beautygrind

How To Receive A Gift You Don’t Like

In etiquette, gift giving, holiday, how to on January 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The holidays are over but throughout the year you might find yourself on the receiving end of gifts you aren’t too fond of.

We have all been there:  It’s gift exchange time or some other occasion during the year and you receive a gift prompting an immediate roller coaster of negative emotion, causing you to think:

  • “What the hell?”
  • “What were you thinking?”
  • “Are you serious?”
  • “Going in the trash.”
  • “This relationship is over.”

When you receive a gift that is less than desirable, it can make you wonder if the giver put any consideration into what they were giving you.  It is possible the gift giver is clueless, doesn’t have good taste or they just don’t care.  However, the fact of the matter is that many people struggle with giving meaningful gifts and most likely put a lot of thought and effort into selecting the gifts they give.

Whatever the case, it’s important not to offend the gift giver.  It’s never ok to be rude and instead it’s important to be gracious and show appreciation for what you receive, even if it isn’t what you would have chosen for yourself. If you struggle with how to react when receiving a gift you don’t particularly care for, keep the following in mind when it comes to navigating the murky waters of undesirable gift receiving:

Take a deep breath, smile and say thank you. As mentioned before, you don’t want to offend the gift giver so it is important to quickly manage your facial expression and thoughts to mask any negative emotion you might feel.  If you are used to Aunt Janet giving you cat socks for every milestone in your life even though you like birds and you never wear socks, then you know how to do this but if you are doing a gift exchange with someone new, you might need to practice the rapid fire smile and thank you.  You might even throw in a hug to give yourself time to recover before you face the person again.

Don’t gossip about the gift.  Keep discussion about the gift to a minimum, especially if you are around the person (perhaps at a gathering). Word travels fast and you don’t want to cause trouble –  even though you are troubled by what you received.

React to the thought of the gift.  Keep in mind that most people have the best of intentions when giving you a gift.  It’s also important to not let negative emotion overrule all manners and sense of decorum, especially when it’s someone who cares for you.  Instead, respond to the spirit of the gift.

Deflect attention away from the gift.  If the giver continues to press you for your thoughts about the gift, you can always say something like

  • “Thank you.  I appreciate it.”
  • “I’m not sure how I’m going to use this but I’m definitely going to put this to good use.”
  • “Do you have one? How do you use it?”

Re-gift with caution.  If you store the gift away for later, put the date and the name of the person who gave it to so you don’t give it back to them at a later date.  Hopefully that same gift won’t come back to them in the future from someone else you re-gifted to.

How should you react if you receive a gift that that is offensive such as something with racial undertones, is sexist or doesn’t support a personal journey (you are working towards sobriety and the person gifts you alcohol)?  You are within your right to politely tell them how you feel about the gift they have given you.

Now…

What if you are someone who is challenged and misses the mark when it comes to gift exchange?  If that’s you, keep these 6 points in mind to help you be a better gift giver.

Pay attention.  Take note of what the recipient buys for themselves, their personal style, what they talk about, even how they decorate.  This type of information can give you some insight into what they might like to receive as a gift.

Give gifts around their hobby or interest. For instance if the person you are shopping for is an avid gamer, instead of or in addition to getting them the newest game, consider getting them a gaming chair.

Ask.  Simply put, it never hurts to ask what a person wants for themselves.

Take yourself out of the equation. Remember that the gift isn’t for you so if your Uncle James loves collecting ashtrays from the 1920’s then go ahead, make the man’s day and get him those rusty ashtrays.

Don’t give anything that is used.  It’s poor taste and makes you look very bad, especially if the item looks, smells or feels used.

Give money or a gift card.  There are many schools of thought regarding giving money or gift cards as gifts.  The prevailing thought is that it is not very thoughful or personal.  I believe it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver and chances are you’ve never met anyone who didn’t like to receive cold hard cash as a gift.   Giving money/gift cards can often empower someone to purchase things for themselves that they normally wouldn’t purchase for themselves. Which can be a gift in and of itself.

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