Etiquette coach shares best ways to deal with bad Christmas gifts

Dec 04, 2021
Well this is a tad inappropriate! Source: Getty

Christmas is just around the corner and with it the festive tradition of gift-giving and receiving. According to comparison site Finder, “Aussies are expected to spend $23.9 billion on Christmas this year” – with pressies taking the top spot on the list of expenses – and individuals are “expected to spend $374 each on presents”.

With such an enormous amount of money spent on Christmas gifts this year, it’s inevitable that not every one is going to be a winner. Whether it’s a boring pair of socks, toiletries or a generic gift that appears to be bought at the last minute, it can be hard to know how to respond when you get a gift you don’t love, so we asked etiquette coach Toni Dupree for her advice.

Reactions to bad gifts.
It can be hard to hide ‘resting Grinch face’ when you don’t like a Christmas gift. Source: Getty

Dupree told Starts at 60 that she takes a positive approach when receiving a less-than-desirable gift. “At the risk of sounding gullible, there are no bad gifts, in my opinion, just unexpected ones,” she said. “The reason is that someone thought of you in a way that you never expected. When we think of it that way, it makes it more about appreciation than expectation, leaving us with the understanding that gift-giving be received with humility, gratitude, and graciousness.”

But if “graciousness” is not your thing then Dupree offers “a few ways to reject a gift appropriately”. “First, thank the giver and then be honest about what doesn’t work about the gift. For example, the wrong size, bad colour or [you’re] allergic,” she said.

“If by chance the reason is superficial – like the present is outdated, not trendy, or you just don’t like it – consider being honest and asking if the giver is okay with you re-gifting it. Everyone’s dignity will remain intact by staying honest and only talking about the gift, without making it personal or critical.”

Tell us about some of the bad gifts you've received for Christmas. How did you react?

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