Thursday, December 20, 2007

The present dilemma

What do you do when you get a really really rediculous Christmas present that you don't want and for which you have no use, that you could exchange for something genuinely useful, but you don't want to hurt the feelings of the giver (who think they got you the greatest present on earth) and there's a reasonable chance that if you swapped it, the giver would find out (call it a 30% chance)? Christmas politics: ack!

17 comments:

Dave said...

You put it in the cupboard alongside last year's useless-but-hurtful-to-swap presents.

Then lose them when you move.

pink jellybaby said...

30% isn't too bad.... i say swap it. I'm being a scrooge and ungrateful but i hate those really useless Christmas gifts that some people insist on giving!

Lorna said...

Even with a 30% chance of discovery, I'd probably keep it, but then I'm a coward when it comes to offending people. But I have to ask - how ridiculous are we talking here? If we're in the realms of poorly-fitting or tasteless underwear, then scratch what I said before and swap merrily away. You can always use the 'I tried to get another pair just like them in my size, but the shop had sold out...' excuse.

Homer said...

Keep it. 30% is too high a risk of discovery. Unless it's from the Pirate in which case you'd better be honest or he might get you crapola for the rest of your life!

hendrix said...

Tricky. I'm not quite sure what I would do having never been in this situation - not that the presents I've received have all been so perfect but because you could give me a roll of sellotape and some mouldy potatoes and I'd be thrilled that you'd actually bothered to think of me.

However, a couple of years ago I bought my Grandma a cardigan for Christmas which didn't fit. I found out on Christmas Day but she said all the right things at the time and then returned to me a couple of months later, explaining why and that she wouldn't ever wear it because of this. I was upset (it was a very lovely cardigan) but because she'd returned it after the whole - it's Christmas so anything which could be be construed as a slight criticism of your taste will be amplified into a vicious personal attack the ferocity of which has no parallel - I wasn't as heartbroken as I might have been.

So, I'm going to suggest that you exchange the present (a little after Christmas if you can thus avoiding the whole Christmas present scenario I mentioned above).

If it's someone close to you (i.e the Pirate, your parents, his parents etc) then be honest about it. Partly because as homer said - otherwise you'll get stuff you don't like for the rest of your life, but also (and this holds true for everyone else) - we buy presents to make other people happy (most of the time) and if exchanging/replacing a present for something you will find genuinely useful then I suspect that most of us wouldn't have a problem with it.

Having said all that I'm a great believer that presents should be frivolous, luxurious and beautiful things that the person would never in a million years by for themselves. We can and do buy useful at any other time in the year. If the present falls into the frivolous, luxurious and beautiful category then I'd be inclined to keep hold of it. If it doesn't or you really honestly and truly hate it, then exchange it with a clear conscience.

Geosomin said...

I'm not one to ask...I've got one sucha gift from last year. Still don't know what to do with it, but the gifter was my Mum-in-law so I didn't risk it. I'd say if it was friends go for it...but family...keep it and try and use it.
This is why I ask people what they want and then comply if I can...I'd rather know I've gotten someone something they want and can use.

B said...

Honesty isn't always the best policy but the list of occasions when it isn't is very short.

Be very tactful but be honest.

ziggi said...

swap it - only have doubts at 50% odds.

FirstNations said...

be honest. adjust the suck factor according to the 'difficulty' of the giver. otherwise you can count on getting something every single christmas that irritates you. this way, the worst that happens is you get one scene-but then, it's over.

llewtrah said...

I really don't know. In my family we have Xmas lists (like wedding lists) and people sign up to get something on the list. That way no-one gets unwanted pressies.

Annie Rhiannon said...

Wrap it back up again and give it to someone else.

Mr Farty said...

Exchange it, then tactfully explain to the giver why you did so and show them the lovely thing you swapped it for. Maybe they'll get you something more appropriate next year.

GreatSheElephant said...

Dude - it's a gift - be grateful.

Having said that, I do regift, but not for about 2 years after receipt. Yeah - 2 year old crap gifts. Not food obviously, or toiletries.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

OK, i'll guess i'll have to get more specific. i can't re-wrap and re-gift it because it's the Bougatti Vehron of wedding planners -- several hundred pages, and comes with a huge, coffee table-sized, full color, glossy, hardcover book called...

The Wedding Bible.

This gift is the very embodiment of all that is commercial, material, decadent, and awful about weddings. It's beyond useless; it's downright offensive.

And it's from my brother and sister-in-law, whom i LOVE.

i'm really torn on this one. i'll probably end up keeping them because i'm too chicken to exchange them, but i certainly won't use them and they'll just sit there collecting dust and taking up an enormous amount of space in my very small student living quarters. ack.

Chester The Bear said...

That's what burning the house down is for. It's plausible... all those lights on the tree, made in China, crap quality... then you can tell the giver that their most precious "gift" was lost for all time.

And don't forget to tell them that another just wouldn't do... you know... it would bring back painful memories of the fire etc etc.

And you're guilt free. Homeless... but guilt free.

Henry North London said...

Ah well You gift it on to someone who believes in that stuff after you get married

Easy

Merry Christmas

oread the SSA said...

Swap that sucka.
And don't listen to my mom, she still has these HIDEOUS chicken-rooster-mexican party plates her MIL gave her ten years ago. HELLA ick.