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How to Gracefully Receive a Gift You Hate

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Whether it’s ugly, in poor taste or just “not your style”, here are a few ways to gracefully accept a gift you hate. 

You know the scene: A beautifully wrapped package with YOUR name on it! The giver hands it to you with a big smile on their face, so proud of what they picked out for you. You tear it open, move the tissue paper, and it’s the most hideous thing you’ve ever seen in your whole entire life, but you know they took the time to knit it, tried shopping on something called “Internet” or fought the mall crowds to buy it. You don’t want to tell them that you’ve never been so disappointed, but you’re a nice person and don’t want to hurt their feelings. Here’s what you can do.

The most important thing is to be gentle. When you find a moment to be alone with the horrible gift giver, take them aside and gently explain why you don’t like it or can’t use it. Obviously you can’t return a home made sweater, but if it’s a store bought item, just tell them, “The (fill in the blank with the horrid gift) is nice, but it’s just not me.” Then follow up with something like, “I don’t want your money to be wasted on something I can’t wear/won’t use/don’t like.” They’ll (hopefully) appreciate the honesty and hopefully they kept the receipt.

Try and think of a time when you’re going to use it. If it’s an ugly sweater, just tell Grandma, “Thanks! I’ve been wondering what to wear to this party I’m going to on Friday night.” No one has to know you’re going to an ugly sweater party. Is it a necklace that matches absolutely nothing in your closet? Say thank you and tell them that you’ve been looking for something to wear to mass. No one has to know you haven’t gone to mass since Easter. You can learn to love it and who knows? You may come across something in a store that will match it.

Next Christmas, try and drop some hints. If you’re all together at Thanksgiving and you see an ad for a store, make sure you’re around the horrible gift giver and say, “I LOVE that store!” Maybe they’ll get the hint and get you a gift card to that store. My family does a grab bag where you put everyone’s name in a bowl and they write a few suggestions on the slip of paper with their name on it. It eliminates giving away who has whose name by someone having to ask a parent, sibling or spouse what that person wants.

One thing you can always do is smile. That way no one can tell that you’re actually gritting your teeth.

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