You know those Lexus commercials where people wake up Christmas morning and walk out the door to discover a car with a big red bow on it? Yeah, that never happens. Or, even if it does, the person on the receiving end probably wanted an Audi.
The struggle of receiving Christmas gifts that you don’t want is very real. Even though the gifter probably spent hours poring over gift guides and fretting about buying that perfect gift, when you finally unwrap it, most of the time the feeling in your heart of hearts is “meh.” Not that you could ever show that though. The same way you can never let them see you sweat, you can never let ‘em see that you hate the gift you just got. Even if you really, really hate it.
It isn’t easy but if you follow our 6 stages for receiving a gift you hate you should be able to make it out to the other side where a nice warm mug of boozy egg nog will be waiting for you.
STAGE 1: ANTICIPATION
You can save yourself a lot of disappointment by getting this stage right. Getting a bad gift is less soul crushing if you weren’t expecting a good gift to begin with. We know how easy it is to tell yourself, “This year will be different,” even as you’ve already started peeling away wrapping paper and can already see pieces of the Hanes logo on another three-pack of undershirts. But you must resist the temptation to get your hopes up.
STAGE 2: REALIZATION
This is that point when you’ve pulled all the wrapping and packaging off (and rifled back through it on the low to make sure that there wasn’t something you missed). That gift in front of you, whether it’s tube socks or an actual lump of coal, is as good as it’s going to get. All the not-so-subtle hints you dropped about the watch or the camera you wanted went completely unnoticed and instead you ended up with…this. Whatever it is, try to move as quickly as possible to stage 3.
STAGE 3: FAKE EXCITEMENT
Now it’s time for the most awkward part: the song and dance between gifter and giftee that goes something like this:
Giftee (staring blankly at a surge protector with a bow on it): Wow. It’s great.
Gifter: You don’t already have one do you? I figured since you had all those gadgets, this could help you charge them.
Giftee (trying to quickly kick multiple surge protectors underneath the couch): Nooooo. I totally don’t have one. This will be great.
Gifter: That one has five sockets on it.
Giftee: Wow! That many! Amazing!
STAGE 4: FAKE GRATITUDE
Fake excitement is immediately followed by fake gratitude. Pour it on thick. Literally every aspect of the gift you received should be praised in some form. Woke up to a childproof container of Centrum multivitamin under the tree? Express thanks for every single vitamin contained in each pill. “Oh, this has 70% of my daily Vitamin A? That means I only need 30% more. Thanks so much. And look at these Riboflavin numbers. I’m set all day on Riboflavin with just one of these. A new iPad can’t do that.”
STAGE 5: RESENTMENT
This is where you start tallying up all you’ve spent on gifts for the person who in return has just given you the physical embodiment of the poop emoji (or, even worse, the poop emoji IRL in either t-shirt or novelty pillow form). On the outside your face will likely be frozen in a grin left over from Stage 3, but on the inside, it’s all seething rage. You put thought into the gifts you buy, and what do you get in return? Bupkis. Hard as it is, it’s important to not let this stage bubble over into you going postal. You’re almost at the end. Just a little bit longer and you’ll reach…
STAGE 6: ACCEPTANCE
You made it! Give yourself a pat on the back. Even though you have no intention of ever using the crappy gift you received, you’ve now reached a place where you can take it all in stride and maybe even reflect on the mindless consumerism of Western culture and how we don’t really need anything anyways and how having good health is the greatest gift of all. You may even be able to truly understand what they mean when they say “Tis better to give than receive.” Or not. Either way, take a good, long pull of that nog. And rest easy knowing that you can buy yourself your own present tomorrow.
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