Benedict Cumberbatch Teaches How to React to Bad Xmas Gifts | The Hook
How to React to a Gift You Do Not Like
Your great aunt knitted you the world's ugliest sweater. Your friend got you a CD by a band you detest. Your kids are waiting expectantly for you to tell them you love your new pink and green polka dotted tie. Good old neighbor Derek's got you the 10th pair of itchy green socks. Almost everyone will someday receive a bad gift, but that doesn't mean you have to make the gift giver feel bad too.
Saying the Right Things
Say "thank you".Any present is worth a "thank you." Look the gift giver in the eye and be as direct as you would with any other show of gratitude.
- You might say, "thank you! I really appreciate this."
- You may comment on the kindness and generosity of the present. "What a generous present!" or "how kind of you!"
React to the thought of the gift.If you struggle to bring a smile to your face to show gratitude for something you'll never use, or something you never wanted, try to appreciate the thought behind it. It's always possible to offer a few words of thanks concerning the thought they put into it.
- "Thanks so much! What a thoughtful present!"
- "I really appreciate that you thought of me!"
Appreciate the intention.Think about why they gave you the gift, and thank them for that reason. Even if the gift giver made a bad choice, they probably had at least one good reason for it.
- "You must have remembered that I love chocolate!"
- "Thank you for these colorful socks; you know I like to keep my feet warm."
- "Thanks for the CD! I'm always looking to expand my collection."
Ask questions.Ask your giver about the gift and how they thought of it. This is good distraction from discussing whether or not you'll use it, how often, etc. Ask them where they bought it, ask them if they've got one themselves, or ask how best to use it (if applicable). In general, when reacting to a gift you don't like, put the burden of the conversation on the person who is gifting, and not yourself.
- "Do you have this CD too? What's your favorite track?"
- "I don't think I've ever seen socks like these; where did you get them? Do you have a pair yourself?"
- "I definitely don't have a sweater like this--how long did it take you to knit? How long have you been knitting?"
Lie if you are comfortable lying.If you don't have a moral issue with telling small lies to spare the feelings of well-intentioned people, go ahead and say you like it. Most people consider it polite to tell small lies about gifts rather than telling the giver you are disappointed.
- However, you should avoid telling a big lie. Say you love the present, but don't say it's the best present ever, or promise to use it every day.
- If you don't lie, just avoid saying that you hate the gift.
- "Thank you! What a great present."
- "This is wonderful, thank you! Where did you find it?"
Tell the truth if you're close.If the person who gave you a gift is someone who knows you well, someone with whom you have a lot of rapport, just tell them the truth if they push. You can laugh about it together.
- A bad gift is not a big deal, but lying could make it into one.
Defer questions.If your gift giver senses you don't like the present, they may start asking you questions about whether you "really" like it, or when you will use it. Either tell a tiny lie, or counter their questions with more questions so that you don't have to answer theirs.
- If you can, coax them into offering a suggestion on how/when to make full use of your gift. Then give a quick "I'll be sure to do that" and move on.
- In the case of a gift that is clearly mean-spirited, it's acceptable to throw any poise and respect out the window. Don't be afraid to tell them they can keep it.
React immediately.Once you have opened the gift, immediately thank the giver. If you open and then pause, you will seem disappointed.
Make eye contact.Look your gift giver in the eye while you thank them! If you don't like the present, you probably won't make properly admiring faces while you look at it—but you can always look into the face of your gift giver and appreciate their kindness.
Smile if you can.If you are a good actor, grin or beam at the person who got you the gift. It might help to remind yourself that they were trying to make you happy! That alone is a gift. Only smile if you can do it while feeling relatively natural.
- Don't force a smile! It will look fake.
Hug your thanks.If you are a bad actor, one way to hide your face and your disappointment while also displaying gratitude is to give the gift giver a hug. If you are on hugging terms with the person, immediately hug them after you open the present.
- A hug is truthful—it's a loving way for you to tell them you appreciate the love behind the gift.
Act naturally.You don't need to feign excitement. Instead, summon up warmth for the sweetness of the gift-giver, who is trying to please you by giving you a gift. Think to yourself,"they were trying to please me by giving me this."
- If you can, smile. If you're a bad actor, just thank them.
Dealing with the Gift
Send a thank you card.While sound advice for any gift you receive, the thank you note has an added importance for those gifts you couldn't stand. It will put to bed some (if not all) of the worry the gift-giver might've had about your attitude towards the gift (or the giver having gifted it). Send it a week or so after you received the gift. As with receiving it, mention the thought behind the gift more than the gift itself. Be non-specific as to your involvement with the gift after the fact, possibly nothing more than "I'm enjoying it."
- "Thanks so much for coming over and spending some time. I can't believe you put all that effort into knitting something for me--thanks again."
- "Just wanted to send my thanks for coming over the other night. So glad you went out of your way to get me a gift, happy to have another CD for my collection."
Re-gift it.If you're truly aiming to deal with the gift outright, you can always pass it along. A caution, however: don't get caught doing this. Even if you were straightforward about your feelings from the outset, it's thought of as tacky and insincere to pass along a gift already gifted. At the very least, make sure the person to whom you're passing it along to will appreciate it greatly. Your only defense in a situation like this is to insist--honestly--that you've given it to someone who could really enjoy it. Either that or donate it to charity.
Let time heal.Usually, the anxiety and awkwardness associated with the moment of gift-giving is unique to that moment. In time most come to appreciate the scope of the gift and realize (as you should) that it was truly the thought that counted. So if you weren't forthright from the beginning, don't be afraid to let your feelings be known after the fact if pressed on the issue.
