Attitude Regarding Gifts...

What is your take on receiving presents that maybe you are not so crazy about? My friend feels that one should let the gifter know that you cannot use a gift so that you may go to the store of origin and exchange it for something that you really want, but I dunno…, I say just shut up and realize it’s just a present and no big deal. Granted, sometimes people go to a lot of expense and end up purchasing some horribly disappointing item that you cannot imagine the reason for, but so what? Its the thought that counts, no?

This sounds more like IMHO material, but I’m for acting delighted, so as not to offend the giver.

Many years I was so broke, I was giving nearly everyone coffee cups full of chocolates and gew-gaws like glow in the dark lizards. Years like that, you rely on ‘it’s the thought that counts.’

I really don’t want people I care about to spend time and money shopping for something I don’t want.

And if I wanted it, I’d have it already. Okay–I can think of a few exceptions.* I could be pleasantly surprised. Based on past experience, though, it is unlikely in the extreme.

So based on all this, the people closest to me are reluctant to get me anything at all. This way I’m never disappointed, and I never have to fake a happy reaction.

*The Weaselball !!! But I have one now!

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Falsely acting delighted has it’s risks because you may get more of the same next year. However, I tend to err on the side of not wanting to hurt the giver’s feelings and will fake it like the best of 'em. :slight_smile:

If it looks like there was some thought behind it, I usually really am delighted, even if I don’t like the gift. Just knowing that someone wanted to give me something I’d like makes me happy. Being the kind of person who feels no compunction about exchanging things I don’t like for things I do, I can even replicate my delight a few days after the gift-giving occasion by getting something I actually wanted instead.

This came up in a huge way for us this year. See, Mom (me) messed up and told Grandpa A. to get WhyKid an XBox 360 game, forgetting that kid would not open the XBox system until the following stop on our whirlwind Christmas Tour. WhyKid (anticipating one of Grandpa A’s famously awesome gifts), was understandably bummed at getting a game for a system he doesn’t own, but hid it well and said thank you very much and gave a hug and then asked to go outside to play (read: mope in private).

FF three hours, to WhyNiece, who has been asking for a particular Barbie Saxaphone for several months. Problem is, Barbie Saxaphone does not actually exist. So Dad trudged out on Christmas Eve to buy a simple saxaphone and a sheet of stickers. Miss Veruca Salt, as she shall henceforth be known in my most secret of hearts, opened her gift, threw it on the ground, kicked at her mother and screamed, “That’s not a BARBIE Saxaphone, that’s just a saxaphone with Barbie stickers on it! I want a BARBIE Saxaphone!” And started rolling around on the couch and screaming.


While I’m thinking, “If she was MY daughter…”, her parents are cajoling her to accept their feeble attempts at appeasing her majesty’s greed. I was just appalled, not just at her behavior, but of her parents’, who are lovely, wonderful generous amazing people who are utterly incapable of saying no to a brat.

But it made me even prouder of WhyKid. (Who was, of course, ecstatic to open his XBox 360 from his uncle - her father - once Veruca was promised a trip to the toy store to look for the Barbie Saxaphone one more time.)

So, yeah, I’m with the “be polite, say thank you and take it back later and exchange it” crowd. I do acknowledge the dangers of false pleasure, but to me being unappreciative of someone’s time, energy and money is the far worse outcome.

Must. Get. Weasel Ball.

NEED. Weasel Ball.

More than one, I’m thinking. Thanks alot - more semi-useless junk for me to waste my money on :p.

  • Tamerlane ( who, though you might not suspect it of him, loves junk like weasel balls and glow in the dark lizards )

It depends. Is it a disappointing gift, or a crappy gift?

My father bought me a book once. By an author that I owned several books by already. The gift itself was disappointing, true, but he made the effort, so in that case, yes, it was the thought behind the gift that mattered.

But if you buy a gift that doesn’t even attempt to relate to the receiver’s likes, interests or preferences, where’s the thought behind the gift? “Here, I got you a gift that I don’t care if you enjoy.”? For less than the price of certain crappy gifts I’ve gotten, the person could have bought me many many things I would have appreciated more, and probably even taken less time to pick out. Surely that pink refrigerator magnet didn’t cost more than a candy bar or a pack of gum!

Yes, yes, you MUST have a Weasel Ball. Especially if you have a cat or two.

I can’t act to save my life, but since I do appreciate the effort, I’ve got no problem being enthusiastic.

With some people I’ve had to mention that the reason I don’t wear cologne is not that I don’t own any - it’s that I don’t like cologne. Or eau de toilette. Or scented shower gels (heck, I don’t use shower gel, just regular soap). But I do love cologne bottles!

Apologies for the double post.

Kat, for myself and several of my friends and relatives, looking at the library/disc holders and checking out what’s there is a common strategy. Most of us have a “no buying stuff for myself the two months before Christmas” policy, precisely because that way our gifters can give us the latest book by a favorite author. So “hey I already have several books by this guy” is a bad thing for you - but I can understand where your Dad was coming from.

