8 Ways to Graciously Accept A Crappy Gift This Holiday Season

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Opening gifts in the presence of company can be stressful. This is especially true when it comes to unwrapping Great Aunt Hazel’s notoriously crappy gift year after year. You know a Great Aunt Hazel: she’s the Beyoncé of bad gift-giving. Each year, you graciously accept the gift from her arthritic hands and immediately prepare for the worst. In fact, you’ve already rehearsed a fake reaction for this year. So before you flash that unconvincing smile this holiday season, take heed of the following tips to graciously accept crappy holiday gifts.

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1. Respond to the ‘Spirit’ of the Gift

You should reward the person at the moment they give you the present by making them feel like their effort was worth something. This person drove to the store in the freezing cold and picked out a gift they genuinely thought you’d enjoy. So your job here is to think about that effort instead of the sweater that will never – in any stretch of the imagination – fit.

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2. Ask Questions

If you’re stuck on a reaction, ask the giver about the gift. Ask how they thought of it, where they bought it, if they have one themselves, or how to best use it. In general, when reacting to a gift you don’t like, putting the burden of the conversation on the other person helps ease the awkwardness you’re definitely experiencing.

3. Lie

This sounds like terrible advice, but lying in this instance is more commendable than telling the truth. We call this a “well-intentioned lie,” so go ahead and say you like the crappy gift. Just don’t overdo it. You’ll only become less convincing. But, if you’re one of those holier-than-thou individuals who are vehemently against lying, avoid saying you hate the gift. Let them down easy.

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4. Thank Fast

Once you have opened the present, immediately thank the giver. If you open and then pause, you will seem disappointed.

5. Make Eye Contact

Avoid looking at the gift that you clearly hate. Look at the gift-giver instead. For added flourish, pull the gift out and show it to everyone who might be around. It will help your reaction appear more genuine. Bonus: you can hide behind it.

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6. Be Cool

When we’re faking something, it can be easy to go overboard. So keep it simple. Say thank you and follow the other rules outlined in this article. Do not veer from them. These are your eight commandments. The farther you veer from the truth, the more obvious your lie will become.

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7. Hug It Out

One way to hide your face and your disappointment while displaying gratitude is to give the gift giver a hug. For best results, immediately hug the person after you open the present. A hug is truthful and a loving way to tell them you appreciate the heart behind the gift.

8. Smile

This sounds easy, but an unconvincing smile is easier to read than a Kesha lyric. Only smile if you can do it naturally. Do not – we repeat, do not – force a smile. It will most definitely look fake.

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