Here's how to react to receiving a Christmas present you don't like

Chances are you’ll get some gifts you won’t like or will even hate this Christmas. How to hide your true feelings and get out of an awkward situation with grace? Here are a few tips.

Here's how to react to receiving a Christmas present you don't like
© Photo by Karolina Grabowska on
Here's how to react to receiving a Christmas present you don't like

Bad Christmas gifts happen every festive season simply because every person is different and chooses according to their own taste, budget, and boundaries.

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Maybe your colleague genuinely thought that a beautifully illustrated book about weight loss was what you’d find useful while what you actually wanted was to forget about diets for the whole duration of the holidays.

Or maybe your brother-in-law found that fart pillow a hilarious present and forgot to consider how it would make you feel.

We cannot change others but we can control our reactions. These are the basic rules for how to stay polite and graceful while receiving a truly horrible gift.

1. Always say 'thank you'

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No matter how bad the gift is or how much you don't want it, a ‘thank you’ is a must. Paste a smile on your face, look the gift-giver in the eye and let them know how kind they are.

2. Compliment the giver

Regardless of how useless or hideous the present is, you don’t want to ruin your relationship with a giver. In fact, you can make it better by complimenting them on their choice. Something like ‘Oh, how thoughtful of you’ would make them happy and you - graceful.

3. Focus on the gesture, not the present

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Maybe the gift-giver made the wrong choice for the right reason. You got those ugly green plaid slippers because your feet are always cold. Or that hideous, brown rug won't show dirt.

Give a ‘thank you soooo much’ for the intention.

4. Invest a minute of your time into the unwanted present

Distract the attention from the gift itself and invest some time into it by asking a question.

Kindly pop in something like ‘Did you make this yourself? How long have you been making ornaments out of dog hair?’ or ‘My goodness, wherever did you find this pickle-flavoured dental floss? How long did it take you to find it?’.

This can make you realise to what lengths your friend might have gone to get you what they thought you couldn’t live without.

5. Time heals even the worst of gifts

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Sometimes its better to tell a white lie than let your real feelings show. Don't attempt to make a joke either as it can come out wrong.

Consider saying something like ‘Thank you. This hand-knitted, purple belly warmer will fit me like a glove’ or ‘Why, this paint-by-number of a cow giving birth certainly displays your talents’.

And remember — time heals even the worst of gifts. You'll probably come to appreciate that it's the thought that counts.

Sources used:

- Hattiesburg American: 'Battery-powered socks, used candle: How to react to that Christmas gift you hate'

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