- Tell them you gave the gift a try, but didn't like it. Pretend as though this was as much a surprise to you as it is to them hearing it.
- Do your best to make light of the situation, but never seem as though you regret receiving a gift. A thoughtful but unwanted gift is always better than none at all.
- Ask them if they'd like it back. If it was something they themselves have pined after or use themselves, offer to let them have it. Most people will say no out of courtesy, and this you'll have to accept. Never try to push it on them or you'll come across as rude.
Avoiding Repeat Bad Gifts
Have a wish list.Given the appropriate occasion, such as your birthday or one of the winter holidays, consider having a wish list. It doesn't necessarily need to be a list itself, but know what you're aiming to get. For those of your family or friends who can't help but gift terribly, lay it on thick to them what it is you really want from them. If the desire is really to just avoid the bad gift, make your suggestion something cheap and easily attainable.
- "I'm still working through the last CD you gave me. I'm really looking forward to [artist name]'s next release though, should be out before Christmas."
- "I love those socks you gave me, I wear them around the house all the time. There's these shoes though that I'm really pining after; I think they sell them at [department store name]."
Make an example of good gifts.For the chronic bad gift-giver in your life, go out of your to find out just what they would like. Don't be afraid to even ask "what would you want to get?" If they try to demure or offer an "anything'll do," press them on it. Everyone always hassomethingin mind, so find out what it is. The hope here is that they'll mirror your effort when it comes to gifting next.
Speak plainly.If they just won't quit, it might be time to say something before you have a room dedicated to gifts you never wanted. Hopefully you know your gift-giver enough to explain to them without offending them. If not, be prepared for them to become upset even if it's not really justified. Sometime after they've given the gift, pull them aside and tell them honestly "I'm not really sure this gift is for me."
- "You know I love music, but this is just really not my style. I'm more into [style of music]."
- "I can't thank you enough for knitting this for me, but I'm not sure it fits with anything in my wardrobe."
- "I think I need to be honest: I've never found a way to pair any socks you've given me with anything I own. I can't thank you enough for the gift, but I've no use for any more socks like this."
QuestionWhat if the person was trying to be mean by giving an offensive gift?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThen say whatever you want to. You have no obligation to be nice to someone like that.Thanks!
QuestionShould we let my sister know that she gave my daughter a used handbag for a gift?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. What good would that do? Spend the coins, toss the makeup, and enjoy the bag as if you knew nothing of its history. After all, once you've put something in it and carried it around for even five minutes, it's "used" anyway, right? To call attention to it will only risk hurting and embarrassing your sister, who was kind enough to give a gift to her niece.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I made the gift, and the recipient didn't like it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGraciously take it back. You can re-gift it to someone who will appreciate it. If you don't feel like selling it, because it is personal, put it up for display in your own house! Nothing beats your own work!Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when I don't get what I want for your birthday?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou'll likely feel a little upset but no one should feel mood off for such things, better to leave it and enjoy the rest celebration. Also think about what you did get and how life isn't about always getting what you want and people still cared enough to give you something. Lucky you, there are plenty of people in this world who have far less and who lack caring family and friends.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should you do when you receive a gift you already have?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBe sure to react graciously, but feel free to tell them that you already have the item. E.g., "Thank you, that's so thoughtful! But I actually just got one of these recently." They should be able to give you a gift receipt so you can exchange the gift for something else.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if someone gives you something sentimental, but you have no idea what to do with it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThank the giver for the gift, then ask for idea's on what to do with it. Or if you don't want to ask, you could look it up on the internet or ask a friend.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do if my parents know that I do not like the gift?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake sure you thank them anyway. If necessary, you can explain that you had something different in mind, but that you're very grateful for what they gave you. Whatever you do, don't make a fuss.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do when my friends suggest a birthday present I don't want?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell them, " I already have that, but I'm itching for those new shoes in Macy's." Or something similar. If you know that they can't afford what you'd really like, just suggest something simple like chocolate or a movie ticket.Thanks!
QuestionI wanted an iPod Touch for my birthday but my mom gave me a tablet. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBe grateful, or for the next birthday or holiday, straight up ask her for an iPod. No harm done. BTW, a tablet is way better than an iPod.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if someone buys me an ugly gift, but the person has a crush on me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust say "thank you," and don't tell anyone that you don't like it, or it might get back to them. If you like them back, you might want to go the extra mile and be seen using/wearing it, regardless of how ugly it is.Thanks!
What do I do if the gift is something absolutely useless (e.g. a DVD that's exclusively in a different language with no subs or dubs)?
What if you can't re-gift an item (e.g. the bad-giver gave me a foreign dub of a favorite movie and no one I know speaks the language)?
What do you do if the gift is extremely embarrassing and something you know youll never use?
I think my parents purchased a bike for me but all I want this year is a ballet barre. What should I do if they did get me a bike?
I don't want to seem ungrateful for the gift my mom got me, so I said thank you, but know she is getting offended because I am not wearing it. I really hate it. What should I do?
- If the gift-giver is someone very close to you or someone you see often, it will probably be best to be straightforward with them about your attitude towards the gift.
- If you choose to re-gift, gift it to someone in another circle of friends or area of your life. Gift it to anyone unlikely to make contact with the original gift-giver.
Video: HOW TO REACT TO A BAD GIFT - WeeklyChris
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