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Pretending to Like Christmas Presents
Old 12-27-2007, 05:19 PM   #1
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Pretending to Like Christmas Presents

In my family, presents are opened one at a time, and the receiver is expected to gush a bit for each one. This often results in required, forced lying. I don't want to sound crass, but sometimes you're thinking "Here's some more bric-a-brac for Freecycle" but have to say "Oh, how pretty. What a great idea."
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:27 PM   #2
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i think that's why gift cards are increasingly popular!

I was surprised when i spent the holidays with a close friend - and they do the opposite...if they get a gift they don't like - they make a face and say hm, guess i'll return it - in front of the giver! i was shocked!

I must say though, having received a few gifts that weren't worth the wrapping paper, I'm all for no gifts...save everyone the time and effort! I'd rather have a good meal w/ a friend than a weird sweater or picture frame.
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:29 PM   #3
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My family is alot more sensitive about the gifts they give than my in-laws are. With my brothers and my mom I have to smile and lie and say "ohh what a nice sweater. Just the shade of puke green I was looking for". When we open gifts with the in-laws, if you don't like something you ask for the gift receipt and then the rest of the family makes fun of the giver for buying a terrible gift.

But, as we all know, it's the thought that counts.
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Alternative gifts?
Old 12-27-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
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Alternative gifts?

CBC News In Depth: Consumers

I like the idea of gifting a deserving family with a goat, or "two hens and one rooster" --- the gift that keeps on giving (eggs).

Beats the puke green sweater anyday!
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:57 PM   #5
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Here is what my mother taught me when I was a little girl and had trouble with this.

When you gush over a disappointing present, you are really telling the giver how much you appreciate that he/she actually TRIED to think of something you would like. Whether or not that was a success, is irrelevant!! He/she spent a lot of time and money and this is evidence that he/she cares about you. Your thanks are not focused on YOU, and what you think is acceptable; they are supposed to be focused on the giver's kindness. Graciously accepting a gift is a difficult lesson to learn, but it is part of civilized behavior. Part of graciously accepting a gift is learning to accept a kindness with gratitude (difficult to do!), and such kindnesses can come in many forms.

OK, I didn't like gushing much, either. But I wouldn't hurt the giver's feelings for all the tea in China. They did nothing bad to me to deserve that.

I don't really do presents any more (except for $ or gift cards), but when someone gives me something I try not to be rude or ungrateful. I got an "aromatherapy" basket from BB&B for Christmas, including one of those expensive candles that stinks (er... fills the house with scent) when you light it. But I sincerely thanked the person that gave it to me. It was sweet of her to think about me, and she had no way of knowing that I don't like stinky candles! That's not the point.

Besides, I can use the candle to stink up the house adequately (er... provide a pleasant scent throughout) for buyers when I am ready to sell it after ER. I can use the body lotion and maybe even the bubble bath, on any strange occasion that might arise when I may want to smell like eucalyptus. In fact, maybe if I try a little lotion tonight I might learn to like it. I do love the smell of natural eucalyptus trees, though I am used to a very light jasmine scent or none for myself.
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:20 PM   #6
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You had a good mom Want2Retire. I think my mom tried to make the same point to me, and that one stuck. Sincere thanks for the thought. Unfortunately, the other advice she gave "you should write thank you notes for all gifts, never actually got ingrained.
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:35 PM   #7
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Want2retire, you hit it dead on... It's not about you, it's about the giver, and the spirit of giving... Great answer.
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:41 PM   #8
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Thanks Cliff, and Puzzley. I really did have a wonderful mother, who passed away less than three months ago at a very old age. I miss her! So, I am really glad to have the chance to express some of what she taught me.

I'm not too good with thank-you notes either, though I try to substitute calls or e-mails.
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:43 PM   #9
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I definitely agree with thanking the giver....but if I can, I will return the gifts that I don't like and exchange it for something that I do.
I refuse to have clutter, especially things that I will never use.
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Old 12-27-2007, 06:53 PM   #10
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my mother always just cut me a check. i never opened one of her presents that i didn't enjoy.

while watching tv the other night, the newscaster was gushing about how much was on sale at the stores. but then she said in an odd way--though i'm still surprised she got away with it (or maybe she was reprimanded off-air)--that the stuff on sale isn't really anything you'd want. all the cool electronics or the best toys are either full-priced or out of stock. but you can get some really amazing deals on whatever crap is left.

i suppose, if you're into it, it all looks nice when it's wrapped.

as to the gift my sil gave me this year, i handed it back before i even finished getting the wrapping off. having overheard me asking my brother to borrow his air mattress which i need for just a few days, she bought me one. considerate of her? tremendously. ridiculous? entirely.

i appreciate want2retire's mom's advice and i think for the most part she is correct. perhaps my family is just too in-your-face for polite society (never mind that i didn't want sil spending that money on me).
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
as to the gift my sil gave me this year, i handed it back before i even finished getting the wrapping off. having overheard me asking my brother to borrow his air mattress which i need for just a few days, she bought me one. considerate of her? tremendously. ridiculous? entirely
.

