You absolutely hate the gift you just opened
You tear the gift-wrap away, only to find a gift you can’t imagine ever using. First things first: You say thank you and express how gracious you are. How you proceed now depends on your relationship with the giver, says New York-based etiquette expert “Mister Manners” Thomas Farley. If it’s from someone you’re particularly close to, like a spouse or your parents, see if you can exchange it for something you’ll actually use. “That’s more important rather than taking it out every time they visit,” he says. “You’re carrying out a lie, and you owe it to someone you’re close to.” But if it’s from a neighbor or a relative you rarely see, mum’s the word. Send a thank-you note, but don’t feel obligated to keep it. (Enjoy getting the delicious foods and flavors of the holidays as gifts? Click here.)
You can tell your gift wasn’t well received
You couldn’t wait to see the look on your partner’s face when he opened your Christmas present. Unfortunately, you know him well enough to realize the look he’s giving is just masked disappointment. If the unwrapping is in front of a crowd, pull him aside later and ask if an exchange would be better, and don’t press the issue if he says he does indeed like it. To avoid awkwardness in the future, always include a gift receipt, especially for an item with a scent or size, suggests Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas. “There’s not even a conversation and they can take it back on their own,” she says. This guide to gift-giving etiquette will prepare you for the holidays.