurt and upset if she ever found out), let me know.