That is too funny! It reminds me of a plastic gum ball machine a boyfriend of mine had given me a few years ago.....I was on the phone with him while shopping and had got a gumball from one of the machines.
We did not last long.
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:07 AM   #12
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In our family we always gave each other our Christmas / Birthday lists. A list of things we wanted. So we always got something from our list, just didn't know what since we'd make long lists. Solved having to pretend you liked something you didn't want.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
When you gush over a disappointing present, you are really telling the giver how much you appreciate that he/she actually TRIED to think of something you would like. Whether or not that was a success, is irrelevant!! He/she spent a lot of time and money and this is evidence that he/she cares about you. Your thanks are not focused on YOU, and what you think is acceptable; they are supposed to be focused on the giver's kindness. Graciously accepting a gift is a difficult lesson to learn, but it is part of civilized behavior. Part of graciously accepting a gift is learning to accept a kindness with gratitude (difficult to do!), and such kindnesses can come in many forms.
I know you're Mom was really proud of you! Your response speaks volumes about you and you're Mom.

Thanks for a great example!
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:38 AM   #14
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I usually regift back to the original giver, then act confused when they say: "Didn't I give you one like this last year"??
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:44 AM   #15
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Amen W2R!

Many of the posters here spend waaay more thought and effort than I ever have liking/disliking/regifting/returning/scheming the gifts. Smile, say thank you, and move on. It really is the thought that counts - and we should all count ourselves blessed that there are people who think enough of us to actually give us gifts! (I do not give gifts to people I do not care for)
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:06 AM   #16
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and we should all count ourselves blessed that there are people who think enough of us to actually give us gifts! (I do not give gifts to people I do not care for)

Amen to that !
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:28 AM   #17
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My hubby's sister is incredibly hard to buy for. I finally found a line of lady's clothing a couple of years ago that she really likes. This year, I bought her a really cute outfit. They came to spend Christmas with us, and went to the mall to walk a couple of days before Christmas. When she came home, she wanted to show me the great bargains she had found. You guessed it....she bought herself the exact same outfit, on sale. I decided to tell her what had happened, thinking she could take hers back when she went to the mall, and she said, "Oh, no, I don't return things, I'll just keep them both." When I expressed my disbelief that she would do that, she then informed me that we had given her something last Christmas that she already had and that she had kept that. (You can imagine how much better that made me feel.)

They went back to the same store before leaving, and she in fact, did NOT return one of the outfits.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:48 AM   #18
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I gave BIL a Bill Bryson book for Christmas, and he said upon opening it "I've got this in hardcover, I thought that you gave it to me last year". I replied that I would never have gotten him a hardcover book, unless it was secondhand!
He needed some of Want2's mom's lessons, for sure! And I would never buy the same book twice, that's what Amazon's purchase history thingy is for!
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:50 AM   #19
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It really is the thought that counts - and we should all count ourselves blessed that there are people who think enough of us to actually give us gifts!
Friends of ours gave us a Christmas goody bag that included a "Tie-Matic" rotating neckware storage system.

Judging by the package's creasing, dents, adhesive-tape layers, and other signs of wear I'd say that we're not even the fifth recipients. Considering Hawaii's necktie standards, this thing might've been a regifting orphan for several years now.

But they're good people doing a good thing, and the bag also included a quart container of chocolate-chip macadamia nut cookies. Happy holidays!
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:50 AM   #20
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Oh dear. Not too much of a problem with this except for my MIL. She buys little stuffed figures and statues by the gross. Her house looks like a showroom for gnomes, stuffed little children and other such items. They line every wall, sometimes 3-4 deep.

And she gives them to everyone. Two three and four at a time at every holiday opportunity.

We dont want a bunch of little stuffed things and statues all over the house, so they all end up boxed up and stacked in the garage. Periodically I drop a box full at goodwill.

I had a frank conversation with her a few years ago where I told her flat out that we dont have room for the stuff, dont decorate with them, and would rather she spend her money buying something for the kids.

So now we get little statues and stuffed things and she specifically says "these are for gabe!"

This year we got a 3' tall stuffed pumpkin man at thanksgiving and (i'm not making this up) a 3' tall santa claus sitting behind a bear which is riding a unicycle. Oh, and three more "nutcracker" statues to go with the 12-15 of them we've already got.

So since they're for gabe, I give him a hammer and let him do what he does best.

These are the folks with two homes, an RV (with loans on all of them), huge credit card debt and no savings. And are in their mid 60's.

Shoot me now.
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