It took the three worst bookworms in the group a months-long campaign to convince our gifters that they should buy us… paperback! Horror of horrors! The argument that finally worked was “well, hardcover books are bigger, so they often don’t fit in the same shelf as the rest of the collection, and I wouldn’t want to end up with several copies by mistake.” (There’s a book Mom was recently thinking of buying because it’s a classic in her native language; she already has it. Thrice. That Excel inventory I spent several months typing may have been the best investment of time I’ve ever done.)

For some reason, my former SIL got the idea that my mother’s favorite color was pink. In fact, she **HATED **the color. But every gift from my SIL was a pink robe, pink slippers, pink blouse, pink scarf, etc. The only time my mother wore any of these was when my SIL was visiting. I was often tempted to tell my SIL the truth, but decided to stay out of it.

When my mother passed away last year, I found half her closet filled with pink clothing that she rarely, or never, wore.

One of the problems of course is when it’s a gift from the wife.

I have a very old (10 year +) leather bag/briefcase that I’ve treked everywhere with while working. I’ve become very particular in it’s quirks, construction, and features. I need a new bag.

Mrs. Butler got me one for Christmas. This is the first year since we’ve been married that we’ve exchanged gifts, rather than buying an “our” present for the household… I’d prefer to return back to that method.

It’s not quite right. It has no “handle” on the top of the bag, and the flap doesn’t shut securely, but rather with some magnetic snaps. It’s close to what I want, and I’m sure it’d work fine, but it’s not “what I want.” I’d like to investigat whether there is another bag from the same company that would be better, but I know she researched this one very well, and don’t want to hurt her feelings.

I’m particular about the items I use “every day”, and want what I want. It’s a very hard dilema.

The samething in reverse happened with us a couple of years ago. I had gotten her several items of clothing I though were fun and sexy but not something she would buy herself. It turns out I was dead on about that; we wound up returning pretty much everything. However, it really worked out for the best. We totaled up what I had spent, and then did some serious online shopping together. She was happy because I really had put in quite a bit of time and effort to find things for her (and now she got to buy even more stuff because everything was on sale :stuck_out_tongue: ). I was happy because I knew she was going to wind up with things she really wanted.

So, FWIW, I would tell her. Just make sure she knows you appreciate the effort and include her in the hunt for the perfect bag. I know my feelings would have been more hurt after I noticed she never actually wore any of the items I had gotten her (and, yes, I would have…eventually).

This is why I hate those Christmas gift games and “grab bag” gifts. Why spend $5 or $10 or $20 on some piece of crap gift that is non-specific to the eventual recipient (set of 4 mini, holiday-themed cheese spreaders, for example) when we could all just save our dough and buy something we actually want for ourselves?

Arrrgh I hate holiday gift-giving games!!!

That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard.

The proper reaction to any gift is “thank you.” They went to the trouble; they deserve acknowledgement. People usually know what I want in general (books, music, movies), so it isn’t hard to find something I like. I don’t recall ever returning anything other than clothes that clearly didn’t fit me.

I always give a sincere thank you!

Not really. The “thought” is often “I have to give __ a gift and if it doesn’t suit them then it was the thought that counted.” That’s circular logic. If you don’t really know what people want it’s probably because getting gifts for other people is not all it’s cracked up to be. When the real goal is about filling your own internal “gifting impulse” and not

My sister kept trying to get clothes for her husband but always bought things he would never wear. I only saw him wear black. She would buy him Hawaiian shirts. I tried to tell her that gifts of clothes and framed pictures and knickknacks just made the recipient feel obligated to wear or display them. If it was your taste and not his, then you got the gift, not him.

The only “safe” gifts are disposable items that the person already chose for themselves, like food/drink items they like, dinner out at the kinds of places they like, etc.

But lots of times there is no need for a gift at all. Hard to imagine in this commercial age, but that’s my take on it.

Oh, no, I meant that the “I already have several of this person’s books” was the good thing about it. It meant my Dad made the effort to find out what I actually read, and what authors I liked, and that this was a book I didn’t have by an author I read a lot of. It’s just that the particular book he chose was different in style, subject and just about everything else from the rest of them. Which made it a well-meant yet disappointing (but NOT “bad” or “crappy”) gift–because in this case, it was the thought that counted, because there was actual thought put into it. I had meant to say that although it was a crappy book, it was a good gift, in context. (My Dad didn’t “get” fantasy/SF and I was, and still am, impressed that he made the effort to pick out a book in that genre at all.)

Except in this case, the aforementioned pink refrigerator, with glurgy poem and hugging bears, was not a gift game gift or a grab bag gift. It was an actual gift-type gift from my sister and her family. I’d’ve rather received nothing at all.