Dear Abby: I come from a large family. We are not wealthy but always loved dressing our children up for holidays. Because the outfits were expensive, as our children outgrew them, we passed them on to my sister-in-law.
When my youngest daughter was born, I asked her about the dresses, and she informed me they were not her style so she had given them away. I was heartbroken, but I never said anything.
My older daughter is not a practicing Catholic, and my younger daughter is not having children at all. I saved their christening gowns, but they don’t want them. I would love to pass them on to another family member so they can be used instead of sitting in a trunk, but I don’t want them to leave the family or be sold. Is it OK to put stipulations on something you are passing on?
— Unsure in New Jersey
Dear Unsure: You can stipulate whatever you like, but there is no guarantee that the garments will remain in the family. Once a gift is given, it becomes the property of the recipient to keep or dispose of.