Cancel wedding, return gifts 8 years later?

From a reader: “About eight years ago I was engaged. As the date approached, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable with my decision, asked my fiancee to postpone, and ultimately we broke up.

“Over the next weeks, my family and I dealt with canceling the event and returned some of the gifts. However, about 10 items (lamp, CD tower, etc.--nothing really expensive) were not returned. I can’t really say why; I guess a combination of not wanting to deal with the painful problem and getting distracted by post-relationship life.

“Whatever the reason, nothing has been done about these items and now my parents want me to clear them from their basement. I feel embarrassed about the whole thing. It’s been long enough that returning the items seems silly, but I don’t know what to do. If I ever get married in the future should I include a note to those individuals telling them not to send another gift? An apology for never returning the gift, and asking forgiveness? Send all the individuals a check for the approximate amount of their gift? Just let it go?”

What would you do--or, maybe more useful, what would you want him to do if it was your 8-years-ago gift sitting in his parents’ basement?

- Carolyn Hax

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