Hate Your Present? Here’s What to Do Next

It's happened to all of us: Instead of a present you were hoping for, someone's given you a big, huge disappointment–with a bow on top. Here's how to handle it graciously.

Presentfile404/ShutterstockThe gift-giving season is in full swing. But what should you do if you get a present that you just cannot stand? It’s more common than you may think. A massive 84 percent of us have received a present that we didn’t like in the past, and yet only 9 percent of us are brave enough (rude enough?) to admit it, according to a survey by Gift Wink.

This year, give yourself the greatest gift of all and own up to how you feel—politely, of course. Here’s how:

Don’t expect a specific gift

First of all, before you’ve even open the present, you need to get yourself in the right mindset. If you’ve got a specific gift in mind (say, a new pair of running shoes–please Santa!), you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. You may be hard to shop for, and gift-givers are rarely mind-readers. Unless you’ve specifically told them what you want, you have to accept that you may not get it—or send them this list of Christmas gift ideas for people who are impossible to shop for.

Have an open mind about it

Once you’ve opened the present and seen whatever it may be, give yourself a moment. Don’t react until you’ve had a proper look at the thing—you don’t want to be rash about it. The fact of the matter is that your friend or loved one bought you this item because they thought you’d like it. With that in mind, consider why that is and figure out whether you could, in fact, learn to love it.

Find something to compliment

Right after you say “thank you!” and before you say anything else, you need to find something to compliment about the gift. It could be something as small as the fact that you like the color of it. It could be that you think it’s practical (which, as we all know, is a polite term for boring). If you lead with the compliment, the whole thing will be much easier.

Subtly ask about the gift receipt

If you’ve decided that you’re likely not going to use the thing at all, you have to bite the bullet. Ask about the gift receipt. Now, you want to be subtle about this and give a plausible reason for wanting it. For example, if it’s a clothing item, you could say that it’s in case it doesn’t quite fit. If it’s a gadget, say you just want to have it in case it breaks. That way, you won’t offend the gift-giver, but you can still exchange the present for something you actually want. Read on for more must-know gift-giving etiquette for the holiday season.

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for personal and lifestyle pieces. Her word has been seen in a number of regional publications in the UK. She has a knack for making any subject engaging and interesting and is able to promote her work via social media effectively.