How To Gracefully Receive A Gift You Hate

You love him...but you don't necessarily love his taste in gifts. Here's how to deal.

gift exchange

'Tis the season for the coupled-up among us to swap holiday gifts. And, apparently, 'tis the season for most women to be disappointed with the presents their partners choose. According to a recent survey, nearly 75 percent of women have been let down by a gift from a partner in the past (meanwhile, only 47 percent of men are as finicky).

"Hey, it's the thought that counts," you might say as you sadly tuck away that gaudy bauble that you know you'll never wear or a ill-advised bit of home decor. But let's face it: you'd hoped for something more in line with your style. There's nothing wrong with wanting your partner to gift you with something sensational this season — but if he missed the mark, it'll be your reaction that counts.


Here's the 3-step method for handling a terrible gift with grace, in spite of your distaste:

1. Smile. It's likely your face will try to betray you, so mind your expression. Somewhere in that man's brain, he really did think you'd lovingly wear a long chain necklace that looks with a magnifying glass attached. Maybe he thought you'd use it for reading; you love reading! Thus, because you adore him (even if you don't adore his gift), you've got to grin and bear it.

2. Use the gift in a sentence. Pretend you're at a spelling bee and, in order to fully comprehend the reasoning behind the present, you've got to give a real-life example of its use. "A magnifying-glass necklace! Never know when the print will be too small to read and your glasses won't be handy." This type of exercise may also help you determine why your partner chose the gift in the first place.


3. Determine when to put it to use. When grandma got you an ugly holiday sweater, you wore it to her house then tucked it away in the depths of your closet. Same rule applies here. Because hey, you do love your partner, and you can learn to love a necklace that matches absolutely nothing in your closet , right?

For those brave souls who find it impossible not to say "Ehhh" aloud upon unwrapping, try to be gentle. Take the above rules and apply them to your situation while explaining just why the gift doesn't work: "Honey, thank you for the necklace. It's very pretty — but it's just not me." Throw in the fact that you value his time and money: I don't want your money to be wasted on something I'll only wear once or twice." If he can handle it, go ahead and tease him about it. "I could wear it with turtlenecks or on spy adventures, but I don't really own any turtlenecks and the CIA hasn't called me for work in months." 

Mostly importantly, make sure to set the stage for a much improved gift next year by dropping blatant hints in the months leading up to next year's holiday season. And don't forget; you get what you give. Listening to his little clues and getting him an exceptional present is bound to do wonders for your gift karma.

What's your best advice for receiving a gift you hate with grace?


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