It happens to everyone. At some point or another you’ve received an unwanted present and wondered… “Why? Why have you given this to me? It’s hideous/against everything I believe in/far too big for my house/my body… What are you trying to say with this?!”
You don’t mean to sound ungrateful (even if you’re just saying it in our heads). But it’s just such an awful present. And what on earth should you do? We teach kids that lying is bad, and yet we sit there and smile and say thanks through gritted teeth. It’s a quandary. So here’s a bit of a guide on unwanted gift etiquette, depending on who gave you this abomination…
If they’ve created a ‘stunning’ piece of artwork at school, you will frame it and proudly display it to anyone who visits your house for at least the next three months. Because that’s what you are morally obliged to do. Even if it looks like Picasso had an ‘off’ day.
It’s a bottle of wine. Again. It looks familiar. Is this the bottle you gave to them last year? Doesn’t matter. Stick it in a cupboard and use it next time you have to bring a bottle somewhere.
Edible undies? A sweater that is two sizes too big? Your reaction? A quizzical look and a pointed, “Um, thanks.” will probably suffice. Don’t blow it up into an argument. That ‘look’ will ensure that this will never happen again.
Shut up, smile, say thank you, hope you never have to retrieve whatever it is from its new home in the attic.
Always look mildly disappointed whilst expressing thanks for the laughably useless item. That way they will hopefully feel guilty enough to splash out a bit more/get to know you better by next year.
If your relationship is strong with them and the gift was expensive for them, thank them politely and take them to one side later on and say why you can’t use the thing they’ve given you and can it be altered slightly. They’d rather you enjoyed what they’ve bought and don’t just throw it away. You’ll be glad you did, because otherwise you’ve got to live with that thing. Remind them that they’ve done enough for you already over the years…
This is tricky, it could be the office joker who’s bought you something you’re supposed to find hilarious… or it’s the sweet lady from accounts who just doesn’t have very good taste. Try and strike a balance between finding the thing really funny and doing a heartfelt thanks… something like this: