Unwanted Gifts : How To Mask Disappointment and A Guide To Re-Gifting

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Alexandra Mroczko, Staff Writer

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Jolly old Aunt Judy hands you a sparkly gift bag and exclaims, “I spent hours searching for this present! I hope you like it!”. You tear off the tissue paper and reach into the bag and pull out a shiny new….pair of socks? A wave of disappointment rushes over you so, you plaster the fakest, toothless smile onto your face and give a great, big, “thanks!”. Does this sound familiar?

People either dread or love the holiday season. Those who can be grouped into the “Grinch” and “Scrooge” category complain about the lights and scent of pine, while everyone else continues to be merry and bright. However, the universally distasteful scenario is the dreaded family gift exchange. All eyes on you as you tear every piece of wrapping paper from a box is like being called on in class and having no idea what is happening: at this moment you are virtually naked and stripped of every ounce of confidence that was once possessed.

The ability to mask disappointment is one of the most important life skills one can develop. Although Christmas is the worst culprit, Hanukkah, birthdays and any other gift-giving holiday follow closely behind. So here are some steps to masking your disappointment and duplicitously making your gifter believe you enjoy their present :

  1. Remain gracious, but not too gracious. People can detect fakeness, but if you are actually grateful that this person went out of their way to you a gift, there is no need to fake a reaction.
  2. Remember the way you respond to each person. If you repeated, “thank you, I love it so much,” 5+ times, your disdain is sure to be understood.
  3. Stay calm. One bad gift does not mean your Christmas/Hanukkah/birthday is ruined (no one will admit they think this, but they’re simply in denial). Do not raise your voice or respond to the gift exchange in too much of an excited/sad manner.