Post Holiday Reflection: How to Receive Gifts

We all love the holidays. Christmas morning is a fantastic time; the excitement of opening presents is something that can’t be beat. But sometimes there are those gifts that just miss the ball. I don’t mean to sound like a brat, but we have all opened the sweater that has the ugly kitten face on the front, or are an XXL (did finals week hit thaaat hard, Grandma?), or the one we already have. All time freezes. In that moment as you pull extra large, kitty, repeat sweater out of the box you have a few decisions to make in your mind:

1. Bring out the high pitch squeal

This tactic can work in two ways. It allows Aunt Barb to think that you are super excited about the sweater she just picked out for you and additionally gives you a chance to let out your inner shock without anyone really realizing what you are doing

2. Plaster on the your best grin

This is the go to move. Flash your nice orthodontist’s work. This grin allows you to grit your teeth so that words that actually want to come out of your mouth remain shut inside. In addition, a smile is the go to sign of happiness so everyone on the outside thinks you are incredibly pleased and can’t stop smiling because of how awesome the sweater is

3. East Coast bluntness

You could just tell it like it is. Softly, of course. As in gee, thanks, Aunt Polly, but I already have this one or aw shucks I’m unfortunately not an XXL yet or bummer my roommate is scared of cats and this sweater would totally terrorize her so I can’t take it back to school with me.

4. Cry

Then just blame it on PMS.

It is important when making your decision to think of who is the gift giver. Your sister, well she may be just giving you a joke gift anyway so you could go for option five and just laugh out loud in her face. If it is your grandma, definitely go for the nicer option because she tried really hard to get in touch with your teenage soul and find something that, after much research, she thought you would really enjoy. If it is your parents, I can’t say because you know your parents best.

I would say in the moment, act happy, because they did after all put time and thought into it, but then after you’ve helped clean up Christmas brunch, gently drop the bomb that maybe you can take a nice quality shopping return trip together.

This Christmas in my family we did have some rough gift giving that now a few weeks later we laugh about (cue picture of my sister opening a sweater that we confused for a dish towel). Luckily, it was just my immediate family so feelings were light.

When people asked me how my Christmas was or if Santa was nice to me, I still felt that I could honestly answer that my Christmas was great and that Santa had been good to me. It didn’t really matter that some of gifts were way off the mark because it was all A for effort. Yes, apologies for the cheesiness, but it is true. Quantity doesn’t matter, quality, ok maybe a little, but just give me my family and some good food and I will be happier than if I got the perfect sweater.

We have all been given some rough gifts and we also have been on the opposite side of the spectrum where we give the dud gift. It is always unfortunate especially when you thought your gift was going to be hit. So next time you are at the end of the receiving gift line, remember your options, think of the giver and decide if you want to go down in family history for ungratefulness or the most easy going.

PS - Don’t forget to write thank you notes when it is all over!


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