Find Comfort in Feigning Gratitude

Rachel Jin, Staff Writer

The holiday season cues the proliferation of snow, Christmas movies, and Frozen dolls. Yet one might find the greatest disappointment in the ill-conceived gifts received from those well-intentioned, yet misguided, family and friends. Sure, you might discover a few gems in your stocking, but let’s face it, by the end of Christmas day, a corner of your room will likely be  transformed into a shrine for 8-pack tube socks your grandparents got in bulk at Costco.

Many of us, who don’t have family living nearby, are lucky enough to get our intricately wrapped socks in the mail, saving us from having to feign gratitude for the inexplicably mundane or useless gift.

You may not be so lucking, having to confront Uncle Bert in person as you unwrap your lime green, fleece curling iron holster or mahogany desk set.

In order to convince him that it won’t end up in a trash can somewhere, here’s how to fake appreciation for that unwanted Christmas gift.

1. Make vague comments.

You’ve just opened a box of, let’s say, pink pencils you really don’t need. Instead of commenting on the gift itself, say something about its features that you like. “Wow, I love this color!”

2. Sound surprised.

Bring on the “wow” factor! In order to act surprised, you have to sound surprised! Not surprised like “Why did you give me this piece of trash?” but more like, “Wow!  I’m shocked!  I’m at a loss for words.”

3. Be excited!

Think about something exciting, like that vacation in Tahoe coming up. Channel that enthusiasm and transfer it onto the gift.  For example, substitute “trip to Tahoe” with the gift.  “I’ve been waiting for this 2-in-1 candle maker/egg poacher for so long!  My holiday break just would not be the same without it.”

4. But not too excited!

If you’ve been fake-raving about your new socks for the past 3 hours, you’ve overdone it. He or she knows you’re faking it. No one ever gets that excited about socks. He or she may also express concern about your apparent sock addiction.

5. Open all of your gifts later.

Make up some lame excuse about how opening your gifts privately has some sort of sentimental value to you. Pretend it’s some holiday tradition or something, and they’ll feel bad to interfere.

6. Avoid the subject.

Every time the conversation feels like it’s steering towards whether or not you are enjoying that new home bagel maker, change the subject. You don’t want to have to constantly take pictures of a Chucky mask on a flour sack that bears a resemblance to the doll they gave you for Christmas in efforts to convince them you still have it.

Then again, it may be best to learn to appreciate what they gave you. Your Christmas socks will probably come in handy that one day you forget to do the laundry and have a mile to run. Or maybe those penguin print knit socks would look really cute with the new sweater you just received.