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5 Ways to Fake Delight Over a Crummy Gift

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The fine art of putrid present opening. 


Andrea of Bedtimes Are for Suckers:  It doesn't matter what their tacky novelty T-shirt says -- some people are not "Born to Shop." These people's inability to choose a decent gift becomes your problem if you want to be polite -- which of course you do, because heck, they DID think of you, even if they showed it by buying you a vase in the shape of a cowboy boot.

So: What do you do when you absolutely hate the gift you just opened in front of the beaming gift giver? Here are a few skills you should practice before you unwrap ANY gift this holiday season.

brandoa.jpg The Marlon Brando Method
Use the acting technique developed by Lee Strasberg, founder of the Actors Studio. Think back to a time when you received a present you truly loved, then channel that feeling of happiness onto the coral-encrusted suspenders that you just got from your cousin. However, don't think back to the gift that was given to you by an old flame -- the one you thanked him for by initiating wild sex on the living room floor.

The "Karate Kid" Method
Breathe in deeply, then release the air while simultaneously exclaiming, "I love it!" Be sure to take just ONE deep breath. Don't hyperventilate; it will give you away. Remember: Santa says, "Wax on, wax off."


The "Whoops!" Method
Have a glass of wine or cider near you as you open a present from someone who has a history of giving bad gifts. When you open the gift and are greeted yet again with something incomprehensible (i.e., solar-powered electric toenail clippers), "accidentally" spill your drink, creating a distraction. (Warning: Don't try to sop up the spill with the gift.)

snowa.jpg The "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" Method
As in "snow job." Rather than talking about how much you like the gift, compliment the person who bestowed the crappy present upon you. In other words, stroke their pseudo-genius gift-giving ego.


  • "Wow, Auntie Susan, how did you know I wear socks?!"
  • "Sweet! I read about this in the Penny Saver!"
  • "I didn't even know they made tea cozies anymore! Where on EARTH did you find one?"

cheersa.jpg The "Cheers" Method
This method works best if you've had enough of hanging with the relatives. Upon opening the gift, declare, "This collection of ceramic unicorns makes me remember how others are less fortunate than I." Insist that you will donate the gift immediately to those in need. Your family will be impressed with your selfless act. On that note, bid your relatives adieu, march out of the house and hightail it to the nearest bar.
Read more from Andrea at "Bedtimes Are for Suckers."

next: The Season of Giving
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