It’s a festive fact that every one of us has, at some point, excitedly unwrapped a gift only to force a smile and say through gritted teeth, ‘It’s just what I’ve always wanted.’
Now I’m not suggesting you go no holds barred on your mother-in-law during the Strictly special, demanding to know if your generic smelly set was really the best she could come up with.
But I will tell people if I don’t like their gift – and tell them I’m going to change it.
What's so terrible about being honest over a not-so perfect present?
‘It’s the thought that counts’ I can already hear you shout – and yes, I absolutely appreciate the time and effort people have spent choosing something.
But as sentimental as that is, my friends and family haven’t only spent their time and effort, but also their very hard-earned cash.
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I don’t want anyone wasting money on a gadget I'll never use or clothing that'll never see the light of day.
I can appreciate the effort, whilst not liking the gift itself.
I’m sure my loved ones want me to have something I'll use, so if their ‘thoughtful’ offering isn’t my cup of tea, why shouldn’t I ask to swap it? After all, I’m ensuring their money is well spent.
Avoid awkward conversations
Whilst it may seem ungrateful to openly say you want to return a gift, I don’t want to see products or precious pennies wasted, so don’t be offended when I Google the returns policy of the place you bought it from.
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A gift receipt is the perfect way to avoid any awkward conversations and that's something every gift giver should include.
I refuse to feel guilty for asking family to make sure they pop a receipt in the bag with any presents they buy for us.
We are a family of four and I don’t have the space to shove unwanted gifts in a cupboard, just to look polite.
So why say anything at all, you wonder? Why can’t I just accept it graciously and then donate it or take it back without them knowing?
I think it’s more insulting to the gift giver to pack their present off to the nearest charity shop, quicker than DFS can advertise another sofa sale.
And if I donate it, I don’t actually get a present from someone who wanted to treat me and frankly that’s just a bit rubbish for me, especially when I’m realistic enough to include a returns label in every gift I give.
I’m under no illusion my thoughtful efforts might be off the mark, and you shouldn’t be either.
In the past I’ve tried to attempt to take things back without the person knowing, but without a receipt I'd be lucky to get anything more than half price in the January sales, so both of us lose out.
Now I’m older, honesty really is the best policy and I never feel embarrassed to ask for the receipt.
You don’t need to be rude, but you do need to be truthful.
I’m not offended or upset you picked something that questions how well you really know me, so please don’t be offended your assumptions about my taste, style or size was wrong.
It’s not just gifts for me that I’m quick to return, but also any unnecessary plastic tat for the kids too.
Thankfully my friends and family check with me before buying something for the kids, but why anyone would think Lego Dots, in a house with a toddler is a good idea, I'll never understand.
Closest to home, you'd assume my husband has perfect taste, after all he married me – but he has on occasion got gifts very wrong and even a wedding ring doesn’t exempt his efforts from the returns pile.
The Dyson box I excitedly thought was a hair dryer, was in fact a vacuum.
That is his biggest festive f*** up to date, but thankfully, Amazon next day returns helped magic that divorce-worthy disaster into something far more suitable.
Listen, personal preference is exactly that, so what’s the harm in picking a surprise from a list of hints I’ve been dropping since Halloween?
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Of course, you can risk buying something you think I'll like, and chances are I might, but if I don’t, I'm going to tell you and that’s really ok.
This Christmas give your gift with a receipt – after all, it’s the thought that counts.
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